Charles Leclerc Claims Pole for US Grand Prix, Mistake Costs Verstappen

October 20, 2023Ramon Jones
Formula 1

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position at Circuit of the Americas for the US Grand Prix today. Championship winner Max Verstappen originally was on pole but his fastest lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits. The deletion dropped him to P6 on the starting grid. Leclerc’s pole position finish was his third of the year for the Ferrari side.

Lando Norris (McLaren) continues his streak of good form and finished P2 in the session. He will start on the front row with an opportunity to attack early. An eager Lewis Hamilton will start form third as he attempts to cut into the points lead by Sergio Perez for second pace in the championship. Given the last out in Qatar, Perez was able to avoid conceding his championship lead over Hamilton. At the US Grand Prix however, Hamilton will have two more opportunities to score points. With Perez starting from P9; he will have his work cut out for him.

Elsewhere on the Grid

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) finished P4 in qualifying putting the Ferrari is good points scoring position barring any on track incidents and proper pit spot strategy. As Mercedes looks to solidify their hold on P2 in the constructors championship George Russell’s P5 finish puts him in good points scoring position as long as he can make it out of the scuffle up to turn 1 at COTA. Aston Martin had a horrific qualifying with both cars failing to make it out of Q1.

The Alpha Tauri side saw the return of Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo has been healing from a wrist injury he suffered during a crash at the Dutch Grand Prix. Ricciardo finished P15 behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda who will start P11 in Sunday’s race. After the session Ricciardo stated, “It’s good to be back. There was nothing physically holding me back today, so it was about finding the feeling in the car and the setup. It’s hard to predict what we could’ve done with only one hour in the car this morning and then straight into qualifying, but the last lap was already feeling a little poor.

Ricciardo Continued

It’s difficult to only have one session where you have to set the car up for what it is for qualifying. It was a shame because we were fighting a little bit from the start, but as the track started to ramp up, we plateaued a little bit. I feel I could’ve given more, but we have another chance tomorrow, and the wind direction might change, so that can play a role. We’ll try and see what we can discover tonight, to learn from it for tomorrow. I wish I wasn’t starting P15, but it’s nice to be back behind the wheel and result aside, it’s been an enjoyable day.”

The Sprint Shootout begins at 12:30pm local time tomorrow which will set the grid for tomorrow’s US Grand Prix Sprint race later in the afternoon.