Carlos Sainz managed to take pole after a sensational duel with Leclerc and Verstappen. Fourth is Perez.
Can oto have been overshadowed throughout the season by Leclerc. But, at COTA the story changed. The Spaniard drove perfectly and took pole straight from both his teammate and Verstappen.
The process was quite difficult because of the of strong winds blowing in the area. They were mainly laterals when passing through the Esses. Thus, every turn was “an adventure” according to poleman Sainz. Excellent performance from Mercedes and especially fromwho finished fifth, behind Perez.
Q1: Unpleasant surprise Ocon
The two Ferraris started very strongly in the first period of qualifying trials. Sainz-Leclerc made it 1-2 with the F1-75 again excellent in the third sector of the track. THEhe was third with Red Bull dominating the second sector.
He also had a very good pace Hamilton, as did Alonso with Alpine. Instead, Ocon didn’t make it to pass to Q2 constituting it first negative surprise of the day. With the Frenchman, the two Haas (tragic three days so far for Mick Schumacher), Ricciardo and Latifi were out.
Q2: Bottas and Norris at the last minute
The Ferraris continued at the same pace and during Q2. This time Leclerc was just 48 milliseconds faster than Verstappen. Third was Sainz and fourth was Russell who for the first time in three days was faster than Hamilton.
Vettel and gasly they were unable to register a time in their first attempts. The German due to exiting at the end of the Esses, the French due to the fact that lost the brakes for the first turn. AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo as well as Norris-Albon would battle for the final spots leading into Q3.
After all theBottas and Norris made it through to Q3. Zhou had initially taken 10th place but his time was disallowed due to a violation of the track limits. With the Chinese, Vettel, Albon and both AlphaTauri would be left out.
Q3: Sainz on the pole straight
Verstappen chose used software for his first attempt. So the two Ferraris comfortably made it 1-2 after the first round of attempts. The first wasdropping below 95 seconds for the first time. Hamilton confirmed Mercedes’ improvement temporarily taking third place. Behind him were the two Red Bulls.
In the second round of attempts Verstappen wore fresh soft drinks. But he still failed to beat the Ferraris. Carlos Sainz gave the best effort of all the drivers and took pole by 65 milliseconds from Leclerc.
Both the Monegasque and Verstappen had bad third sectors in their crucial laps. Perez and Hamilton completed the top five. Of course, the starting order due to the penalties will be different tomorrow. Sainz will normally start from pole. Nevertheless, next to him will be Verstappen, while the two Mercedes will occupy the second starting row. Anyway the battle is expected to be long.
US GP Qualifying Test Results
|3||1||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:35.864||1:35.294||1:34.448|
|4||11||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:36.163||1:35.864||1:34.645|
|7||18||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||1:36.860||1:36.032||1:35.598|
|10||77||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||1:36.746||1:36.321||1:36.319|
|12||5||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||1:36.695||1:36.398|
|14||24||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||1:36.656||1:36.970|
* This is not the final grid as grid penalties are pending for Leclerc, Perez, Alonso and Zhou.
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