Verstappen pips Leclerc to take pole for Austin F1 Sprint

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Following a difficult qualifying session for Sunday's main race, three-time world champion Max Verstappen bounced back today to head the Sprint Qualifying Shootout, beating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by a tiny margin of 55 thousands of a second. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on the sprint qualifying.

Max Verstappen lost his best lap yesterday for exceeding track limits at the penultimate corner which means that he will only line up sixth on the grid at the United States Grand Prix. However, the Dutchman came back to snatch the pole position for the Austin F1 Sprint that is set to take place later on today.

The Dutchman was fastest in the first two qualifying segments, beating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the 12-minute and 10-minute session when drivers are restricted to Pirelli's yellow-banded medium tyres.

In the all-imporant SQ3, drivers switched to the red-walled soft tyres, and Verstappen set a 1m34.538s which was two tenths of a second quicker than what Leclerc managed yesterday en route to his pole position. However, the Monegasque was also brilliant once again, getting close to the three-time world champion with his best time of 1m34.593s.

5-time United States Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton struggled for pace on the mediums, but picked up his pace on the softs to end up third fastest.

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were fourth and fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez continued to struggle for pace as he only finished seventh fastest. Struggled for pace both on the medium and the soft compound compared to his team-mate, George Russell set the eighth quickest lap, but he might face a three-place grid penalty for impeding Leclerc in the first qualifying segment.

Williams struggled yesterday, but Alexander Albon had a much more encouraging sprint qualifying today, securing the ninth starting spot for tomorrow.

Alpine's racer Pierre Gasly was tenth fastest while his team-mate Esteban Ocon ending up 13th fastest.

Aston Martin endured another tricky qualifying with both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll knocked out in SQ2. The Spaniard and the Canadian will start only from 12th and 14th.

The returning Daniel Ricciardo was 11th in his AlphaTauri, but he complained about his own performance over the team radio as he felt that there was more to come from him.

Despite their excessive upgrade package introduced this weekend, both Haas drivers failed to make it out of SQ1, with Nico Hulkenberg set to start the Sprint from 16th next to Kevin Magnussen in 17th.

While Alfa Romeo's Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu took 15th, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas will only line up in P18 on the grid, followed by the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda. Home hero Logan Sargeant finished in 20th for Williams.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:35.9971:35.1811:34.53811
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:35.9991:35.3861:34.59314
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:36.3931:35.8871:34.60712
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:36.4991:35.5941:34.63915
581Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:36.7031:35.7531:34.89415
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:36.2681:35.5421:34.93914
711Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:36.3471:35.7181:35.04114
863George RussellMercedes1:36.2811:35.8471:35.19912
923Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:36.2301:35.9471:35.36612
1010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:36.5951:35.7851:35.89712
113Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:36.7371:35.9789
1214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.3651:36.0879
1331Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:36.3721:36.1379
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.5751:36.18111
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:36.5541:36.18211
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:36.7496
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:36.9226
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:36.9226
1922Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:36.9455
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:37.1866