- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Max Verstappen takes pole by 0.2s ahead of Hamilton
Sergio Perez third for Red Bull
Billy Joel entertained the Circuit of the Americas crowds with some of his old hits as Formula 1 partied like it was 2019 in Texas last night. Piano Man. Uptown Girl. But it’s Lewis Hamilton who is going to have to start a fire today after being pipped to pole for the United States Grand Prix by title rival Max Verstappen.
Hamilton will line up second on the grid alongside the man he trails by six points in what continues to be an enthralling drivers’ championship. And it promises to be a cracker of a race, with the seven-time world champion the filling in a Red Bull sandwich with Sergio Perez, much to the crowd’s delight, producing an excellent qualifying performance and even holding provisional pole for a while. The Mexican will start third.
Nor can Hamilton expect team-mate Valtteri Bottas to do much to help - at least initially - with the Finn dropping from fourth on the grid to ninth thanks to his engine change on Friday.
Hamilton is going to have to do it on his own. And he said he would do his best, smiling in his post-race interviews and saying his mindset was 100 percent to win. But his disappointed voice at the end of qualifying, saying “Sorry” to his team, told its own story.
Mercedes had been expected to have a slight edge at the Circuit of the Americas and they certainly began the weekend with a dominant showing in first practice. But Hamilton said he felt the team had “gone backwards” since then, struggling with the car’s setup in the remaining practice sessions. And he never looked truly comfortable in qualifying.
Red Bull suffered a late scare when they spotted a crack on Verstappen’s rear wing just before qualifying, deciding to “beef up” both cars just prior to the session in the words of team principal Christian Horner. But they always appeared to have the edge.
Hamilton was only able to go eighth fastest in Q1, although he was on a used set of rubber. And while the seven-time world champion upped the ante in Q2, producing the second quickest time, he still found himself more than three tenths off the pace of Verstappen.
And it was much the same story in Q3, Hamilton managed to produce a decent final lap to take provisional pole but even with some spots of rain falling - just to add a bit more drama to proceedings - Verstappen was able to go two tenths quicker.
“I gave it everything today,” Hamilton insisted. “I think from first practice onwards we fell back a little bit. But I was happy with my final lap. I think that was pretty much everything I had. We’re in a good position on the front row at least. My mindset is to win the race and to give these guys the best race possible.”
Verstappen, meanwhile, said he felt he could have extracted even more. “Yeah, it was quite exciting out there,” he said. “In Q3 my first lap wasn’t amazing. But then in my final lap it started spitting in the final sector especially. But to be P1 and P3 on the grid I think is a very strong performance.”
Asked about the likelihood of some wheel-to-wheel action with Hamilton lining up alongside him, Verstappen smiled. “I guess that’s what people like. We have to have a good start and then work together as a team to get the best possible result.”
It certainly promises to be a thrilling race, with Ferrari and McLaren looking competitive as well.
Further back, Williams’ George Russell fell to 15th when his only lap time in Q2 was deleted. The young Briton starts from the back of the grid in any case due to an engine change earlier in the weekend. But there should be some great racing all the way down the grid on a track that usually provides some decent action.
After 18 months of what has sometimes felt rather like Formula 1 ‘Lite’, it feels as if the sport is getting the full-fat treatment again out here. Bumper crowds of 120,000 on Friday and again Saturday have given this weekend real energy and more than 140,000 are expected to pack the grandstands in Texas today.
Mercedes will have to figure out why they have gone backwards over the course of the weekend if Hamilton wants to avoid leaving the Lone Star state with a bigger deficit than he went in with. He admitted to being a little mystified. “I don’t know why we’re struggling. [The weekend] started off good. It felt good in P1 and then bit by bit they got faster and I don’t know if we’ve got slower but it’s been a real struggle with the car. Partly that might be the heat in the tyres, but that’s the same for everyone. I don’t know.”
US Grand Prix, positions after qualifying
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
Esteban Ocon, Alpine
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
Fernando Alonso, Alpine
George Russell, Williams
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
Mick Schumacher, Haas
Nikita Mazepin, Haas
Qualifying, as it happened
Okay, that's it from me this evening
Thanks for joining me today.
I'll be back tomorrow with all the build-up to the race, and of course the race itself. Here we go again...
Two against one for Red Bull tomorrow, that could be crucial
Bottas drops back to ninth after his grid penalty. Might not be crucial, though. Verstappen and Hamilton could take each other out again...
James Allison of Mercedes speaks to Sky Sports F1
We had reasonably high hopes after FP1. FP2 was a bit more of a struggle. It's not been easy. We were running in qualifying very similar set-ups to where we started in FP1. I think probably a bit more of Red Bull having a stronger weekend of development than we did.
Good effort from Daniel Ricciardo today
Roughly a tenth ahead of Lando Norris. A lot of the season he has been 0.2-0.4s off in qualifying. Maybe that run in the Nascar geed him up.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 23, 2021
Christian Horner speaks to Sky Sports F1
Yesterday the setup we arrived at the track with was a little bit out. You can see their confidence has grown and grown. We were debating at one point whether the medium would be the better tyre for Q3.
On Sergio Perez's performance:
We know Checo races so well. Qualifying has been his struggle this year. It's the first time we've got two cars against one. It's the first time in the hybrid era anyone other than Mercedes has taken pole here. So it's another milestone.
Hamilton on his second place
I gave it everything today. It was a struggle through qualifying. From P1 on we fell back. I think that was pretty much everything we had. It's good positioning for tomorrow.
Mindset is to win the race and to give these guys the best race they've seen.
Sergio Perez on his third place
He gets an amazing reception. This is only Texas. What is it going to be like in Mexico in two weeks' time?
Unfortunately my final attempt wasn't as good throughout the lap. I wasn't able to just keep it progressively. I think the rain hit me a bit hard in the final sector. Tomorrow it's a very long race. The qualifying position is not too relevant.
Verstappen reacts to pole position
In the final lap it started spitting. I was not sure if I was going to hang onto my lap time but it was enough. To be P1 and P3 as a team is a very strong performance. From here onwards we hope to have a good start and work together as a team.
Q3 - Top 10
MAX VERSTAPPEN TAKES POLE POSITION FOR THE 2021 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
That was another gripping session. Verstappen looked on it all session. The Red Bull just looked the faster car. Verstappen first, Hamilton second, Perez third. That is a tasty line-up in that uphill run towards turn one tomorrow.
VERSTAPPEN GOES QUICKEST!
0.209s quicker than Hamilton!
Only Perez can beat Verstappen to pole... but he doesn't have the pace this time.
Third for the Mexican. He almost got Hamilton. But not quite...
Q3 - Hamilton takes provisional pole!
By just 0.061s!
Verstappen is in sector two now... Perez is also on a quick lap...
Have they got the pace?
Perez is 0.069s off after two sectors...
Verstappen is there or thereabouts.
Leclerc into fifth. Ricciardo in seventh ahead of Norris.
What can Verstappen do?!
Q3 - What does Hamilton do in the first sector?
He's 0.009s up on Verstappen... Bottas is a tenth off, as he was before...
Sector two Bottas is 0.156s off Verstappen. And Hamilton? He's 0.274s up on Verstappen!
Is this on? I think this is on...
Verstappen quickest of anyone in sector one...
Q3 - Perez is behind Verstappen again
Not sure how much the tow would have been worth but perhaps the difference that exists currently...
Norris is warned about rain but it looks pretty fine out there at the moment.
Bottas and Hamilton again a long way ahead on the track of the other cars, so Red Bull will be setting their lap times a good 30-40 seconds later. If not more. That doesn't always happen.
Q3 - Hamilton being behind Bottas is not great
But Bottas takes a five-place grid penalty so it wouldn't disadvantage him on the grid. That said the Mercedes seems to be lacking in pace compared to the Red Bull. Can't think that Hamilton is hiding his pace here, but he might have some to find.
Q3 - Order and gaps after the first runs
Q3 - What can Verstappen do?
He's pushing! He goes quickest by 0.276s ... but Sergio Perez goes even quicker! By 0.019s! Both get huge cheers! Plenty of cheers from the presumably thousands of Mexicans here in Texas.
Perez got the tow from Verstappen on the first run which I thought was a bit odd. Wonder if they might switch that for the second run.
Q3 - Bottas goes quickest
Hamilton posted a 1:33.564 but Bottas beats that by 0.089s. Norris is over half a second off that and is soon been beaten by his team-mate Ricciardo.
Verstappen quickest in sector one...
Q3 - First runs underway
Hamilton posts a 25.013 in the first sector... Bottas is a tenth off that. Norris is about level with Hamilton...
The Red Bulls are a little further behind on track...
It's a 37.460 for Hamilton in sector two... Bottas is two-tenths quicker in that sector.
Q3 - "Confirming wind has picked up"
That's the message to Hamilton.
GREEN LIGHT: Q3 BEGINS
12 minutes. One pole-sitter. Who will it be?
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 23, 2021
Can Hamilton pull this one out of the bag?
It's looking like Verstappen and Red Bull have the advantage at the moment...
Q2 - Top 10
Q2 ENDS - VERSTAPPEN QUICKEST
Q2 - Vettel does not improve enough
He's out. Russell is out, his lap was only good enough for 13th. He also has a grid penalty along with Alonso and Vettel. So no real problem. Russell actually has his lap deleted, so will start behind Alonso and Vettel tomorrow.
Q2 - Ricciardo looking a bit quicker than Perez here
Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc and Bottas are all staying in their garages. They think they are safe - and they most likely are.
Ricciardo ninth then, 1.179s off Verstappen. Is he going to make it through with that time? He's going to struggle...
Alonso I think was trying to give his team-mate a tow, hence a very slow lap. He takes an engine penalty. Ocon is out, Giovinazzi is out.
Can Vettel get through?
Q2 - Perez only seventh
0.714s off Verstappen. That's not too hot, actually. Might have some extra fuel in, though. Who knows... we will find out if he does a recharge lap and then another lap.
Ricciardo begins his hot lap.
Two minutes to go.
Q2 - Perez 0.194s off Verstappen in sector one
Absolutely just needs to get the lap in. Can't risk not getting a lap in here. Think he he gets within half a second of Verstappen then he should be okay. He's 0.443s off Verstappen after two sectors.
Q2 - Perez out there again
And he's on a set of mediums which I assume must be fresh. That might leave him short of options tomorrow, though not sure if it will be a one stop race or a two-stop race.
Q2 - Why Perez's lap was deleted
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 23, 2021
Q2 - Order after the first runs
PER (no time)
RIC (no time)
RUS (no time)
VET (no time)
GIO (no time)
Sainz, Tsunoda, Alonso, Russell, Vettel and Giovinazzi all on the softs.
Q2 - Ricciardo also has a lap deleted
Did not stray by far but there is a line and he went over it.
Q2 - Verstappen goes quickest
Hamilton takes a tenth or so out of his team-mate but then comes Verstappen who is 0.333s quicker! That's a mighty lap.
Perez initially goes fourth but has his lap deleted for a track limits infringement. Far from ideal.
Norris into third, knocking Leclerc into fourth. Norris's lap time within a tenth of Hamilton's. And on the same compound tyre.
Q2 - Okay, let's see what they've got
Verstappen has nearly three tenths on Hamilton in sector one alone. Perez is a couple of tenths off Verstappen.
Bottas posts a 1:33.959 first up but I can't think that will be the case for long...
Q2 - Tyre strategies
Looks like most of the frontrunners (Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari) have gone for the mediums. Though Sainz on the softs. Ocon also on the mediums. Would be advantageous to start the race tomorrow on them.
GREEN LIGHT: Q2 BEGINS
15 minutes to go. 15 drivers in and five drivers out.
Christian Horner speaking to S
The guys did a great job. We spotted a crack on Max's car... we've just taken the precaution. The guys have managed to beef up both cars.
I think they felt they needed to so they went again on the scrubs. We know that they've got pace in hand and they are going to be a factor in the next two sessions. We know Lewis is incredibly quick around here. We know their car is very quick around here so it's going to be a very tight session.
Q1 - Top 15
All of these drivers make it through to Q2.
Q1 ENDS - LECLERC QUICKEST
Here's who did not make it through:
Q1 - Final runs underway
Raikkonen does not improve and stays 18th. Leclerc goes quickest of anyone by two-tenths. Latifi only just gets himself out of the elimination zone, but Ocon, in 16th could knock him out... it's not a brilliant lap so far... but he goes 13th and eliminates Latifi.
Alonso into 14th, so he's through to Q2 most likely. Lance Stroll is out, though. Not by an enormous amount but that's not great. Vettel was 10th.
Q1 - YELLOW FLAG
Someone has had a spin, it's an Alfa Romeo. Hamilton, after two sectors, is 0.238s off Verstappen's best time. So probably should improve his lap time but no guarantee. He's on used tyres, however.
Hamilton, previously in seventh, moves up to sixth...
Q1 - Two mins remain
Hamilton and Bottas lingering down the order a bit. They have only done one run. I expect an improvement here.
Q1 - Updated Top 10
Alonso, Latifi, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Mazepin in the drop zone, the final two of those have yet to set a proper time.
Q1 - Perez does another hot lap
And he goes into second place, 0.017s off Verstappen's time. That's decent.
Q1 - Verstappen on another hot lap
On the same set of tyres, actually. He's going quite well but will the tyres hold on in the final sector?
Looked quite lazy into the final turn but he does go quickest, by 0.055s.
Q1 - Top 10 so far
Alonso, Latifi, Schumacher, Raikkonen and Mazepin in the drop zone.
Q1 - Where does Ricciardo finish up?
Can he challenge top spot? Yes! Quickest. 0.114s quicker than Verstappen. Norris into third, 0.144s off his team-mate...
Sainz into fourth, 0.151s off Ricciardo.
Q1 - Hamilton only fourth
0.276s off Verstappen's quickest time. Bottas third, 0.138s off Verstappen.
Ricciardo goes quickest in sector one and is 0.311s up after two sectors. That's handy indeed....
Q1 - Bottas 0.065s off Verstappen after two sectors
Hamilton a long way off that nearly three-tenths off at the same point. Not sure if he encountered some traffic because that is an age.
Q1 - Verstappen and Perez on their hot laps
Verstappen goes quickest in all three sectors and is 0.760s quicker than Leclerc. Sergio Perez isn't too far behind - just 0.054s. Has looked in good form so far in practice. He needs a good qualifying (for once).
Bottas and Hamilton on their hot laps now.
Q1 - Charles Leclerc will be setting a lap 'early'
Earlier than his rivals, that is. Let's see what the early benchmark is. Mazepin is the first man to set a time, with a 1:37.894 but Mick Schumacher soon beats that by 0.653s.
Leclerc will probably be a good two seconds inside of that given how he is currently going. Yep. Almost. 1.960s quicker than Schumacher (Mazepin had his lap deleted) and seven-tenths quicker than Stroll in second.
Q1 - 16 mins left
Tremendous turnout again on Saturday.
— Philip Duncan (@PhilDuncanF1) October 23, 2021
Fantastic to see so many people there, especially given how hard a nut to crack America has been for F1.
Q1 - 17 mins remain
Lance Stroll questions why he went out so early. He's out with the Haas cars which is unusual. He's told it's just to avoid the traffic. But it doesn't always work like that.
GREEN LIGHT: Q1 BEGINS
20 drivers in, five will go out. It lasts 18 minutes. Here we go...
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 23, 2021
Just five minutes to go
Predictions? I think there will be less than a tenth of a second between Verstappen and Hamilton. Hamilton has such good form on this track, though. Verstappen has rarely been in a car good enough to win, if ever, though. I think something like this will be the final top six.
Apparently risk of rain for this session is 40 per cent. Interesting.
Last-minute work at Red Bull...
Lots of work going on at Red Bull to reinforce the rear wings after the crack they saw in FP3.
Going to be a few crossed fingers as they head around this bumpy track for the race tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/yvtRcsk4Ii
— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) October 23, 2021
Speaking of Williams drivers
I've also been quietly impressed with Latifi's improvement this season.
Russell went over the limit a little in final practice
Chance of him making Q3 today? I think he might just fall short. What a season it has been from him, especially on Saturdays.
Who holds the edge over the remaining races?
Including this race there are six left. Tom Cary had an in-depth look at how it might pan out, given each car's relative strengths. Read his piece here.
Current constructor standings
Would put it 65-35 in Mercedes' favour at the moment. Not an enormous gap but I think Bottas could have the better of Perez in the race for the second drivers.
Looking likely that Williams will finish eighth, too. A big boon for a team that has fallen on hard times.
This is quite cool...
Daniel Ricciardo was promised a drive in Dale Earnhardt Sr's Nascar by Zac Brown (who owns it) if he finished on the podium this season. And here he is, giving it a demo run.
'Stupid idiot!': Max Verstappen blasts Lewis Hamilton - hours after claiming pair had buried hatchet
Max Verstappen labelled title rival Lewis Hamilton a "stupid idiot" on Friday, flicking the Mercedes man the middle finger as the two drivers went wheel-to-wheel in practice for Sunday's United States Grand Prix.
Verstappen, who leads the drivers' championship by just six points from Hamilton with six races remaining, had insisted just hours earlier that they had buried the hatchet following a series of high-profile clashes this season.
There are an awful lot of grid penalties this weekend
Fernando Alonso will take a new power unit, so will start from the back of the grid. Williams' George Russell and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin will also be there, too, for similar reasons. Valtteri Bottas won't be at the back entirely but has taken a new Internal Combustion Engine, so will be hit with a five-place grid penalty for his troubles.
Earlier in the weekend Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said it was up in the air whether Hamilton would need to take another engine penalty before the end of the season. It's a tight line that needs to be negotiated between results, penalties and power and performance.
The progression of the championship battles, race-by-race
Who will be leading in a little over 24 hours' time?
Current driver standings: Top 12
Final times after third practice
Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:34.701
Carlos Sainz Jr (Spa) Ferrari. 1:34.805
Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:34.912
Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:34.945
Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:34.988
Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:35.219
Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:35.345
Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:35.398
Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:35.688,
Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:35.711
Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:35.851
George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:36.023
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:36.062
Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:36.118
Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:36.252
Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:36.392
Fernando Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:36.490
Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:36.572
Mick Schumacher (Ger) Haas F1 1:36.671
Nikita Mazepin (Raf) Haas F1 2:03.456
Good evening F1 fans
It feels like a long time since I've been able to write that, for those of you in Europe. After nearly two years, we have a race in the Americas once again. And, does it not feel great that the Circuit of the Americas in Austin will feature once more? It is such a fantastic track and, going by the attendance on Friday practice alone (over 100,000), it feels like the United States Grand Prix has finally found its home after decades trying to really find one, at least one that worked. Is that the Drive to Survive effect?
As they have been for the past handful of races, there is very little to separate championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen leads by just six points with six rounds remaining. Coming into this weekend the though (though it was far from a consensus) was that the Mercedes should have the edge over the Red Bull. Has that been the case from the three practice sessions we've seen so far? Well, once again, who knows? There has been little to separate Hamilton and Verstappen and even Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas look closely matched.
Of course, there's a chance that Hamilton or Verstappen may find an extra couple of tenths in qualifying and secure pole position, but it looks like it will come down to the skills of the drivers again. Perez was quickest in final practice for Red Bull but how representative will that be? It's hard to say, given that both Verstappen and Hamilton had quick laps deleted for track limits infringements. Might that even decide who gets pole? It has been that kind of season.
Further down the field it looks like McLaren and Ferrari could get in the mix at the front again. I wouldn't be surprised if Lando Norris qualified on the second row. Carlos Sainz is having an excellent season for the Scuderia, too, might he put in a surprise performance? Though, really, how much of a surprise would it really be?
Qualifying gets under way at 10pm BST and we will be here for all of it.