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United States GP Qualifying: Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton to Austin F1 pole on final lap

Watch Sunday’s race at 8pm live only on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event, with build-up from Austin starting at 6.30pm; Title leader Max Verstappen claims ninth pole position of season, but Lewis Hamilton alongside on front row for long run to Austin’s wide first corner

Last Updated: 23/10/21 11:39pm

Max Verstappen put Red Bull back on the front foot against Mercedes in F1’s gripping title duel by beating Lewis Hamilton to pole position in the final laps of United States GP qualifying.

The title rivals started their final attempts behind an on-form Sergio Perez, who impressively held provisional pole in the second Red Bull, but both ultimately lapped quicker than the Mexican – with Verstappen emerging fastest of all.

With late drizzle falling at the Circuit of the Americas, Verstappen outpaced Hamilton by two tenths of a second with a pole-winning lap of 1:32.910.

It is the first time Mercedes have been beaten to pole in Austin since 2013 and belies recent suggestions that the reigning champions may moved clear of Red Bull on performance.

Separated by just six points in the championship, Verstappen and Hamilton will nonetheless share the front row for the first time in four races and battle for the lead on the long uphill run to Turn One at the Circuit of the Americas when the five red start lights for Sunday’s race go out at 8pm – live only on Sky Sports.

“That is why they are the championship protagonists,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle of the final-lap switch around with Perez. “When they need to they can find something a bit special. That was sensational driving all around.”

Watch how Max Verstappen secured pole position for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

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Watch how Max Verstappen secured pole position for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Watch how Max Verstappen secured pole position for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Although Perez’s hopes of finally landing his maiden F1 pole on his 211th race weekend were dashed at the last, the Mexican can take solace from a strong weekend so far and third place means it is Red Bull who have both their cars in the leading starting positions against one Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas did qualify fourth in the other Mercedes but drops to ninth on the grid owing to yet another engine change penalty, which was confirmed on Friday.

That promotes Charles Leclerc to fourth and his team-mate Carlos Sanz to fifth, with improved Ferrari outqualifying constructors’ rivals McLaren again.

United States GP Qualifying: Top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
4) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes*
5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
7) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
10) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri

*5-place grid penalty
Full Qualifying results

Sebastian Vettel expressed his anger after narrowly avoiding a collision in qualifying ahead of the United States Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel expressed his anger after narrowly avoiding a collision in qualifying ahead of the United States Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel expressed his anger after narrowly avoiding a collision in qualifying ahead of the United States Grand Prix

Drivers with engine penalties this weekend:

  • Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 5 places
  • Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Back of the grid
  • Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Back of the grid
  • George Russell, Williams, Back of the grid

More to follow…




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