Max Verstappen maintained his top form all-through to take F1 Qatar GP sprint qualifying ahead of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.
The first part in F1 US GP sprint qualifying saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lead the way with a 1m35.997s lap to be ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Williams’ Alexander Albon, where the Thai went for an extra run to get himself out of SQ1.
His teammate Logan Sargeant did not make it out of SQ1 to end up 20th with a 1m37.186s lap. Joining him were the Haas pair with Nico Hulkenberg (1m36.749s) only 16th ahead of Kevin Magnussen (1m36.922s) with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas (1m36.922s) in 18th.
Both the Dane and Finn set the same lap time, as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda (1m36.945s) was 19th from Sargeant. The Japanese was noted for impeding Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton as they almost collided in the final part of the circuit but it was cleared.
Tsunoda was involved in a group of cars noted for not going by the delta time given by the FIA which also had Albon, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Mercedes’ George Russell, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Russell was also noted for impeding Leclerc.
The second part in F1 US GP sprint qualifying saw Verstappen keep the top spot with a 1m35.181s lap as he also had a moment on his second run. He did a 360 at Turn 9-10 but managed to save himself to get going to pit.
He led the Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the Top 3 as both the Aston Martin cars failed to make it out of SQ2. Fernando Alonso was 12th with a 1m36.087s lap behind AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m35.978s), who did well in 11th.
Having done well on Friday, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1m36.137s) was 13th from Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (1m36.181s), who had a big lock-up moment towards the end, while Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu (1m36.182s) rounded out the 15 runners.
There were more drivers noted regarding the FIA’s maximum delta time with Stroll, Albon, Guanyu, Piastri, Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris on the list.
Ahead of the start of the final part in F1 US GP sprint qualifying, the FIA noted about widening the white line on the outside of Turn 9, Turn 12 and Turn 19 after consultation. It was done to give drivers a bit of extra margin at these corners.
Verstappen maintained his top spot with a 1m34.538s lap to secure F1 US GP sprint qualifying ahead of Leclerc (1m34.593s) and Hamilton (1m34.607s). The Monegasque missed out by just the 0.055s margin with the Brit only 0.069s behind.
The McLaren pair of Norris (1m34.639s) and Piastri (1m34.894s) slotted in fourth and fifth, with Sainz (1m34.939s) in sixth from Perez (1m35.041s), Russell (1m35.199s), Albon (1m35.366s) and Gasly (1m35.897s) in the Top 10.
UPDATE: Following the impeding case, Russell has been handed a 3-place grid drop for impeding Leclerc. It is for the next sprint or main race he will take part. Since it is a sprint race first up, the Brit will drop three places to 11th which helps Albon, Gasly and Ricciardo gain one position.