HDriving errors cost Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen the best starting position for the American Grand Prix. Because the Red Bull driver briefly went off the track during qualifying in Austin on Friday, his best time was overturned by race stewards. Therefore, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc will start from pole position in Texas on Sunday (9pm).
Second in the hunt for a starting position was Lando Norris in a McLaren, ahead of record world champion Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes. Verstappen had to settle for sixth place.
Early exit: Hulkenberg in 16th place
For Nico Hulkenberg, the workday was over after the first part of qualifying. Despite new components in his Haas race car, the 36-year-old was unable to finish higher than 16th. On the last lap he felt slightly hampered by the Red Bull drivers. “Damn, cheese, there could have been a lot more today,” Hulkenberg said on Sky of his exit, which he described as “very disappointing”.
Verstappen had already won his third consecutive title in Qatar about two weeks ago. Red Bull is also the World Constructors’ Champion. For Verstappen, the season’s final surge is still about potential records such as the most Grand Prix victories in a single season. The Dutchman has won 14 of 17 races this year, and his record last year was 15 wins.
Before the main race at Circuit of the Americas, the Formula 1 Championship holds a sprint race on Sunday night in Germany (00:00 AM). It is the fifth of six races this season, which has been shortened to around 100 kilometres.
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