(Motorsport-Total.com) – Charles Leclerc secured pole position in qualifying for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, confirming Ferrari’s excellent performances in training. The Monegasque preceded his teammate Carlos Sainz by just 0.044 seconds, who was even ahead of Leclerc in the first sector.
Charles Leclerc secured pole position in qualifying in Las Vegas
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) finished third, 0.378 seconds behind Leclerc’s pole. The world champion will still start from the front row of Saturday evening’s Grand Prix because Sainz will be ten positions back due to a battery change.
Behind the top 3 are George Russell (Mercedes/+0.386), Pierre Gasly (Alpine/+0.513) and Alexander Albon (Williams/+0.597) in the other positions. Logan Sargeant (Williams/+0.787) is seventh, Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo/+0.799) eighth, Kevin Magnussen (Haas/+0.811) ninth and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin/+0.829) tenth.
Despite her strong performances in training, it was only partially foreseeable that Williams would be so high on the pitch. Sargeant lost the team duel to Albon by a full two tenths of a second and is therefore 0:21 behind in the stable duel in 2023. However, after his lap to 7th place, there was great applause and special praise from part of crew chief James Vowles on the pit radio.
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Hamilton and Perez out in Q2: why?
Q2 brought a surprise or two. The biggest was certainly the elimination of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who finished eleventh, narrowly losing out to his former teammate Bottas by 0.002 seconds and thus narrowly missing out on a place in the final top 10. “I couldn’t go any faster,” he reported over the pit radio.
The seven-time world champion was not the only high-profile victim. Almost three tenths of a second behind him, Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Hamilton’s opponent in the fight for the second world title, took twelfth place.
Perez apparently didn’t quite agree with his team’s strategy of setting the final fast time before many others. “We stopped pretty early, don’t you think?” he said immediately after finishing his fast lap. Race engineer’s response: “Yes, as discussed.”
For Perez it is the ninth time this season that he is no longer present in Q3. Only the third time for Hamilton.
How superior was Ferrari?
Helmut Marko had already announced before qualifying that Red Bull’s strength would be less in qualifying and more in the race due to the cool temperatures. A suspicion that has been confirmed. Because Verstappen had no chance against the two Ferraris, often considered “tyre eaters” in 2023.
He is now in second place, presumably on the less seized side of the starting grid on the brand new track. “I would have preferred to be fourth and move up to third. But it is what it is,” says Verstappen. “We weren’t quick enough on a single lap all weekend. We were just too slow. My lap in Q3 was good enough. I couldn’t have achieved more.”
Ferraris, on the other hand, yes. Sainz is convinced: “If I had completed all the laps, a 1:32.5 would definitely have been possible.” So another two tenths of a second faster. And Leclerc also says: “The last lap wasn’t good. I didn’t even set the same time as Q2!”
“But on street circuits it’s exactly like that. The most difficult thing was to get the tires up to temperature. If you couldn’t do that, the first sector was over,” he reports and says of Saturday: “I have the feeling we can do it. weekend we are doing better than usual, even with more fuel on board. I think we have a chance to win.”
Why the war of words between Verstappen and Ocon?
At the end of Q1 the two were just at the start of the flying lap. Esteban Ocon drove ahead of Verstappen on the track, but consistently outpaced him on the inside. This meant the round was effectively over for both of them. Verstappen still moved up to fourth place, Ocon was eliminated in 17th place.
Ocon is annoyed on the pit radio: “It’s probably a joke. Verstappen goes into Turn 1 like crazy.” He, in turn, naturally sees the incident completely differently: “What a stupid idiot!”
There is no investigation into the incident by race management. Since they both did a fast lap, this isn’t your typical “obstacle.”
Why did McLaren withdraw so early?
Lando Norris was initially slowed down by Perez during a flying lap (“he will have to get a penalty for this”) and pitted at the end of the session as the track got faster and faster. He was eliminated in 16th place. Norris says, “It’s no surprise because everything is so tight. If you’re not 100% comfortable, it makes a huge difference.”
“If some things go well, in the end you say it wasn’t a bad day. It hurts not to be in Q2. But I don’t know what we could have done wrong. Maybe our fastest lap on new tires is a bit “Driving too much early in the session. It can happen,” she says angrily.
Total fiasco for McLaren, given that Oscar Piastri was also forced to retire in 19th place. Piastri’s final lap was too slow in the first and second sectors, causing his personal best in the third sector to evaporate. “The pace is actually quite good,” says Piastri. “Our mistake was not using a second set of tires.”
“We are very disappointed,” says McLaren CEO Zak Brown in an interview with Sky. “We expected Las Vegas to be difficult for us. But losing both cars in Q1 is unexpected. Slow corners are not our strong point. And on the straights we are not bad, but not good either. Our strong points are above all fast and medium curves – fast curves.”
In addition to the two McLaren drivers, Ocon (17th), Guanyu Zhou (18th/Alfa Romeo) and Yuki Tsunoda (20th/AlphaTauri), who had once had a time canceled in Q1, were also eliminated in Q1.
Are there any grid penalties that are added to the result?
Sainz’s Ferrari was so badly damaged in the manhole crash in the first free practice session that, among other things, the battery had to be replaced. This pushes him ten places back on the starting grid.
Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) overtook Sainz in the third free practice session under double yellow and also received a penalty for this. The Canadian slipped five positions compared to his qualifying result. And: in qualifying he overtook again under yellow, which will be investigated by the race stewards after the session.
Where can you watch the Las Vegas Grand Prix on TV?
Las Vegas is an unusual Grand Prix in every way. Also regarding broadcast times. Not only is the US state of Nevada nine hours behind German time, but the video game metropolis also travels in the middle of the night, when the legendary Strip is brightly lit.
At the end of each day there is a summary with host Kevin Scheuren and editor-in-chief Christian Nimmervoll on the Formula1.de YouTube channel. Live streams of the two after qualifying and the race will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm German time. (Subscribe to the channel for free now!)
If you want to see all the sessions live in Germany, you can’t ignore Sky, exclusive partner of Formula 1 (ADVERTISING: Be there live with WOW, starting from 24.99 euros per month!). The proven team of commentator Sascha Roos and expert Ralf Schumacher shows all sessions live. The race starts on Sunday at 7:00 am German time. Early reports are available for early risers from 5.30am. (Click here for the TV program overview for Las Vegas!)
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