Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his ninth pole position of the season after clinching pole for 2021 US Grand Prix.
Verstappen enjoyed a strong FP3 as he finished third despite having his fastest lap time deleted but was able to overcome rear wing repairs following a crack in order to claim his first pole position at US GP and ninth overall for this season.
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile qualified second ahead of FP3 pacesetter, Sergio Perez as Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth but will take a five-place grid penalty, having opted to take a sixth Internal Combustion Engine this weekend.
Now here is a full roundup of FP3 and Qualifying at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.
A quiet start to FP3 saw drivers sit in their garages in the opening minute with Sebastian Vettel then Fernando Alonso heading out in the opening six minutes.
Once several cars began to hit the track, Hamilton quickly set the pace on soft tyres with 1m 35.814 in the 15th minute, but was soon displaced by Perez and Bottas until Verstappen went fastest ten minutes later with 1m 35.207 to go top.
Perez on his next flier fell 0.001 seconds short of Verstappen just moments before Bottas and George Russell went spinning at Turns Six and Five respectively.
Verstappen however had one further flier up his sleeve before concluding his opening stint as he posted 1m 34.912 to lower the quickest lap time further, prior to the final qualifying simulations.
Bottas fell 0.076s short of Verstappen’s benchmark time on his qualifying simulation and ultimately finished finish as Norris bettered his time by 0.043s as either driver failed to beat Verstappen’s time despite the Dutchman’s qualifying simulation lap time of 1m 34.383 getting deleted for exceeding track limits.
Hamilton also saw his qualifying simulation effort deleted after he ran wide at Turn Nine which meant that Perez finished FP3 fastest with 1m 34.701 ahead of Carlos Sainz by 0.104s as Verstappen settled for third ahead of Norris, Bottas and Hamilton to round out the top six.
|1||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1m 34.701|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.104|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.211|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.244|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.287|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.518|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.644|
|8||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.697|
|9||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.987|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.010|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.150|
|12||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.322|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.361|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.417|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.551|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.691|
|17||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.789|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 1.871|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 1.970|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 28.755|
Haas’ Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were first out on track with Mazepin’s first lap ultimately getting deleted for exceeding track limits.
Up front, Ricciardo set the initial pace upon completion of first flying laps with 1m 34.407 but was eventually usurped as Verstappen looked set to Q1 with 1m 34.352 just 0.017s ahead of Perez, until Leclerc posted a stunning 1m 34.153 to finish Q1 as the fastest driver.
Down in the elimination zone, Alonso, Nicholas Latifi, Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Mazepin were in the bottom five with five minutes left but only Alonso escaped at Lance Stroll’s expense come the checkered flag.
Latifi settled for 17th ahead of Raikkonen who leapfrogged Schumacher into 18th with Mazepin qualifying last in the traditional Qualifying format for the ninth consecutive race.
All of Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren’s drivers plus Ferrari’s Leclerc set their opening Q2 times on the medium tyres, with Verstappen initially emerging fastest with eventual Q2 topping time of 1m 33.464 ahead of Hamilton, Norris, Leclerc and Sainz as Ricciardo and Perez had their lap times deleted for exceeding track limits.
Upon completion of the opening runs, the elimination zone contained Perez, Ricciardo plus Russell who aborted his lap, alongside Sebastian Vettel and Antonio Giovinazzi who hadn’t ventured out yet.
In the end, Perez and Ricciardo escaped elimination as Esteban Ocon was knocked out in 11th ahead of Vettel, Giovinazzi, Alonso and Russel.
Hamilton was first out on track and set a benchmark 1m 33.564 as drivers reverted to the soft tyre but was usurped by Bottas by 0.089s until Verstappen posted 1m 33.199 to displace Bottas, only for Perez to post 1m 33.180 to snatch provisional pole from his teammate by 0.019s.
Come the checkered flag, Hamilton improved to 1m 33.119 to put himself on pole, only to be usurped by Verstappen who clinched his ninth pole position of 2021 season with 1m 32.910 as Perez settled for third.
Bottas qualified fourth but will start ninth ahead of Yuki Tsunoda after taking a sixth Internal Combustion Engine, which means that Leclerc will start fourth ahead of Sainz, Ricciardo, Norris and Pierre Gasly.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 32.910|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.209|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.224|
|4**||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.565|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.696|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.882|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.898|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.977|
|9||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.208|
|10||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.008|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||1m 35.377|
|12*||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.123|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.417|
|14*||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 9.172|
|15*||George Russell||Williams||No Time Set|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1m 35.983|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.012|
|18||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.328|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 0.516|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 0.813|
*Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and George Russell will start from back of grid after taking a new power unit in 18th, 19th and 20th positions respectively.
** Valtteri Bottas will start ninth after taking a five-place grid penalty following installation of a sixth Internal Combustion Engine.