Roundup of Sprint Saturday at 2023 US Grand Prix as Max Verstappen dominated proceedings.
Having qualified sixth for the main race on Sunday, Verstappen roared back to dominate Sprint Shootout Qualifying and subsequently sped away to his third sprint win of the campaign.
Lewis Hamilton meanwhile continued his strong weekend as he finished second ahead of Charles Leclerc to round out the top three.
Now here is a full roundup of Sprint Shootout and the Sprint Race in Texas, USA.
In a tweak from the usual SS1 format, teams were mandatory forced to run the medium rather than hard tyre, with Hamilton first out on track and set the benchmark time of 1m 36.402 which was soon bettered by Leclerc whio went 0.100 seconds quicker.
Once everyone had set a lap time, the elimination zone compromised of; Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri, although Piastri improved in the tenth minute to 11th fastest and dropped Valtteri Bottas into the bottom five.
As the checkered flag fell, Ricciardo, Stroll and Piastri all survived as Nico Hulkenberg was eliminated in 16th position, ahead of Magnussen, Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda and Sargeant.
Verstappen meanwhile topped SS1 with 1m 35.997 set in the eighth minute of the segment.
Verstappen was first out on track as drivers once again ran medium tyres in this segment and set the benchmark time of 1m 35.181 in the fourth minute, whilst seven drivers held back to save their medium tyre for one flying lap at the end of the session rather than two runs.
Once the checkered flag fell, Ricciardo qualified 11th ahead of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon whilst Stroll outqualified Guanyu Zhou for 14th position on the Sprint grid by just 0.001s.
Up top, Verstappen finished fastest as his benchmark lap time wasn’t beaten despite the Dutchman spinning at Turn 9 on his final flying lap.
Due to heavy tyre degradation on the soft tyre across one flying lap, those who made it through to SS3 decided to stay in the pits for the opening two minutes before Verstappen led a queue of cars out onto the circuit for a single lap shootout.
Verstappen proceeded to set the benchmark time of 1m 34.538 with barely a minute left on the clock which proved enough for the Sprint pole ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton, as the top three were split by just 0.069s.
Lando Norris qualified fourth ahead of Oscar Piastri, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, George Russell, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly.
Russell post-session was handed a three-place grid penalty after he impeded Leclerc at the end of SS1, which dropped him to 11th on the grid for the Sprint.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 34.538|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.055|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.069|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.101|
|5||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+ 0.356|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.401|
|7||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.503|
|8||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.661|
|9||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.828|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+ 1.359|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||1m 35.978|
|12||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+ 0.109|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.159|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.203|
|15||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.204|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||1m 36.749|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.173|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.173|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.196|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 0.437|
At lights out, Verstappen forced Leclerc wide towards the pit exit wall to retain his lead which allowed Hamilton to sweep round the outside of Turn 1 to take second from the Monegasque, whilst Sainz – who was only driver on soft tyre – overtook Norris for fourth into Turn 12.
Russell meanwhile improved to eighth which became seventh on Lap 3 as he followed Perez in passing Piastri, although he overtook the Australian off track at Turn 16 into Turn 17 which earned him a five-second time penalty.
Up front, Verstappen fought off an initial challenge from Hamilton to cruise to victory as he became the first driver to win three sprint races in one season.
Leclerc settled for third as Norris passed Sainz for fourth on Lap 10 with Perez following through a lap later, whilst Sainz settled for sixth as Gasly benefitted from Russell’s penalty to finish seventh ahead of the Brit who was demoted to eighth in the classification.
In the drivers’ standings, Perez’s lead over Hamilton in the battle for second was trimmed to 27 points ahead of the Grand Prix.
McLaren meanwhile closed the gap to fourth-placed Aston Martin in the constructors’ standings to six points after neither Alonso or Stroll failed to score points for the latter team.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||19||3..m ..|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||19||+ 9.465|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||19||+ 17.987|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren||19||+ 18.863|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||19||+ 22.928|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||19||+ 28.307|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||19||+ 32.403|
|8||George Russell||Mercedes||19||+ 34.250|
|9||Alex Albon||Williams||19||+ 34.567|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||19||+ 42.403|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||19||+ 44.986|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||19||+ 45.509|
|13||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||19||+ 49.086|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||19||+ 49.733|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||19||+ 56.650|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||19||+ 64.401|
|17||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||19||+ 67.972|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||19||+ 71.122|
|19||Logan Sargeant||Williams||19||+ 71.449|
|RET||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||16||Brakes|