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 line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Prime

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months.

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
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