‘I was a little bit angry’: Max Verstappen reflects on mistake

Max Verstappen missed out on pole for the Sprint race after being beaten by Kevin Magnussen.

The Sprint weekends have for the majority of the time during their trial period been remembered for being boring, uneventful, and simply one “risk” that drivers weren’t prepared to take; however, this weekend’s sprint schedule at the Brazilian Grand Prix has set-up for some truly bizarre outcomes.

None more bizarre than who claimed pole position for Saturday’s sprint race, following mixed conditions on Friday evening in Sao Paulo.

Remarkably, it was Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who claimed his first-ever pole position, as well as Haas’, on his 100th start for the team and his 140th in the sport.

The conditions worked right into the Dane’s favour, as all the drivers in Q3 aimed to get out on the circuit as quickly as possible due to rainfall being imminent.

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With Haas having finished last in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, they are positioned at the end of the pit-lane, which gave Magnussen the opportunity to get to the front of the queue.

He arguably had the best track conditions to set his only lap in the session, as a result of George Russell beaching his W13 between Turns Four and Five.

Whilst the session was suspended to recover Russell’s car, the rain intensified to the point where the red-walled Soft tyres weren’t suitable, with Intermediates being the only viable option.

Unsurprisingly, it meant that no one was able to improve on their opening lap-time in Q3, which resulted in Magnussen claiming a shock pole position for the sprint race.

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Jubilant scenes were broadcast throughout the Americans garage, with Magnussen and team principal Guenther Steiner having been captured embracing outside the garage in the pouring rain.

The Danish driver, who only returned to the sport at the start of the season to replace Nikita Mazepin, comically then had to walk up the entirety of the pit-lane to get to parc ferme, where he was congratulated by pretty much every passing person.

One of the first to congratulate him was Max Verstappen, who claimed second on the grid after locking up on his only hot lap in Q3.

Had it not been for the lock-up then the double World Champion would’ve likely claimed pole position; however, he revealed after qualifying that he was “actually okay” with missing out on pole to Magnussen.

“At first I was a little bit angry at myself for locking up but when I saw who had pole and how much it meant for the team, I was actually okay with it,” Verstappen said.

Magnussen actually made an excellent start to the sprint but quickly fell behind the leading sides, as expected.

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Verstappen didn’t fare much better following contact with Carlos Sainz, which saw the Dutchman suffer from a broken front endplate.

Magnussen eventually ended the sprint in eighth whilst Verstappen claimed fourth, with George Russell claiming pole for the traditional race after winning the sprint race.

Given his starting position for Sunday’s event, Magnussen is in with a great shot of claiming his second points finish from the last three races, after also scoring points at the United States Grand Prix.