Sainz steals pole in Qualifying for US Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has scored his second Formula 1 pole position in a Ferrari one-two during Qualifying for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

The Spaniard’s final lap of the session saw him move into top spot; an improved lap by Charles Leclerc not enough to best his team-mate.

Max Verstappen was third fastest but will start on the front row once grid penalties are applied, relegating Leclerc to 12th and Sergio Perez from fourth to ninth.

The session began under a cloud as the death of Dietrich Mateschitz was announced just moments before cars headed out on track.

Verstappen crossed the line at the end of his first timed lap to go fastest with a 1:35.864s, heading a Red Bull one-two momentarily before Leclerc went faster.

The busy track saw traffic prove a problem, especially around the final complex as drivers banked up looking for clear air for their flying lap.

That saw a near miss for Verstappen, who found a Haas on the racing line as he traversed Turn 17 on his flying lap.

A strong lap from Sainz, who’d completed a preparation lap before pushing, logged a 1:35.297s to go fastest.

With just under four minutes remaining in Qualifying 1, most ventured back out for a late push, only the Ferraris and Red Bulls remaining in the pits.

Daniel Ricciardo sat 18th as he began his lap, the McLaren driver climbing only just out of the bottom five, into which he was relegated back into.

The Australian found three-tenths on his final run, a 1:37.046s that was only good enough for 17th.

Also cut were Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher, and Nicholas Latifi.

Lewis Hamilton had his best lap deleted for track limits, though he remained fourth even with his next best effort, a 1:36.148s.

A mixture of new and used soft tyres were fitted in the opening moments of Qualifying 2, Verstappen on a set of the latter to record a 1:35.246s.

That left him fastest at the time, briefly, Leclerc managing a 1:35.246s also on a set of worn Pirellis.

By contrast, Mercedes’ George Russell was out on a set of new tyres, managing a 1:35.590s to sit fourth after the opening run.

Leclerc climbed out of his Ferrari with three minutes remaining as many of his rivals headed back out on track.

That included Verstappen, who was second fastest, though not Sainz who remained third or Perez in fifth.

Lando Norris sat 10th at the time, a 1:37.058s his best, versus Alex Albon’s 1:37.124s in 11th.

As the chequered flag fell, Albon improved to move into the top 10 until Norris bumped the Williams driver back out.

The McLaren driver then fell victim to the same fate as Guanyu Zhou improved, eliminating Norris from the session, temporarily – he received a stay of execution when the Alfa Romeo Sauber driver’s lap was deleted for track limits.

The five missing out were therefore Albon, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Zhou, and Yuki Tsunoda.

Verstappen headed out as Qualifying 3 began on a set of scrubbed tyres, the Dutchman recording a 1:35.044s.

However, Leclerc then went fastest with a 1:34.624s to move 0.420s clear of the Red Bull driver’s best.

He was followed by Sainz who went second best with a 1:34.783s as Verstappen fell to fourth when Hamilton managed a 1:34.947s.

Aston Martin ran Lance Stroll out of sequence, beginning his flying lap as the rest of the field was pushed back into the garage.

It resulted in the seventh fastest time, ahead of Alonso, Norris, and Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen headed back out for his final run earlier than most, leaving the pit lane with just under five minutes remaining.

He completed an out lap and then a prep lap, dropping back through the field as it joined the track to be the penultimate car on track.

Perez managed a 1:34.645s with his final flying lap to climb to second, but was soon demoted as Sainz stole provisional pole with a 1:34.356s.

Leclerc improved but not enough to best his team-mate, while Verstappen could only muster a time good enough for third, less that a tenth off top spot.

Then came Hamilton, Russell, Stroll, Norris, Alonso, and Bottas.

However, with grid penalties, Sainz will be joined by Verstappen on the front row, with Hamilton third and Russell fourth. Leclerc will start 12th and Perez ninth.

The United States Grand Prix begins at 14:00 local time on Sunday (20:00 BST/06:00 AEDT).

Results: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 55 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Ferrari 1:35.297 1:35.590 1:34.356
2 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 1:35.795 1:35.246 1:34.421
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:35.864 1:35.294 1:34.448
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:36.163 1:35.864 1:34.645
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 1:36.148 1:35.732 1:34.947
6 63 George Russell Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 1:36.195 1:35.692 1:34.988
7 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin F1 Team 1:36.860 1:36.032 1:35.598
8 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 1:36.465 1:36.341 1:35.690
9 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team 1:36.446 1:35.988 1:35.876
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo F1 Team 1:36.746 1:36.321 1:36.319
11 23 Alex Albon Williams Racing 1:36.932 1:36.368
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1 Team 1:36.695 1:36.398
13 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:36.577 1:36.740
14 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo F1 Team 1:36.656 1:36.970
15 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:36.808 1:37.147
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 1:36.949
17 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team 1:37.046
18 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team 1:37.068
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas F1 Team 1:37.111
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing 1:37.244

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