Max qualifies sixth for US Grand Prix: 'Bit unfortunate'
Published on 21 October 2023 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen will line up in sixth place for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. In a session that saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claim pole position ahead of Lando Norris (McLaren) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Max briefly looked on course for pole. However, a track limit infringement in the penultimate corner meant the Dutchman’s quickest effort was deleted.
“I knew turn 19 was going to be tricky”, said Max after qualifying. “I made a small mistake in turn one, so I had to really push the rest of the lap. The margins are small. I didn’t even have understeer, I just tried to maximise the corner, but misjudged it slightly. It was a bit unfortunate, but it will make Sunday’s race more interesting.”
The theme throughout the first two segments of qualifying are the ever improving track conditions with the circuit proving quickest during the final moments of the sessions. At the front, Max, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc occupy the first three spots at the end of Q1. At the tail end of the field, the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso are joined in the bottom five by Hulkenberg (Haas) and both Williams drivers Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.
In Q2, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, both AlphaTauri, join the two Alfa Romeos of Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas, as well as Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in the quintet that fail to progress to the final part of qualifying. At the front, Leclerc leads Max and Hamilton to set up a thrilling battle for pole.
In the final part of qualifying, Max is the first to put a marker down. The Dutchman is not entirely happy with the end of the lap, notifying the team that his Red Bull colleague Sergio Perez was too close as the reigning champion navigated his way through the final two turns. Regardless, Max’ first effort is soon bettered by both Leclerc and Hamilton.
Leclerc builds on his first clocked time and is the first of the front runners to start his final flying lap. He improves on his earlier effort and secures provisional pole. Soon after, Max shoots to the top the leaderboards and looks to claim his eleventh pole position of the year. Unfortunately for the Red Bull racer, he has exceeded track limits in turn nineteen, meaning the lap is deleted.
With Lando Norris and Hamilton slotting behind Leclerc on their final laps, the Monegasque claims pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix, with Max lining up in sixth place.
|2||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:35.110||1:35.441||1:34.853|
|6||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:35.346||1:35.008||1:35.081|
|7||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:36.158||1:35.496||1:35.089|
|8||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:36.131||1:35.413||1:35.154|
|9||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:35.989||1:35.679||1:35.173|
|10||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:36.064||1:35.576||1:35.467|
|11||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:35.913||1:35.697|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:36.052||1:35.698|
|13||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:36.082||1:35.858|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:36.009||1:35.880|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:36.213||1:35.974|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:36.235|
|17||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:36.268|
|18||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:36.315|
|19||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:36.589|
|20||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:36.827|