United States Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz on pole ahead of Max Verstappen

Carlos Sainz believed in it. And he was right. The Spaniard felt capable of seeking pole position on the Austin circuit. He succeeded after a perfectly executed last lap (1’34”356) to get ahead of his team-mate Charles Leclerc by 65 thousandths. Faster in Q2 and at the start of Q3, the Monegasque hoped better to limit the consequences of his penalty of ten places for a new engine change.

It is therefore from twelfth place that he will start this Sunday (9 p.m.) while his rival for second place in the championship, Sergio Perez, will start from ninth place after a penalty of five places. On the hunt for a thirteenth victory this season, Max Verstappen appeared behind the Ferraris throughout the qualifying session to fail 95 thousandths from pole. Sainz takes his third top position after Silverstone and Spa.

Disappointment for the French

On a track similar to that of Suzuka where he had set the fifth fastest time in qualifying, Esteban Ocon never found the rhythm on the circuit of the Americas and saw his session end early with an elimination in Q1. More prominent during free practice, his future teammate at Alpine next year was weighed down by brake problems on his AlphaTauri and is taking advantage of penalties to gain two places. It is therefore from the eleventh row that he will start this Grand Prix just ahead of … Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes confirmed that it would have to be reckoned with during this 19th stage of the season and that its drivers were ready to play the spoilsports. Positioned just behind Ferrari and Red Bull at the end of qualifying, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will start from the second row thanks to the setbacks on the grid of Leclerc and Perez. With the hope, perhaps even greater for the seven-time world champion, of finally winning a race this year.

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