Images showed a frightening scene at Interlagos as a grandstand roof collapsed when stormy conditions arrived for Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying.
While the weather looks stable for the sprint and Brazilian Grand Prix action, the same was not true on Friday, when qualifying would take place to set the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
There was a 60 per cent chance of rain heading into the session, and it is safe to say that trademark unique Interlagos weather made its mark again.
Grandstand roof collapses at stormy Interlagos
While the track remained dry for Q1 and Q2, the radar showed an area of heavy rain closing in early in Q3, the skies indeed darkening around Interlagos.
Drivers managed only a single run before the rain, thunder and lightening set in, bringing out the red flags to suspend the session, which would not resume, meaning Max Verstappen claimed pole.
This was no average downpour though, with photographer Andy Hone posting images on social media of a grandstand roof which had collapsed at the final turn under the pressure, describing it as a “scary 10 minutes on track” as he narrowly, but thankfully, avoiding harm.
— Andy Hone (@andyhone) November 3, 2023
Fortunately, there are no reports of anyone suffering injury from the incident.
The incident was captured on camera as fans faced gusts which reportedly exceeded 100 km/h.
Here’s the video of the grandstand roof collapsing at the circuit 😱
Gusts of 104 km/h were recorded at the airport, as per @sdietzf1.
— Fastest Pitstop (@FastestPitStop) November 3, 2023
As thunder echoed around the circuit following qualifying, Verstappen described the weather as “insane”, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will join him on the front row for Sunday, said he has never experienced conditions like this before.
“We didn’t know when it would hit in qualifying,” said Verstappen of the storm. “We thought it would hit, but this is insane weather.
“Charles and I were just discussing, our laps felt terrible. I think the wind started to change and started to be very strong and we lost a lot of lap time because of it. But it was all quite hectic in the last lap.”
Leclerc added: “In my whole career I’ve never experienced something like that.
“From Turn 4, there was no rain, but the car was extremely difficult to drive, no grip.
“I was thinking about just coming in at the end of the lap that I finished and then P2. So it’s a really good surprise, but it’s a very weird one I think for everybody out on track today.
“But I’m happy to be on the front row anyway.”
Drivers will return to qualifying action tomorrow to determine the grid order for the Interlagos sprint race.