United States Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz takes pole ahead of Max Verstappen, Mercedes on second row

The best scenario. Carlos Sainz won his third career pole position on Saturday in Austin, without benefiting from the demotion of his teammate, Charles Leclerc. After a lap in 1’34″256, snatched at the very end of Q3, the Spaniard from Ferrari beat the Monegasque by 0″065 and will not be a second-hand poleman.

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It could have been, given the 10-place penalty left to the other Scuderia driver for a new out-of-limit engine element change set for the season (V6 and turbo), but it was not. left room for doubt.

“I’ve been waiting for this pole for a while after coming close to getting it several times”, he confessed hotly to former Indycar driver Danica Patrick. Sunday, at 2 p.m. local, 9 p.m. French, he will be the Scuderia’s best asset in the race for this victory which the Reds so badly need to end the season on an optimistic note.

The Mercedes in the second row

Likewise, the Iberian, who has already started at the top of the grid this season at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, an incapable Max Verstappen of spinning towards a new victory more than ever within his reach because it is only due to a difficult sector 3 that the double world champion lost, for 0 “092. A failure, a frustration even that the Dutchman could not suppress by banging his fists on his steering wheel crossing the timing line, before to explain more calmly on the radio: “I was running out of pneumatic potential”.

Grouped in less than a tenth, this trio let the rest of the outsiders compete for the runners-up. Once again behind, Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) turned 0″289 from the best “rossa” and will not take advantage of his fourth time because he was penalized with a loss of five places on the grid for the installation of a new V6. As a result, it is the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who will be on the second row, despite lap times of 0″591 and 0″632.

Gasly 13th, Ocon 18th

The six drivers from the three best teams on the grid in the top 6 for the fourth time this season after Montmelo, Zandvoort and Monza, Lance Stroll therefore had some merit in raising his Aston Martin to seventh place, and finally to fifth place. from the grid due to the penalties given to Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez. For only the third time this season in Q3 after Miami and Zandvoort, author of his best 2022 qualification, the Canadian will start on Sunday with Lando Norris (McLaren) at his side, while Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) line up in the fourth row.

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Alexander Albon (Williams) associated in the fifth row, it is therefore necessary to consult the second part of the classification to find Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri). Thirteenth, the Frenchman did not hide his annoyance at the insufficient brake temperatures which resurfaced just two weeks after Suzuka. At least he knows where his problems come from, which is not the case for his future teammate at Alpine, Esteban Ocon, 18th and without response to the non-competitiveness of his A522 this weekend.

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