US GP: Verstappen denies Hamilton pole by 0.2s

Max Verstappen beat 2021 Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the 2021 US Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez third after leading the way early in Q3.

Despite a small amount of light drizzle arriving as the final runs in the top 10 shootout were unfolding, Verstappen and Hamilton were able to gain time on Perez and lock out the front row.

All the shootout runners, bar Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda, traversed Q2 on the medium tyres and will start Sunday's race on the more durable rubber at the Austin track, where the final segment of qualifying did not feature any track limits controversy, after Verstappen and Hamilton had lost times that would have led FP3.

Perez was the pacesetter in final practice and he somewhat stunned Verstappen to lead the way for Red Bull after the first runs in Q3 on a 1m33.180s, the Mexican keeping his soft tyres alive best of the leading runners to set the fastest time of Q3 in the final sector.

But he was shuffled back on the second runs as Verstappen was able to gain enough with the fastest Q3 time in sector one – where light rain was falling in the final sector – and then hold on through the lap to set a 1m32.910s.

Hamilton's personal best – where he set the fastest time in the middle sector – was a 1m33.119s, which put him 0.209s as Mercedes missed pole at the Circuit of the Americas for the first time since 2014.

Perez ended up 0.224s adrift of his teammate, but he did beat Valtteri Bottas to third, the Finn not improving on his final Q3 lap.

Charles Leclerc led Sainz as Ferrari locked out the third row of the grid in fifth and sixth, with their McLaren rivals Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris taking seventh and eighth.

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda made it three teams side by side on Sunday's grid, as they took ninth and 10th.

In Q2, a back straight tow from teammate Fernando Alonso, who ended up out in 14th with a best time in the middle segment 11s off the pace set by Verstappen as the double world champion did not set a competitive time as he will drop to the rear of the field for the race start for taking a new engine this weekend, was not enough to get Esteban Ocon's Alpine into Q3.

The Frenchman was knocked out in 11th, 0.24s shy of a slot in the shootout.

Sebastian Vettel will lead the three drivers dropping to the back as a result of engine-change grid penalties – the other being George Russell – as he did post a competitive Q2 time, which was only good enough for 12th.

Then came Antonio Giovinazzi, with Russell losing the time that would have taken 13th for a track limits violation at Turn 9, and so he ended Q2 without a time set in 15th.

In Q1, Lance Stroll was knocked out Alonso's late improvement, with the Aston Martin driver one of the first runners to take the chequered flag in the opening segment and missing out by 0.063s.

Nicholas Latifi was also shuffled down the order and eliminated in 16th for Williams, despite setting a personal best on his final lap.

Kimi Raikkonen was one of a number of drivers to have their opening efforts deleted for running too wide through the penultimate corner and his later effort of 1m36.311s was only good enough for 18th in front of the Haas drivers.

Mick Schumacher beat Nikita Mazepin at the rear of the field, with the latter incurring Vettel's wrath mid-way through Q1 when the Aston came upon the Haas going slowly through the Esses in the middle sector.

The stewards noted the incident but decided it did not warrant an investigation.

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 1'32.910
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 1'33.119 0.209
3 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 1'33.134 0.224
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 1'33.606 0.696
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 1'33.792 0.882
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 1'33.808 0.898
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1'33.887 0.977
8 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 1'34.118 1.208
9 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 1'33.475 0.565
10 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 1'34.918 2.008
11 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 1'35.377 2.467
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1'35.794 2.884
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 1'35.983 3.073
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 1'35.995 3.085
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1'36.311 3.401
16 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 1'36.499 3.589
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 1'36.796 3.886
18 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 1'35.500 2.590
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams
20 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 1'44.549 11.639
shares
comments
US GP qualifying as it happened
Previous article

US GP qualifying as it happened

Next article

Verstappen feared late drizzle would scupper US GP pole chance

Verstappen feared late drizzle would scupper US GP pole chance
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021