Max Verstappen responded to a bold lap from title rival Lewis Hamilton to take pole position at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas in front of an ecstatic 120,000 sell-out crowd…
Verstappen looked quick in final practice – his Red Bull team appearing to have made big gains overnight – and carried that through to qualifying, where he absorbed pressure from Hamilton to take pole with a 1m32.910s.
Mercedes came to Austin having taken every pole during the hybrid turbo era, which began in 2014, but they looked to have lost their edge early in qualifying, with Hamilton 0.399s off the pace in Q2.
Somehow, Hamilton found more pace in the final runs of Q3, and was a quarter of a second up after two sectors, but lost time in the third, and while he took provisional pole by a fraction, Verstappen was running quicker behind him.
FORMULA 1 ARAMCO UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 2021
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:32.910|
|2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||1:33.119|
|3 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:33.134|
|4 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||1:33.475|
|5 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||1:33.606|
Despite light rain starting to fall in the final few seconds, Verstappen kept his foot in and carried the momentum through the final sequence of corners to take pole, with his team mate Sergio Perez third.
The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fourth, however he’ll drop to ninth courtesy of a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his engine allocation. That’ll promote Charles Leclerc one place to fourth, the Ferrari driver edging out team mate Carlos Sainz.
Daniel Ricciardo was the leading McLaren in eighth, ahead of team mate Lando Norris, with AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda closing out the top 10.