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F1 United States GP: Verstappen recovers from spin to beat Leclerc to sprint pole

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen spun in Q2 but topped sprint shootout qualifying for Formula 1’s 2023 United States Grand Prix, ahead of main race polesitter Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Verstappen went 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, but still progressed as the fastest at that stage having also edged Leclerc to top Q1.

In that session, the majority of drivers only having one new set of softs 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.

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 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.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Sergio Perez had another disappointing qualifying for Red Bull – finishing seventh and a massive 0.5s down on team-mate Verstappen, but having 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 who took 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 lacking medium tyres to use, Ricciardo just missed out on progressing behind Albon, along with Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll 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.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

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

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 11

1'34.538

  209.934
2 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 14

+0.055

1'34.593

0.055 209.812
3 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 12

+0.069

1'34.607

0.014 209.781
4 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 15

+0.101

1'34.639

0.032 209.710
5 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 15

+0.356

1'34.894

0.255 209.147
6 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 14

+0.401

1'34.939

0.045 209.047
7 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 14

+0.503

1'35.041

0.102 208.823
8 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 12

+0.661

1'35.199

0.158 208.476
9 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 12

+0.828

1'35.366

0.167 208.111
10 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 12

+1.359

1'35.897

0.531 206.959

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