Leclerc smashes competition with a blistering lap in Las Vegas qualifying

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Las Vegas, Las Vegas Street Circuitus

Having dominated each qualifying segment, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc set a 1m32.726s to snatch pole position at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, beating his team-mate Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari-dominated qualifying session. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the Las Vegas qualifying.

Q1 - Shock for McLaren

After getting to grips with the Las Vegas Strip Circuit in practice, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc quickly indicated that he would be the driver to beat on the spectacular circuit. The Monégasque set a 1m33.617s with his team-mate Carlos Sainz posting the second-quickest time of the session.

George Russell and Max Verstappen were 3rd and 4th respectively, but they were over half a second separated from Leclerc.

McLaren endured a shock elimination in the opening segment of qualifying, as Lando Norris was a disappointing 16th, while Piastri only managed a P19.

Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu, Oscar Piastri, Yuki Tsunoda were eliminated at the end of Q1.

Q2 - Shock for Hamilton and Perez

The second qualifying segment saw Leclerc lower the benchmark as the Monégasque set a blistering time of 1m32.775s. His team-mate Sainz took P2, but he was over half a second adrift of Leclerc's benchmark.

With the track offering more and more grip towards the end of the second segment, several drivers found a fairly big improvement on their last hot laps with Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas all displaying encouraging pace.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez suffered a surprise Q2 elimination. Speaking to his race engineer on the radio, the Mercedes driver admitted he simply “couldn’t go faster” on his second run.

Missing out on Q3 for the ninth time this season, the Mexican was also eliminated after Red Bull curiously opted against completing a second run at the end of Q2 while others improved.

Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo were eliminated at the end of Q2.

Q3 - Sainz closes in

After the first runs, Ferrari's Leclerc led the way with his team-mate Sainz taking second. When drivers reappeared on the Las Vegas circuit, the Monégasque was able to improve his previous benchmark, clocking a 1m32.726s to beat his Madrid-born team-mate by less than a tenth of a second.

Verstappen set his own best lap time of the weekend during his first run, but he was unable to improve that further on his second fresh set of Pirelli's soft tyres and had to settle for P3, four tenths of a second adrift of Ferrari's benchmark.

Russell, who struggled for pace on the opening day, but made inroads for Day 2 of the Las Vegas race weekend, secured P4, coming close to Verstappen's best time.

Alpine has had a few difficult weekends recently, but they have shown great pace with Pierre Gasly, who took fifth for the Anglo-French outfit.

As expected ahead of the weekend, Williams displayed mighty pace around the punishing fast Las Vegas track. Alexander Albon, who hit the barriers in FP3, managed a P6, beating his team-mate Logan Sargeant, who took a brilliant P7.

Alfa Romeo and Haas are locked in a close fight in the Constructors' Championship, and they were both quick and close in qualifying. Valtteri Bottas posted the 8th quickest for the Italian-Swiss outfit, narrowly beating Kevin Magnussen.

After displaying an encouraging pace in the practice sessions, Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:33.6171:32.7751:32.72623
255Carlos SainzFerrari1:33.8511:33.3381:32.77023
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:34.1901:33.5721:33.10419
463George RussellMercedes1:34.1371:33.3511:33.11222
510Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:34.2721:33.4941:33.23925
623Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:34.6341:33.5881:33.32321
72Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:34.5251:33.7331:33.51323
877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:34.3051:33.8091:33.52519
920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:34.3371:33.6641:33.53723
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:34.4221:33.6171:33.55524
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:34.3071:33.83715
1211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:34.5741:33.85514
1327Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:34.2651:33.97917
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:34.5041:34.19918
153Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:34.6831:34.30818
164Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:34.7039
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:34.83410
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:34.84910
1981Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:34.85010
2022Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:36.4479