While Max Verstappen only starts the race from sixth place in Austin on Sunday, the newly crowned three-time world champion can look forward to pole position in the Sprint Shootout.
However, the Dutchman, who did not set the fastest time in any section of Q3, had to fight hard for the top spot. In the end, 55 thousandths decided on places one and two.
The Red Bull star set the fastest lap with a time of 1:34.538 minutes. Charles Leclerc lined up behind him.
The Sprint Shootout podium was completed by Lewis Hamilton. The record world champion’s clock stopped after 1:34.607 minutes.
Lando Norris, who starts the sprint from fourth place, was only 32 thousandths slower. “I felt better in the car, but I just didn’t have enough speed compared to the others,” said the McLaren driver.
Penalty for Russell – Hülkenberg experiences disappointment
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was given a three-place grid penalty after the sprint shootout for impeding Leclerc. This means he only starts from eleventh place.
The Ferrari star had already predicted or demanded this punishment immediately afterwards and radioed: “And a penalty for Mr. Russell.”
Nico Hülkenberg, whose Haas team arrived at the home race with a major update on the car and high hopes, also experienced another disappointment.
As in qualifying for the main race on Sunday, the German only managed 16th place on the grid. Teammate Kevin Magnussen also failed in Q1 in 17th place.
Formula 1: Marko praise and Verstappen warning
“The car worked well. It was an exciting afternoon,” Verstappen described after the sprint shootout Sky the result, but added caution: “But we don’t know what will happen in the sprint.”
He received praise for his lap from Helmut Marko. “A fault-free lap without track limits and the like,” said the 80-year-old. However, the RB star can do better. “It wasn’t an ideal round, but it was enough.”
Verstappen had set the fastest time in qualifying on Friday, but because he crossed the track barrier he only managed sixth place behind pole-sitter Leclerc.
The Dutchman also made an unusual mistake in the sprint shootout. When he spun in Q2, Verstappen flew off the track, but avoided an impact and was able to continue the session.
Verstappen has to defend himself against Leclerc
At midnight German time, the sprint polesitter is probably a bit smarter. Then the sprint start takes place (in SPORT1-Live ticker) and Verstappen has to defend himself against Leclerc in second place.
The drivers then duel for the first points in Austin for 19 laps.
With Sports Information Service (SID)