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Charles Leclerc came through to score another pole position for Ferrari this season. The Monegasque secured his 21st career pole position, which came after Max Verstappen had his fastest attempt deleted for track limits.
F1 Austin GP qualifying: Who will be on pole?
Charles Leclerc will be on pole for the US GP at COTA, Austin. The Ferrari driver set a 1:34.723s in his final attempt, which was good enough to beat Lando Norris by 0.130s. Max Verstappen briefly secured provisional pole, going 0.005s faster than Leclerc. The three-time champion, however, lost his fastest laptime because of a track limits infraction at turn 19. As a result, the Dutchman will line up down in sixth place.
Q1: Hamilton on top, shock double elimination for Aston Martin
The first segment of qualifying started the way most expected, with Verstappen quickly jumping to the top.
As is usually the case, the action came down to the last few minutes. In the late flurry of flying laps, Esteban Ocon, Oscar Piastri, as well as Aston Martin duo Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll found themselves under threat.
Piastri and Ocon squeezed through, but both Alonso and Stroll were left in the cutoff zone. It marked Aston Martin’s first double Q1 elimination of the year, with Alonso’s streak of consecutive Q3 appearances coming to an end at 17.
Joining the Aston Martin pairing were Nico Hulkenberg along with Williams duo Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant. The American rookie will line up last in his second Grand Prix on US soil.
Courtesy of a late flier, Hamilton went top from Verstappen.
Q2: Leclerc leads in tight fight with Verstappen
Verstappen was, once again, quick to go top at the start of the segment. Lando Norris had his first flying lap attempt deleted for a track limits infraction, and suddenly found himself in the cutoff zone.
The McLaren driver managed to save himself, jumping to sixth place. Leclerc and Verstappen went head to head for the top spot, with the advantage going to the Monegasque. The Ferrari man beat the three-time champion by a mere 0.004s, while Hamilton slotted into third.
Out in Q2 were Yuki Tsunoda, Alfa Romeo duo Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, and returnee Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian is taking part in his first race weekend since fully recovering from a broken left hand, suffered during a crash in free practice for the Dutch GP in late August.
Q3: Leclerc secures pole after Verstappen loses his fastest lap
Verstappen was the first driver to head out. But, this time around, the three-time champion was beaten to the top spot by Leclerc after the first round of flying laps. Hamilton slotted into second place, while teammate George Russell had his attempt deleted for track limits.
Despite not setting a single purple sector, Leclerc beat his previous mark by 0.106s, improving to 1:34.723s. Verstappen messed up on turn 1, but, with a purple third sector, the three-time champion went top by just 0.005s. However, a track limits violation on the exit of turn 19 meant that the Dutchman had his lap deleted, dropping to sixth at the end of the session.
Leclerc recovered pole, and ultimately beat fellow front row starter Norris by 0.130s. Hamilton was third, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr., Russell, Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, and Piastri.
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