–by Mark Cipolloni–
Before a big crowd for a Friday at Circuit of Americas, Charles Leclerc turned a lap of 1m34.723s to win the pole for Sunday’s 2023 USGP.
Max Verstappen was fastest but had his lap deleted for going wide in Turn 19 and dropped to 6th position, while Leclerc gave Ferrari the pole for the 2nd year in a row.
Verstappen’s last lap would have been good enough for pole to the tune of five thousandths of a second. But he ran wide and lost the time.
“As a team, we did a great job, said Leclerc.
“We had a good, clean FP1 and started with a strong base. I was happy throughout qualifying, the last lap there were a few mistakes here and there, but really happy overall. I love this track, I love this vibe so it is great to be here.”
Lando Norris will start 2nd for McLaren, 0.130s behind the Ferrari.
“I’m happy, it’s been a good day,” said Norris.
“Probably not expected, so a good bonus for the whole team. I think we had it today, there was enough in it to get pole so it’s a bit of a shame – another opportunity missed again. We’re in a good position, it will be difficult to get [Leclerc] off the line but I’ll go for it.”
Lewis Hamilton will start 3rd in the upgraded Mercedes, 0.139s back in what was a very close qualifying.
“This circuit is just incredible, it’s one of my favorites,” said Hamilton.
“It’s bumpy, incredibly challenging. We’ve improved our car and we have taken a bit of a step closer to these guys, they are still a bit ahead so we’ll give it another go tomorrow.”
Last year’s pole winner, Carlos Sainz Jr. , was 4th fastest, 0.22s behind.
George Russell, who had his first lap deleted in Q3, was 5th best on his 2nd run, 0.356s behind.
Verstappen will have a chance to make up for that mistake tomorrow in the Shootout, which is the next session on track. But he will have a difficult time of it come Sunday, with plenty of quality drivers to pick off if he wants a third straight US Grand Prix victory.
“It makes the Sunday a bit more fun”
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 21, 2023
|1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1m36.061s||1m35.004s||1m34.723s|
|2||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1m35.110s||1m35.441s||1m34.853s|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas||1m35.091s||1m35.240s||1m34.862s|
|4||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1m35.824s||1m35.302s||1m34.945s|
|5||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas||1m36.165s||1m35.606s||1m35.079s|
|6||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m35.346s||1m35.008s||1m35.081s|
|7||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m36.158s||1m35.496s||1m35.089s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m36.131s||1m35.413s||1m35.154s|
|9||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Bull Racing||1m35.989s||1m35.679s||1m35.173s|
|10||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1m36.064s||1m35.576s||1m35.467s|
|11||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m35.913s||1m35.697s||–|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||1m36.052s||1m35.698s||–|
|13||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||1m36.082s||1m35.858s||–|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m36.009s||1m35.880s||–|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m36.213s||1m35.974s||–|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m36.235s||–||–|
|17||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||1m36.268s||–||–|
|18||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||1m36.315s||–||–|
|19||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||1m36.589s||–||–|
|20||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||1m36.827s||–||–|