In an exciting race, with several lead changes, Russell was the fastest to complete the 24-lap qualifying race at São Paulo’s Interlagos circuit and took his second career pole position, allowing Mercedes to place its two drivers in the front row.
The Spanish Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) finished in second position, although he was penalized on Friday with five positions by the FIA for having changed the engine for the sixth time this season (twice as many as allowed) and will start in seventh place.
The Danish Kevin Magnussen (Haas), who surprised by achieving the best time in practice on Friday, barely lasted two and a half laps in the lead. In one of the first corners at the start of the third lap, the new Formula 1 champion, Verstappen, who started second, took the lead.
As the laps went by, Russell got closer to Verstappen and the two staged an intense duel that ended up favoring Carlos Sainz and Hamilton, who got closer to both.
On the 15th lap, Russell finally managed to pass Verstappen and managed to open up more than a second in the lead.
In round 19, the champion collided with Carlos Sainz, when he was trying to overtake him, and lost part of his front wing, ending up being passed by Sainz and Hamilton, unable to disturb a solid Russell.
The Mexican sebastian perez (Red Bull) was fifth, followed by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren) and Magnussenn, who rounded out the eight drivers to score points.
The two-time world champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine) had to leave after touching his vehicle at the start with that of his partner, the Frenchman Estéban Ocon.
“The car is running very well. I’m very happy. Now it’s about making a good strategy to win tomorrow as well,” Russell told reporters after winning the sprint.
The Briton also commented on the fact that Mercedes will have both its drivers in the front row, with Lewis Hamilton in second place.
“It’s crazy to think we’re coming out on the front row. We’re in a luxury position where maybe we can split the strategy and go for the win,” he added.
At 24 years old and with 80 GP contested, Russell hopes to achieve his first victory in Formula 1 in Brazil, with a Hamilton who wants to make history and be the first driver to win at least one race in his 16 seasons on the circuit.