Max Verstappen Seals Pole Position With Last Lap Drama At US Grand Prix

By Robert Haile

Formula One has returned to Austin, Texas for the American Grand Prix with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both looking for the next twist in the season.

Sergio Perez missed out on pole position as Verstappen beat Hamilton as Red Bull outnumber Mercedes at the front.

Championship leader and pole sitter Verstappen said: “I’m surprised after qualifying today but I’m of course very happy to be on pole.

“It hasn’t been the easiest of weekends so far for me, I’ve been chasing the balance quite a bit so to pull that lap together in Q3 (qualifying 3) was of course really satisfying.

“I’m really pleased with the performance of the whole Team today and I’m glad we could finally pull it together for the final lap.

“We improved the balance and I felt a lot more comfortable in the car today compared to yesterday.

“To show this pace in quali is positive for the race tomorrow but I still fully expect it to be tough out there, it’s going to be really warm and very hard on the tyres, which will make it more interesting.

“We just have to focus on ourselves tomorrow, hope for a good clean start and then be as fast as we possibly can.”

Heading into the first session of qualifying the home team, Haas went early with Mick Schumacher leading the timing board before the rest went.

As the session finished Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sat top of the pack with both Red Bull’s just behind him.

Going out in the session was Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Williams Nicholas Latifi, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and both Haas’s of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

With another five drivers were eliminated in the second session with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in the unlucky eleventh place as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda made it through at his expense.

Also going out was Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Williams George Russell and Alfa Romeo Antonio Giovinazzi.

The big guns came out to play in the final session with Red Bull and Mercedes battling for pole position.

Red Bull were leading the battle with Sergio Perez ahead of Verstappen and looking at the first their first front row and the first team front since 2014.

In the final seconds Hamilton snatched pole but with Red Bull still to finish could he keep it?

Perez came round and could only take third but Verstappen came and took pole by two tenths of a second.

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth, but will start ninth, with both Ferrari’s behind him as Leclerc beat Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris finished in seventh and eighth as AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly beat Tsunoda to complete the top ten.

Q3 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Lando Norris (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

Q2 – Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), George Russell (Williams), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

Q1 – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nikita Mazepin (Haas)