The 2022 Formula One season is headed into its penultimate weekend, the Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race, and an unexpected face will roll off in pole position for Saturday’s sprint event.
Kevin Magnussen, who began the season without an F1 ride, secured the pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix. This is the first pole position of his career, and the first pole position for Haas F1 Team, the only American-owned F1 racing team.
Weather was the biggest factor that teams had to deal with during Friday’s qualifying session. The first of the three qualifying sessions began in wet conditions, as showers passed through the area shortly before the session began. McLaren’s Lando Norris posted the fastest time during Q1:
Magnussen placed in seventh during the first of the three sessions.
The second qualifying session saw the pace quicken, as it was run in dry conditions. That opened the door for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished the second qualifying session atop the board. Verstappen’s lap time of 1:10.881 was the fastest of the first two sessions, and just ahead of the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc:
The third session began with a dry surface, and with rain closing in on Autódromo José Carlos Pace, teams that took to the track early had a potential advantage. That included Magnussen, who rolled off early in the session and put down a blazing-fast lap time. Just two minutes into the session, Magnussen had posted the fastest-time, but the clock was now perhaps his biggest enemy.
As Magnussen watched the rest of the field try and beat his time, George Russell from Mercedes slid off the track, bringing out a red flag and opening the door for another driver to take the pole.
But then the rain arrived, and no one could match Magnussen’s blazing lap:
Here is the moment when Magnussen and the rest of Haas F1 Team found out they had secured their first pole:
Following the celebration, Magnussen credited the team for “putting [him] out on the track at exactly the right moment:”
Magnussen will now roll off in pole position in Saturday’s sprint portion of the weekend. The Brazilian Grand Prix is the third — and final — sprint race of the season. Saturday’s race, which sees Magnussen on the pole, will be a short, 24-lap sprint, with the top eight finishers securing points.
How the drivers finish on Saturday will set the lineup for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
But for Haas, and Magnussen, none of that matters right now. Because these legends finally have their first pole position as a driver, and a team.