Charles Leclerc has taken pole for the US Grand Prix!
The Monegasque driver has taken his third pole of the season.
For the second race in a row, qualifying has taken place on a Friday to set the Sunday grid due to the sprint race format. With only one practice session so far, the teams didn’t have much data to take into this session. However, it was Ferrari who nailed it in Austin.
Home hero Logan Sargent was the first driver on track setting a fast lap after finishing 11th in FP1 but had to peel into the pits. Former US Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas went first, before being beaten by the McLarens of Lando Norris. Charles Leclerc then continued his solid practice form and topped the timesheets before the Red Bulls set their laps. Lewis Hamilton struggled for grip in his Mercedes and settled in sixth after his first flying lap.
In every driver’s second runs, Max Verstappen didn’t seem to time his lap well as he ran into a lot of traffic, but still set a purple first sector and went to the top of the timesheets. He was then beaten by Hamilton and Norris. Daniel Ricciardo went 12th on his return to action before teammate Yuki Tsunoda shot up to fifth place. However, both Aston Martins couldn’t improve as Fernando Alonso sat 17th with Lance Stroll in 19th.
Out in Q1 was Sargent, Stroll, Alex Albon, Alonso, and Nico Hülkenberg.
Max Verstappen set and early benchmark ahead of Oscar Piastri and Pierre Gasly. Teammate Sérgio Perez was still struggling to match his times and say fifth after his first lap. The two Alpine’s were sitting pretty in third and fourth whilst the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was only 14th. With new tyres being bolted on at different intervals, the times kept tumbling as Leclerc went half a second clear of Verstappen. The latter then set his lap and was four thousandths of a second off top spot. The Mercedes’ left it late to reach Q3 as Hamilton went third and George Russell squeezed into ninth place. Behind Rusell was Perez who would’ve been breathing a sigh of relief as he got through in 10th.
Out in Q2 was Daniel Ricciardo in his return, Kevin Magnussen, Bottas, Zhou Guanyu, and Tsunoda.
The shootout for pole was looking to be a tense one after a tight Q2 between Verstappen and Leclerc. As the cars came out of the pits in a formation Noah and his Ark would be proud of, the out laps got underway. Verstappen’s Red Bull was stuck to the floor in the first sector as he went quickest out of anyone, before Leclerc did the same in sector two. After both crossed the line, it was the latter who held the advantage after the first laps. Hamilton then beat Verstappen to second as three different teams sat in the top three places.
Leclerc was the first to set his second flying lap as he hunted down pole position and improved in the first sector. Verstappen then locked up into the first corner to put himself at an early disadvantage. Norris went up to second place before Verstappen went first by 0.005 seconds but crossed track limits.
Nobody crossing the line could beat Leclerc, who finished ahead of Norris and Hamilton.