Max Verstappen starts the US Grand Prix from second place, with Carlos Sainz ahead of him in first place. Charles Leclerc was also faster than Verstappen in qualifying, but received a penalty and starts 12th.
It was a huge shock to Max Verstappen’s team, even though Mateschitz had been seriously ill for a while. Shortly before qualifying, team boss Christian Horner praised Mitchitz as a “man in a million”, with a big motorsport heart.
A little later, there should have been a race already, a weekend that goes slowly from a sporting point of view. The first two sessions of free practice were of little value: in the first practice session there were plenty of “beginners” (watch Leclerc, for example) and in the second the new Pirelli tires had to be tested.
The last training was serious. Verstappen set the fastest time in it.
Haas disappointment, fast Ferrari
The first session of qualifying was very exciting for Haas – the American team that runs a race at home in Austin. Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen fell outside the top 15 and thus never made it to the second quarter.
Verstappen set the third fastest time in the first session. Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz were noticeably faster. Verstappen led qualifying knowing that Leclerc had taken a ten-place grid penalty for replacing the combustion engine and turbo.
Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, who is currently second in the World Cup, also received a penalty. Five positions will start again on Sunday.
In the second session, Leclerc was the fastest again, with Verstappen. The struggle for a place in the third session was exciting. In the end, McLaren’s Lando Norris managed to make the coveted tenth time. Zhou Guanyu, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda withdrew.
Several drivers are having a tough time on the racetrack in Austin this weekend. Cars crash into the track and the high curb stones on the asphalt edge are often hit.
Verstappen doesn’t make it
In the third and decisive session, Leclerc was immediately impressed by a solid lead of 1.34.624. On his first attempt on a good lap, Verstappen didn’t come close.
On the final stage, it got exciting: Leclerc improved his time, but saw his teammate Sainz sink just under him. Verstappen led strongly in the first and second divisions, but lost a lot of time in the third.
He was slower than the Ferrari drivers. As a result, Verstappen will start from second on Sunday, ahead of Sainz from first.
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