Max Verstappen has taken pole position as a dramatic rain shower ended qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix early.
The red flag was shown with four minutes remaining in Qualifying 3 to confirm Verstappen on pole, though conditions had deteriorated such that nobody was improving anyway.
Verstappen had headed out as the final segment began, while Oscar Piastri was caught out as he ran last in the Qualifying 3 queue.
He was a victim of the weather, sliding off the track at Juncao to lock him into 10th without a time.
The start of qualifying was delayed by 15 minutes as officials worked to clean what was an especially dirty circuit.
Three drivers had struck issues during Free Practice 1 earlier in the day, while a crash in the Porsche support race also left the circuit needing repairs.
When running finally began, it did so under heavy grey skies, the threat of rain 60 percent.
Oscar Piastri was the first to set a time, a 1:11.494s on a set of tyres that had been lightly used in Free Practice 1.
The Dutchman was complaining about the ride of his Red Bull, claiming it was “jumping around like a kangaroo” as it had been in Mexico City.
George Russell booked himself an appointment with the stewards for impeding Pierre Gasly in the pit exit.
With rain closing in, Ferrari sent Charles Leclerc out for a second timed lap with 10 minutes remaining.
He improved to the fastest car on track with a 1:10.472s.
Behind him, Carlos Sainz followed his team-mate to record the fourth fastest lap, soon sixth as Fernando Alonso and Piastri improved.
The looming weather was encouraging teams to run earlier than they usually would.
The former had managed the fastest time of 1:10.831s in what was a hugely competitive session.
Alex Albon shot to fourth fastest with his final lap, a 1:10.621s set moments before Lance Stroll, who was third fastest, reported drops of rain.
Qualifying 1 drew to a close with Russell fastest from Verstappen, Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Piastri, while eliminated were Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant, and Zhou Guanyu.
Though it had threatened, the rain never arrived in Qualifying 1, though again triggered a flurry of cars on track as Qualifying 2 began.
Verstappen had a new set of soft tyres at his disposal as he went fastest with his first lap, followed by the two McLarens, Norris from Piastri.
Like before, teams sent their drivers out for a second run midway through Qualifying 2.
That saw Sainz rise to second with Russell third, none able to catch Verstappen's 1:10.152s set on his first flying lap.
As Verstappen completed his second timed lap in the session, Norris moved to the top of the timesheets.
Verstappen was unable to improve on his earlier effort after running wide at Turn 4.
Others were, though there were no major surprises as the chequered flag waved.
It saw Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, and Albon all miss the cut.
At the other end of the timesheets, Norris headed Verstappen and Sergio Perez, while Fernando Alonso was the first of two Aston Martins to progress into Qualifying 3.
Still, the rain had held off though the skies had darkened further still with rain clouds visible in the distance.
Teams forecasted the rain would fall seven minutes into the final part of the qualifying hour.
With his initial lap, Verstappen could manage only a 1:10.727s, some 0.6s slower than he'd managed in Qualifying 2.
However, it was good enough as nobody else was improving either, not helped by an off for Piastri at Juncao.
The rear of the McLaren cried enough on a track that was getting slippery, Sainz also sliding off the road at Turn 1 moments later as the rain began.
Clouds cast the circuit in darkness as lightning flashed through the skies, the red flag ultimately being shown to end a session that was already effectively over anyway.
It left Verstappen fastest from Leclerc, Stroll, Alonso, Hamilton, Russell, Norris, Sainz, Perez, and Piastri, the latter not setting a time after his off.
It was a disappointing result for McLaren which promised more while Aston Martin arguably over-delivered by locking out the second row.
With the grid now set for Sunday's race, driver and teams will next be on track for the Sprint Shootout on Saturday.