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Max Verstappen edges Lewis Hamilton for US GP pole + FINAL starting grid & start time

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Oct 24, 2021

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stormed to pole position for the US Grand Prix on Saturday, edging out title rival and Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton in front of an estimated crowd of 120 000 people.

The race itself will start at 21:00 SA time on Sunday.

Where will you be watching the #USGP? #F1 pic.twitter.com/jzuBfEX4kK

— Formula 1 (@F1) October 24, 2021

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Max Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by six points in the championship race, claimed his ninth pole of 2021 with a time of 1:32.910, just two tenths faster than the British driver.

Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull, was third, only 0.15 behind Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas, in the other Mercedes, was fourth quickest, but will drop to ninth on the gird for Sunday’s race after changing his engine.

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“In Q3 my first lap wasn’t amazing but in the final lap it started drizzling in the final sector so I wasn’t sure if I could hold on to my lap time but it came together,” said Verstappen.

On Sunday, organisers say the crowd figure at the Circuit of the Americas will swell to 140 000 to see Verstappen and Hamilton go head-to-head and side-by-side.

“I guess that’s that people like,” said the Dutch driver.

“From here onwards we hope to have a good start and work together as a team and have the best possible result.”

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Hamilton has won five of the eight races held at the Austin track since its 2012 debut.

He also wrapped up world titles at the Texan circuit in 2015 and 2019.

Bottas was victorious once, in the last event held in 2019, before the 2020 race was dropped from the schedule due to the pandemic.

Verstappen has finished fourth, third and second.

“I gave it everything today – it was a bit of a struggle through qualifying,” said Hamilton. 

“I think from P1 onwards we kind of fell back a little bit and the Red Bull guys were incredibly quick.

He added: “I was happy with my last lap, of course there’s always areas we can improve but I think that was pretty much everything we had.

“We’ll just work as hard as we can tomorrow. My mindset is to win the race.”

In an indication of the intense pressure building in the title race, Verstappen had branded Hamilton a “stupid idiot” in Friday practice.

He was angered by the Mercedes man pushing past on the inside of his Red Bull when the Dutchman was lining up a flying lap.

Despite Hamilton’s love of the track, Red Bull do at least have one win in Texas courtesy of Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

The rest of Sunday’s top half of the grid is made up of Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in the McLarens.

AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were the next fastest.

Former world champions Fernando Alonso, of Alpine, and Aston Martin’s Vettel, as well as George Russell in a Williams, will all start from the back of the grid on Sunday after power units were changed on their cars.

The starting grid for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, the 17th round of  the Formula One world championship, following qualifying on Saturday:

Front row 

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

2nd row 

Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 

Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 

3rd row 

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 

4th row 

Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 

Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 

5th row 

Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 

6th row 

Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 

Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari)

7th row

Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 

Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 

8th row 

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 

Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 

9th row 

Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 

Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 

10th row

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 

George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 

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