In the lead up to the title fight, Max Verstappen struck first by taking pole position in the United States Grand Prix ahead of his rival Lewis Hamilton. The Briton is just ahead of Sergio Pérez.
The first bend promises to be hot! Rivals for the title of world champion at the end of the season, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will start side-by-side this Sunday at the start of the United States Grand Prix. While the second knives had shared the honors since the start of the weekend, Valtteri Bottas dominating the first free practice session before seeing Sergio Pérez rise to the top of the timesheet in the second and then the third, leaders took over when it mattered most. As the Mexican took the lead after the first attempt in Q3, Lewis Hamilton responded in his very last attempt to pass just ahead of the Red Bull Racing driver. But that was without counting on the aggressiveness of Max Verstappen who, in a last effort and while raindrops were reported in the pit straight, completed his lap in 1’32”910. For 209 thousandths of a second, the Dutchman takes the advantage over his runner-up in the championship standings.
Max Verstappen takes pole! ?
An amazing final flying lap means he will start ahead of Lewis Hamilton (P2) and Sergio Perez (P3)#USGP ?? # F1 pic.twitter.com/oQI5cs2WA5
– Formula 1 (@ F1) October 23, 2021
Pérez will be able to help Verstappen, Bottas will be further
But, for the start of the race, Red Bull Racing will have the advantage of numbers. Indeed, just behind Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez will be there. The Mexican, who is almost at home two weeks before the Grand Prix in Mexico, will have a front row seat to witness the clash of the titans and will be able to help his leader by putting the Briton under pressure. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, will not be able to count on Valtteri Bottas’ support immediately. The Finn, if he has set the fourth fastest time in these qualifications more than half a second from the benchmark, will have to start from ninth place due to an engine penalty. What makes the business of Charles Leclerc, who invites himself in the second row just in front of his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. In the Ferrari-McLaren duel for third place in the constructors’ standings, the Italian firm took the advantage as Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris both finished behind Carlos Sainz Jr.. Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, will be the last to take advantage of Valtteri Bottas’ penalty, swapping his ninth place for eighth position on the starting grid.
That was qualifying at its dramatic best!
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton lock out the front row for the seventh time this season#USGP ?? # F1 pic.twitter.com/Mb7NjkmlKp
– Formula 1 (@ F1) October 23, 2021
Ocon a manqué le car in Q2
The Rouennais was eight tenths of a second ahead of his teammate Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese was able to invite himself into Q3 despite the Alpine team’s attempt to help Esteban Ocon pass the cut. In the last attempt in Q2, Fernando Alonso voluntarily sacrificed his turn to offer a suction to his teammate. This plan ultimately fell through for the winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix this season, who will be eleventh on the grid but will have a free choice of tires for the start. Apart from Valtteri Bottas, three other drivers will be penalized on the grid due to engine penalties, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and George Russell. This qualifying session made it possible to determine who will occupy the last places on the starting grid. 15th with his only time in Q2 erased for not respecting the limits of the track, George Russell will be last with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in front of him. A starting grid which announces a start under high tension with the two candidates for the title who will be face to face at the first turn.