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Sainz on pole after Leclerc cops penalty

Sainz on pole after Leclerc cops penalty

FORMULA ONE: Carlos Sainz will line up alongside Max Verstappen on the grid for the United States Grand Prix later today (Oct 23) after pinching pole from the penalised Charles Leclerc.

By Michael Lamonato

Sunday 23 October 2022, 03:00PM

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on his way to his third pole of the season in yesterday’s (Oct 22) quaifying session at the US Grand Prix. Photo: AFP

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on his way to his third pole of the season in yesterday’s (Oct 22) quaifying session at the US Grand Prix. Photo: AFP

Leclerc had taken provision top spot with his first lap but was unable start from pole regardless of his efforts thanks to the 10-place grid penalty for an engine change hanging over his head.

Sainz was well placed to capitalise on his teammate’s issues, but the Spaniard wasn’t content for pole to come to him, and with his second lap he pipped the Monegasque by just 0.065 seconds to take his third pole of the season on merit.

“It was fun - a lot of fun,” he said. “I managed to put together a good lap without mistakes.”

But the Spaniard said he didn’t consider Ferrari to be favourite to convert pole into victory.

Ferrari must outscore Red Bull Racing by an unlike 19 points to avoid losing the constructors championship this weekend.

“I’m not going to lie, I think for tomorrow Red Bull are still favourites,” he added. “They normally have better race pace.

“But we’re going to do everything we can to try and stay ahead tomorrow, and to win the race would be an amazing way to start these last four races.”

Leclerc was second quickest but will drop to 12th with his penalty, from where he’ll still target a heavy points haul.

“The goal is to try and come back to the front as quickly as possible,” he said. “I’ll give my best. No crazy risks, but if there’s an opportunity, I will be there to take it.”

Champion-elect Verstappen will be promoted to the front row via the penalty and expects to be a strong victory contender for the race.

“We tried to give it everything today in qualifying,” he said. “Unfortunately we missed out by a little bit.

“I think our car normally in the race is a bit stronger than in qualifying.

“We are there, and I’m expecting a good race tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez was fourth quickest but will serve a five-place penalty that will drop him to ninth on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton is therefore promoted to third in his updated Mercedes, with teammate George Russell alongside him on the second row of the grid.

Lance Stroll will start fifth in his rejuvenated Aston Martin car ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, the pair being promoted from seventh and eighth.

Fernando Alonso was next best but will also serve an engine penalty, putting him 14th on the grid.

Into his place arrives Thai driver Alex Albon, who had agonisingly missed Q3 by just 0.027 seconds but will start eighth anyway with penalties.

The penalised Perez follows ahead of Sebastian Vettel in 10th ahead of a frustrated Pierre Gasly, who unleashed on his team over radio about a brake problem affecting him at the end of the straights, and the penalised Leclerc.

Zhou Guanyu had the pace to start in the top 10 but lost his fastest Q2 lap to a track limits infringement, leaving him 14th. Ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in 15th.

Kevin Magnussen was knocked out 16th ahead of surprise eliminations Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, neither of whom could string together their final laps to progress.

Ricciardo had lost track time during Saturday practice to brake problems on his way to his third Q1 elimination in five rounds.

Mick Schumacher was 19th, meaning Haas lost both cars in Q1 at its home race, and Nicholas Latifi completed the grid in 20th.

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