Max Verstappen claimed the pole for the United States Grand Prix Saturday. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images Photo)
Max Verstappen claimed the pole for the United States Grand Prix Saturday. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images Photo)

Verstappen Scores Pole For U.S. Grand Prix

AUSTIN, Texas – Max Verstappen stole the show with a sensational final lap during qualifying to earn the pole for the United States Grand Prix Saturday at Circuit of the Americas.

Verstappen, the Formula 1 championship leader, used a blistering final lap aboard his Red Bull to steal the pole from his title rival Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s best lap of 1:32.910 gave him the pole ahead of Hamilton’s quick lap of 1:33.119. 

“I’m surprised after qualifying today but I’m of course very happy to be on pole,” said Verstappen. “It hasn’t been the easiest of weekends so far for me, I’ve been chasing the balance quite a bit so to pull that lap together in Q3 was of course really satisfying. I’m really pleased with the performance of the whole team today and I’m glad we could finally pull it together for the final lap. We improved the balance and I felt a lot more comfortable in the car today compared to yesterday. To show this pace in quali is positive for the race tomorrow but I still fully expect it to be tough out there, it’s going to be really warm and very hard on the tyres, which will make it more interesting. We just have to focus on ourselves tomorrow, hope for a good clean start and then be as fast as we possibly can.”

Hamilton will start second as he chases his fifth victory at Circuit of the Americas, which would also help him close the six-point deficit he currently has to Verstappen in the fight for the Formula 1 title.

“I gave it everything today. It was a bit of a struggle through qualifying, Red Bull were incredibly quick and from first practice onwards we seemed to fall back slightly in comparison,” Hamilton said. “I was happy with how my last lap in Q3 turned out, of course there are always areas to improve but I think that was pretty much the maximum. The crowd has been absolutely amazing here, so my mindset tomorrow is to win the race and give them all a great show. We’ll have to work as hard as we can, but we’re starting in a good position and I’ll give it my best into turn one as there is an opportunity there. Tire wear is really aggressive here so it will be interesting to see what strategy we can do and that will present opportunities along the way, as well. So today wasn’t my favourite day but we can fight tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez qualified third to give Red Bull two of the first three positions on the grid. Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth, but will start five positions deeper in the field due to a grid penalty. Instead, Charles Leclerc will start fourth for Ferrari, with the second Ferrari driven by Carlos Sainz Jr. lining up fifth.

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