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Formula 1

What the US GP starting grid should look like

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Five Formula 1 drivers in the United States Grand Prix field have now taken grid penalties, including two of the frontrunners, while another will start from the pitlane.

Ferrari loses out on a front-row sweep as a double penalty for taking a sixth internal combustion engine and sixth turbocharger – both three over the limit for the season – drops Charles Leclerc from second to 12th.

But Red Bull loses a car from the front two rows too, as a new internal combustion engine means Sergio Perez drops from fourth to ninth.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Qualifying Day Austin, Usa

Similar penalties mean Fernando Alonso’s Alpine goes from ninth to 14th and Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo falls from 14th to 19th.

Yuki Tsunoda was later given a five-place penalty on Sunday for a gearbox change, so should have fallen from 15th to 20th, though he will move up one place as Esteban Ocon has a pitlane start after Alpine made unapproved component changes.

Using the ’empty grid’ method officially outlined by the FIA earlier this week, this is what we anticipate the starting order to be – subject to any further parts changes:

Likely US GP starting grid

1. Sainz
2. Verstappen
3. Hamilton
4. Russell
5. Stroll
6. Norris
7. Bottas
8. Albon
9. Perez
10. Vettel
11. Gasly
12. Leclerc
13. Magnussen
14. Alonso
15. Ricciardo
16. Schumacher
17. Zhou
18. Latifi
19. Tsunoda
Pitlane Ocon

Mercedes is a big beneficiary as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell rise from row three to row two.

Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon in fifth through eighth on the revised grid are the other drivers picking up two places from the penalties.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Practice Day Austin, Usa

Fifth for Aston Martin driver Stroll is not only his best grid position of this year but his best since his 2020 Turkish GP pole.

Seventh is Bottas’s best since his Alfa Romeo started from the same spot in Spain in May, and eighth is Albon’s second best start for Williams after his sixth place amid the many penalties in Belgium two months ago.

Though Leclerc’s weekend has been made much tougher by the penalty, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies is optimistic about how much ground he can make up on Sunday.

“We knew we were coming into this event with a high possibility of that penalty,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“We had to get used to that quite a few times this year. So we also know that there is an opportunity to come back to big points.

“We will be trying to come back through the field. There may be safety cars and opportunities.

“We do not set any limits for what Charles can do tomorrow in coming back through the field.”

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