Carlos Sainz claimed pole position for Formula 1’s 2022 US Grand Prix by beating his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s newly-crowned double world champion Max Verstappen.
After finding himself within 0.1-seconds of pole on four occasions in 2022, Sainz pulled it off to top F1 qualifying for the second time in his career after overcoming Leclerc’s Q3 run one advantage by 0.065s.
Leclerc’s initial best time in the final segment was a 1m34.624s that gave him the top spot provisionally ahead of Sainz, with Lewis Hamilton third after a blistering middle sector and Verstappen only fourth.
The Dutchman tried a unique Q3 strategy of completing an additional slow preparation lap for his final Q3 flier, but he could not top the Ferrari pair after losing time in the slow corners in the final sector and finished 0.092s adrift.
Leclerc, who will drop 10 places on the grid for taking extra engine parts at Austin, led the way of the four initial Q3 leaders and he improved the first place benchmark to a 1m34.421s, but Sainz, following just behind his teammate topped that with a 1m34.356s.
Verstappen’s effort was enough to dislodge Hamilton from third as the Mercedes driver could not better his first Q3 time and the Briton failing to improve opened the door for Sergio Perez to slot in ahead too, which the Mexican driver did with a personal best set while running a few seconds ahead of the Ferrari pair.
Behind Hamilton came his teammate George Russell, with Lance Stroll seventh despite only completing one run in Q3 – offset from the rest after they had initially completed runs at the start of the final segment and while Verstappen was beginning his extra preparation tour.
Alonso and Perez will drop five places from where they qualified for also taking additional power unit parts outside the permitted season-long allocation.
In Q2, which Leclerc topped after Sainz had led the way in Q1, Alex Albon led the pack through the final Q2 runs and set a personal best to leap into the top 10 before three of his rivals improving late on shuffled him back to 11th and out.
Sebastian Vettel lost his best lap from early in Q2 to understeering off and beyond track limits exiting Turn 9 at the end of the Esses sequence, but he did enough with his final effort to climb to 12th, albeit without troubling Q3.
Then came Pierre Gasly, struggling with braking for the second weekend in a row – particularly at the big stops of Turn 1 and Turn 11 – and letting AlphaTauri know his fury.
Zhou Guanyu ended up ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in 14th and 15th, but only because both lost their best Q2 laps and were relegated to the back of the runners knocked out in that segment – Zhou, who will lose drop five places on the grid, ahead because his banker effort was better.
Tsunoda slipped beyond track limits at Turn 9, while Zhou’s indiscretion came at Turn 12 and cost him a spot in the top 10 that gave Norris a late reprieve after he had initially ended up 11th in Q2.
In Q1, Kevin Magnussen was shuffled back to 15th and out by Albon’s late improvement, the Haas driver ending up ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, out in Q1 for the third time in the last five races.
Esteban Ocon was a shock faller in 18th, finishing only ahead of Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi – who were the only two runners not to set personal bests on their final fliers.
Latifi just failed to match his best from the opening Q1 runs, while Schumacher’s last effort was over when it had barely begun as he spun at Turn 1.
The German looped his Haas around in a quick 360° spin, the rear coming around to the right as he applied the power down past the apex of the bumpy, up/down hairpin that starts the Austin lap.
|Cla||Driver||Car / Engine||Time||Delay|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1’34.448||0.092|
|5||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’35.598||1.242|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’36.319||1.963|
|8||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1’34.645||0.289|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’36.398||2.042|
|11||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||1’36.740||2.384|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||1’37.147||2.791|
|19||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’36.970||2.614|