United States GP Qualifying: Max Verstappen Steals Pole from the Clutches of Favorite Lewis Hamilton

Published 10/23/2021, 6:03 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying REUTERS/Brian Snyder


Max Verstappen defied the odds against Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez to claim his 7th pole position of the season at Circuit of The Americas. Behind the duo arrived Valtteri Bottas, who will start the United States GP from P9 amidst his impending 5-place grid penalty.

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Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz secured a much-needed P5 and P6 ahead of the rival McLaren duo, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. And ultimately, the AlphaTauri pair of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda closed out the top 10.

How the F1 session unfolded at the United States GP

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Q3- Four-way battle for pole at United States GP

With the winds picking up, the drivers were all set for a much trickier Q3 around COTA. Hamilton and Bottas posted decent lap times, just not decent enough to fend off the threats of Perez and Verstappen. The former posted a blinding lap time of 1:33:180 to go 0.019s quicker than his teammate.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying REUTERS/Brian Snyder

With 3 minutes to go, Perez and Verstappen were the last set of drivers to rejoin the track for the final attempt at securing the pole position. Hence, a twist was always coming over the closing stages of Q3.

Hamilton did secure provisional pole, but it hardly lasted for seconds, as Verstappen snatched the pole from his rival.

Q2- Alpine drivers fail to make it into Q3

As the lights went green, the Mercedes duo rushed onto the track on the yellow-marked tires. Interestingly, neither of them managed to claim the top spot, as Verstappen pulled off a stunner with a 1:33:464. Hamilton ended up over 0.3s behind the Dutchman, while Bottas, over 0.4s.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during qualifying REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Perez did put together a decent enough lap but breached the track limits in doing so. Along with Perez, Ricciardo, too, had his lap time deleted. With 4 minutes left on the clock, both the drivers rushed onto the track for another attempt at setting a lap time.

The Mexican only managed a P7 for Red Bull while Ricciardo placed his McLaren in P9. Ocon, Vettel, Giovinazzi, Alonso and Russell failed to join Ricciardo in the top 10. And this meant that both the AlphaTauri drivers made it into Q3 for the second straight race weekend, with Tsunoda setting his lap time on soft tires.

Q1- Aston Martin F1 driver makes shocking exit

Following the first run, it was Daniel Ricciardo in the lead ahead of Verstappen and Norris, with a 1:34:407. Consequently, both the Mercedes drivers found themselves pushed down to P6 and P7. However, with 6 minutes to go, Verstappen decided to go for another lap on the used soft tires.

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Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during qualifying REUTERS/Mike Blake

And it was the same story with Perez as well, who too, opted for a second lap on the same tires. Hence, the Bulls reclaimed their 1-2 in the session. Leclerc, soon, snatched the lead from the Red Bull duo, as the Monegasque set his lap time on a new set of soft tires.

However, there was a shocker that occurred at the bottom five; Lance Stroll failed to make it into Q2 for the first time since the French GP. Along with the Canadian, Latifi, Raikkonen, Schumacher, and Mazepin, too, exited out of the first part of qualifying at COTA.

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Overall, that was quite an enthralling qualifying session the United States managed to deliver, with the hot weather and the tricky circuit layout further complicating things for the drivers.

Watch Story: Top 5 wins of Max Verstappen’s F1 career

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Rohit Kumar

1461 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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