Sainz proves Ferrari qualifying pace with Austin pole position

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F1 Grand Prix, GP USA, Circuit of The Americasus

Carlos Sainz narrowly beat his teammate and Red Bull's Max Verstappen to pole for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. As Leclerc takes an engine penalty, Verstappen will start from second on the grid as Hamilton and Russell are to make up the second row.

The start of qualifying followed the announcement of the death of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateshitz, a shock for the F1 world despite the knowledge that the Austrian had been seriously ill for some time already.

"As he would have wanted, we now head into this qualifying exactly as he would have wanted it to be. He was passionate about F1, passionate about the team, and our determination is to go and do our best for him today, and obviously in the race tomorrow," said Christian Horner just before the session began.

For Alonso and Leclerc the session was compromised due to engine change penalties: 5 places for the Spaniard and 10 places for the Monegasque. Perez and Zhou were later also added to this list, both hit with 5-place penalties.

The session begins with some immediate action in the form of Magnussen heading straight out on the soft compound tyre. It is the red-marked rubber all the way, with Schumacher, Latifi, Albon and Zhou also going for an early run.

3 minutes into the session everybody was out on track and soon Leclerc emerged in front. Sainz further improved on that with a quick first sector and a nice tow on the back straight by Vettel after he had aborted his first flying lap.

5 minutes from the end there was bad news for Zhou as his time got deleted for track limits. Zhou would however bounce back strongly and end Q1 in 10th, a tenth up on his teammate and 3 tenths up on the elimination time.

The Haas drivers were far less impressive they were both out. Schumacher notably spun off early on in his second flying lap, resulting in 19th overall in qualifying, ahead only of Williams' Latifi. Ricciardo had another disappointing qualifying while Ocon, despite having a new floor (spec 4b) on his Alpine also dropped out whereas Alonso was 7th fastest at the time.

Sainz and Leclerc topped the times in Q1, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Perez and Russell.

The second part of qualifying saw a slower start with Bottas and Zhou topping the timing sheet at the halfway mark. Many were on track at that time though and soon the entire top 7 of Q1 emerged again in the top 7 spots, albeit in a slightly different order. Leclerc was the fastest this time around, followed by Verstappen, Sainz, Russell, Perez, Hamilton and Alonso.

In the closing stages positions from 7th to 15th switched rapidly, resulting in Stroll, Bottas and Zhou making it through. It was only for a minute however as Zhou saw his time deleted yet again for track limits at Turn 12. This dropped the Alfa Romeo to 14th and promoted Norris into the top 10.

The hot laps in the final part of qualifying kicked off with Russell but before reaching the end of the first sector timing point he backed off to try again after another slower lap to manage the tyres.

As Russell went round to prepare for his lap to 6th, Leclerc completed the fastest lap around Circuit of the Americas in 1:34.624, 0.159s quicker than Sainz and 0.420s ahead of Verstappen. As Perez settled in behind Perez, Hamilton emerged third fastest with his first flyer, a tenth faster than Verstappen.

Even after Russell completed his first timed lap, Stroll moved up into 7th after having gone out late out of the pits. The Canadian did 6 tenths better than Alonso and an extra 4 tents to Norris.

Second time out Leclerc improved a tenth but Sainz shaved off more to take pole position. Verstappen qualified third at 0.092s but is set to start from second place thanks to the 10-place penalty of Leclerc. Perez stranded at 3 tenths from pole while Hamilton failed to improve on his second run and ended up 5th, just ahead of his teammate Russell.


155Carlos SainzFerrari1:35.2971:35.5901:34.35613
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:35.7951:35.2461:34.42113
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:35.8641:35.2941:34.44814
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:36.1631:35.8641:34.64512
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:36.1481:35.7321:34.94718
663George RussellMercedes1:36.1951:35.6921:34.98819
718Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.8601:36.0321:35.59815
84Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:36.4651:36.3411:35.69018
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:36.4461:35.9881:35.87617
1077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:36.7461:36.3211:36.31918
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:36.9321:36.36815
125Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.6951:36.39812
1310Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:36.5771:36.74011
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:36.6561:36.97015
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:36.8081:37.14712
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:36.9498
173Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:37.0466
1831Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:37.0686
1947Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:37.1118
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:37.2448

Note - Leclerc penalised 10 grid places for use of additional power unit elements.
Alonso, Perez and Zhou penalised 5 grid places for use of additional power unit elements.