F1 United States GP: Verstappen takes sprint shootout pole by 0.055s

Verstappen spun around after hitting the kerbs in the second segment of the weekend’s shorter qualifying session, where the drivers were obliged to run mediums in Q1 and Q2 and then softs in Q3. 

In the final session, the majority of drivers only had one new set of softs, which meant they sat in the garages for a long time until Verstappen headed out and blitzed his way to a 1m34.538s. 

Although track limits were again a big talking point – with the FIA having widened the white line limits exiting Turns 9, 12 and 19 to help the drivers following discussions with the teams – Verstappen had no repeat of the error that cost him pole for the GP on Friday evening. 

Ferrari’s Leclerc was again his main rival – setting the quickest time in the middle sector on his sole Q3 run and so closing in on the 0.1s gap he had to Verstappen after sector one before then falling back again in the Austin lap’s final third to wind up just 0.055 adrift. 

Hamilton slotted his Mercedes into third, with an effort set after most of the other frontrunners – ending up fractionally behind Leclerc and 0.069s adrift of Verstappen. 

Lando Norris led his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri in fourth and fifth, with Carlos Sainz sixth in the other Ferrari. 

Sergio Perez had another disappointing qualifying for Red Bull Racing – finishing seventh and a massive 0.5s down on team-mate Verstappen. But he was forced to run in Q3 without a new set of softs as he had used all of his in Friday’s action.  

The same was true of George Russell, who therefore took eighth in the second Mercedes, and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly – 10th in the final order behind Williams driver Alex Albon

In changing but less blustery wind conditions than on Friday, Albon was able to rise from a Q1 exit in GP qualifying to reach Q3 for the sprint event. 

In Q2, where seven drivers only completed one run due to lacking medium tyres to use, Ricciardo just missed out on progressing behind Albon, along with Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Zhou Guanyu. 

Zhou was one of the few midfield runners to complete multiple runs in the middle segment, but his personal best at the end was not enough to reach Q3, while Stroll was left to rue a late massive double lock-up aboard his Aston Martin at Turn 12 at the end of the track’s main straight. 

In Q1, Ricciardo’s last-gasp improvement knocked out Nico Hulkenberg, who was eliminated alongside his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant

Russell faces a post-session investigation for appearing to impede Leclerc going through the penultimate corners late in Q1, with the Ferrari driver quipping, “And penalty for Mr Russell – thank you”, following the incident.  

In a similar incident in Q1, Tsunoda was assessed for appearing to impede Hamilton at the same point, with the Mercedes driver feeling the pair had lightly touched right-front corner to left-rear, but race control decided the clash was not worthy of further investigation. 

Russell will also be among those investigated for apparently failing to follow the race director’s instructions regarding driving too slowly on in and out laps – intended to reduce traffic issues this year – alongside Albon, Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Gasly, Piastri, Bottas, Tsunoda and Perez. 

Albon, Piastri and Russell were pinged again for this in Q2, this time along with Stroll, Zhou, Ricciardo and Norris. 

F1 United States Grand Prix – Sprint qualifying results

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This news article came from: https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/f1-united-states-gp-sprint-pole-verstappen/10535851/

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