Formula 1

Verstappen hits back with sprint race pole at Austin

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Max Verstappen narrowly denied Charles Leclerc an Austin Formula 1 pole double in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix sprint, with Lewis Hamilton also within 0.069s of pole.

Verstappen will start only sixth for the main event on Sunday having infringed track limits on his final qualifying lap.

He and Red Bull got back on pole for the sprint, having topped all three qualifying segments. But it was very close - Leclerc's Sunday polesitting Ferrari was within 0.055s and Hamilton's Mercedes just another 0.014s. And it was a slightly fraught session for Verstappen too, as he had a 360-degree spin over the grass coming through the Turn 8/9 flick and crest in Q2 and then said pole was "not bad, considering the issues".

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri complete the top five ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

The intra-team gaps were big at Red Bull (0.5s from Verstappen on pole to Sergio Perez in seventh) and Mercedes, with George Russell a similar margin behind Hamilton as he took an eighth place that became 11th when he was given a three-place penalty for impeding Leclerc in Q1.

Alex Albon produced another qualifying surprise to put Williams ninth, which became eighth after Russell's penalty. Alpine couldn't replicate its strong Friday form but did get into the top 10 with Pierre Gasly.

Daniel Ricciardo had a much more impressive start to his second day back in the AlphaTauri F1 cockpit as he came within 0.031s of a pole shootout place and qualified 11th. Russell's penalty brings him into the top 10.

Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was an enraged 19th after a traffic mess at the end of Q1 in which Hamilton appeared to make minor contact with him and Tsunoda crossed the line too late to start his planned final flying lap.

Aston Martin got beyond Q1 this time but lost both cars in Q2 - Fernando Alonso in 12th and Lance Stroll 14th after a strange very early double front lock-up at the end of the back straight.

The upgraded Haas will start only 16th and 17th as neither Nico Hulkenberg nor Kevin Magnussen found the speed to progress beyond the first segment.

It was another poor session for the sole American on the Austin F1 grid. While Albon starred again, his under-pressure Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant starts last.

Qualifying Results

PosNameCarQ1Q2Q3
1Max VerstappenRed Bull1m35.997s1m35.181s1m34.538s
2Charles LeclercFerrari1m35.999s1m35.386s1m34.593s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m36.393s1m35.887s1m34.607s
4Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m36.499s1m35.594s1m34.639s
5Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m36.703s1m35.753s1m34.894s
6Carlos SainzFerrari1m36.268s1m35.542s1m34.939s
7Sergio PĂ©rezRed Bull1m36.347s1m35.718s1m35.041s
8George RussellMercedes1m36.281s1m35.847s1m35.199s
9Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m36.230s1m35.947s1m35.366s
10Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m36.595s1m35.785s1m35.897s
11Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m36.737s1m35.978s
12Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m36.365s1m36.087s
13Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m36.372s1m36.137s
14Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m36.575s1m36.181s
15Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m36.554s1m36.182s
16Nico HĂĽlkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m36.749s
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m36.922s
18Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1m36.922s
19Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1m36.945s
20Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m37.186s
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