Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Sprint RecapNovember 4, 2023
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg finished Saturday’s 24-lap Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint in 16th and 18th place respectively at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Action began with the Sprint Shootout determining the grid for the F1 Sprint. A red flag in the final minute of SQ1, due to the Alpine of Esteban Ocon hitting the barriers, ended the session early, but thanks to solid opening laps, both drivers safely advanced through to the next part of the Shootout. Magnussen posted a 1:12.058 for P6 and Hulkenberg recorded a 1:12.136 to land P8, on predetermined Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires.
SQ2 meant a new set of the medium compound, and both drivers setting two timed laps. Magnussen’s fastest time of 1:11.727 was good for P11, with Hulkenberg’s quickest time of 1:11.752 – coming on his first timed run – resulting in P12. McLaren’s Lando Norris claimed top spot for the Sprint, ahead of the Red Bull Racing pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Both drivers started the Sprint on a used set of medium tires, going against the trend of others around them. Losing one place each on the opening lap, Magnussen and Hulkenberg were then able to maintain their positions in the midfield during the early phase of the race.
Once cars settled into a rhythm, the VF-23s struggled with tire wear and the pair began falling to the back of the chasing pack. On Lap 15, Hulkenberg overtook his teammate for P16, with the favor being returned six laps later by Magnussen – the move seeing the Dane to the checkered flag. Hulkenberg was overtaken by the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu on the final lap, with the German classifying P18.
Max Verstappen took the lead going into the first corner of the race, winning his fourth Sprint of the season. McLaren’s Lando Norris finished second, with Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez coming home third.
“I think the way we saw this race, being on the same tire as everyone else meant we weren’t going to get into the top eight, and we want points. We took a big risk, I didn’t quite expect everyone else to be on the softs, as only one Williams was also on mediums. We rolled the dice and tried something different to score points. We always learn but there’s nothing we can change on the car now, but at least we got a feeling on the medium tire and a good look at everyone else on the soft.”
“I don’t think it would’ve mattered which tire we started on, at the end of the day our performance is too poor. We’re missing downforce compared to the others and we’re always going to pay the price for that. It’s not looking great for tomorrow, we can’t change anything overnight as we’re under parc ferme, so it’s not the best outlook.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal:
“It’s a very disappointing result, starting P11 and P12 and finishing where we finished, it’s not good enough. We have this tire degradation, and it just seems that we can’t get it under control. We need to keep working on it as there’s no way out of this without a lot of effort. Tomorrow is going to be another tough day.”
Event: Sprint Race at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – Saturday November
Location: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Layout: 4.309-kilometer (2.677-mile), 15-turn circuit
Air Temps: 27.6 degrees Celsius (81.7 degrees Fahrenheit)
Track Temps: 53 degrees Celsius (127.4 degrees Fahrenheit)
Team Result: Kevin Magnussen – Started Sprint11th / Finished 16th (Running – completed 24/24 laps)
Nico Hulkenberg – Started Sprint 12th / Finished 18th (Running – completed 24/24 laps)
SQ1 Shootout: 12-mins with all 20 Drivers – Top 15 Advance to SQ2
Magnussen: 6th overall (1:12.058) – Advanced to SQ2
Hulkenberg: 8th overall (1:12.136) – Advanced to SQ2
Fastest: Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Ferrari (1:11.796)
SQ2 Shootout: 10-mins – Top 10 Advance to SQ3
Magnussen: 11th overall (1:11.727)
Hulkenberg: 12th overall (1:11.752)
Fastest: Lando Norris of McLaren (1:11.221)
SQ3 Shootout: 8-mins – Top 10 Drivers
Sprint Pole: Lando Norris of McLaren (1:10.622)
Sprint Race Rundown:
Magnussen: 16th overall
Hulkenberg: 18th overall
Sprint Winner: Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing