Qualifying in America: Leclerc takes pole, Verstappen P6 due to track limits

The differences over one round are not large

After an unexciting free practice at the Circuit of the Americas, from now on it's really about every session. We continue the GP weekend in America with qualifying for the race on Sunday. Max Verstappen was – of course – the fastest during free practice. Can anyone keep Verstappen from his 31st pole position or will the three-time world champion start at the front on Sunday?


You wouldn't know it from looking outside now, but in Austin – where it is now about 4:15 pm – the sun is still shining brightly. Due to the increasingly hot track, you have the most grip at the end of the session. This means that drivers who cross the line last have an advantage. Hamilton ultimately turns out to be the fastest ahead of Norris and Verstappen.

The biggest disappointment is Aston Martin. After problems in free practice, Alonso and Stroll now take seventeenth and nineteenth. This team was Verstappen's biggest challenger at the start of the season, remember? There now seems to be little left of the team from the initial phase.

Fernando Alonso is out in Q1! ❌ #USGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/WOiOitfVv9

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 20, 2023 ## Q2

The devil - and this will also be the case in Q3 - is once again in the tail of the session. This time Charles Leclerc is the fastest of them all. He is only 0.004 seconds faster than Verstappen. Pérez continues with his heels to the last part of qualifying. The Red Bull is only 0.018 seconds faster than Tsunoda, who is eleventh. Together with him, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Bottas and Zhou drop out.


Verstappen sets his first lap and is furious. In the last corner Pérez is slightly ahead of him. This apparently distracted Verstappen. “Well done,” says Verstappen sarcastically. The 2023 champion is about two tenths slower than Leclerc on the first lap. Verstappen did not lose that time in the last part, but in the second sector. Hamilton is also still under Verstappen's time, but is 0.056 seconds slower than Leclerc.

So Leclerc is the fastest in the final laps, but as you may not know, the final laps are extra important. So it seems to be a battle between Verstappen, Leclerc and Hamilton. Leclerc is the first to set his final lap time. The Ferrari driver takes a tenth off the fastest time. Then it is Verstappen's turn.

Verstappen brakes too deeply at Turn 1 and therefore loses time there. Yet the Red Bull driver is five thousandths of a second below the fastest time. Unfortunately for the Dutch driver, his time is crossed out because he has been off the track. As a result, Verstappen falls back to P6. Teammate Pérez remains in P9.

Hamilton also does not meet Leclerc's time. Norris comes closest with a difference of 0.130 seconds. His teammate, Piastri, disappoints after many good performances. The McLaren driver starts tenth on Sunday. So there is also work to be done for Verstappen, but anyway: nice for us to see Verstappen a little further back.

CHARLES LECLERC ON POLE!!! 👊Norris grabs P2! Hamilton takes P3! WOW! What a mega qualifying session! ✨ #USGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/hTuFbM5y6v

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 20, 2023 ## 2023 American GP qualifying results

Leclerc Norris Hamilton Sainz Russell Verstappen Gasly Ocon Pérez Piastri Tsunoda Zhou Bottas Magnussen Ricciardo Hülkenberg Alonso Albon Stroll Sargeant ## What time does F1 start in America?

SaturdaySprint Shootout: 7:30 PM – 8:14 PM

SundaySprint Race: 12:00 AM – 1:00 AMRace: 9:00 PM