Carlos Sainz scored the third pole position of his career with the fastest lap in qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The Spaniard beat Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc by just under sevent hundredths of a second with World Champion elect Max Verstappen third. However, with Leclerc set to take a 10-place grid penalty for the race, Verstappen will, start from the front row.
Verstappen was out early in Q1 and the Red Bull driver jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:35.864, three tenths of a second ahead of second-placed team-mate Sergio Pérez. Leclerc then stole top spot with a lap of 1:35.795 as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton moved ahead of Pérez by the small margin of 0.015s. Sainz was a latecomer to the session but the Spanish driver vaulted to the top of the order with a lap 1:35.297.
And at the end of the session, the drivers who lost out in the tussle were Haas’ Kevin Magnussen ion 16thplace, followed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, the second Haas of Mick Schumacher and the 20th-placed Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
At the top, Sainz was fastest followed by team-mate Leclerc and Verstappen progressed in third place. Hamilton held on to fourth place, despite having his last flying lap deleted for a track limits infringement in the penultimate corner, and Pérez went through in P4 ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell.
At the start of Q2, Verstappen took P1 with his opening flying lap of 1:35.294 but Leclerc soon deposed the Red Bull driver, crossing the line 0.048s quicker than the Dutchman. Sainz made his way to P3 ahead of Russell with Pérez.
In the final runs Russell headed out on track and a late improvement pushed the Mercedes driver to fourth place ahead of Hamilton, which left Pérez in sixth ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Eliminated at the end of Q2 were Williams’ Alex Albon, Aston’s Sebastian Vettel, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the second Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu. The Chinese driver thought he’d made it through in P9 but his final time was ruled out for a track limits violation in Turn 12.
Leclerc seized the initiative at the start of Q3 with a time of 1:34.624, 0.159s ahead of Sainz, with Hamilton in third place just under a tenth clear of Verstappen.
Verstappen then left the garage for his final run with four minutes left on the clock, and with a new set of soft tyres on board. The Dutch driver put in the fastest middle sector during his lap, but in the end his lap of 1:34.448 left him third on the timesheet as Sainz scored his third career pole position with a lap of 1:34.356.
Leclerc took second place but the Ferrari driver’s 10-place drop for the race means Verstappen will start the race at COTA from the front row of the grid.
Pérez’s final flyer of 1:34.645 handed him fourth place in qualifying but the Mexican driver is also set to take a penalty of five place. Hamilton qualified in fifth place ahead of Russell and Stroll with Norris in P8 ahead of Alonso and Bottas.
2022 FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:34.356 – –
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.421 0.065 0.069
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:34.448 0.092 0.098
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:34.645 0.289 0.306
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.947 0.591 0.626
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:34.988 0.632 0.670
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:35.598 1.242 1.316
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:35.690 1.334 1.414
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:35.876 1.520 1.611
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:36.319 1.963 2.080
11 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:36.368 2.012 2.132
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:36.398 2.042 2.164
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:36.740 2.384 2.527
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:36.970 2.614 2.770
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:37.147 2.791 2.958
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:36.949 2.593 2.748
17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:37.046 2.690 2.851
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:37.068 2.712 2.874
19 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:37.111 2.755 2.920
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:37.244 2.888 3.061