Las Vegas GP Qualifying: Charles Leclerc takes pole position as Ferrari seal dominant one-two
Ferrari Dominates Las Vegas GP, Verstappen Third, Sainz Penalized; Catch Live Coverage On Sky Sports F1
Latest update: November 18th, 2023 at 10:49am.
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A summary of the events from Las Vegas qualifying where Charles Leclerc secured the first starting position.
During the qualifying session for Formula 1's comeback to Las Vegas, Charles Leclerc managed to secure the top starting position with a Ferrari one-two finish thanks to his strong lead over Carlos Sainz.
F1's comeback to Las Vegas didn't begin well and faced significant disruptions on Thursday. However, things took a turn for the better on Friday, as the breathtaking track brought the sport to the iconic Strip for the first time. In the end, Leclerc managed to barely beat Sainz by just 0.044s.
Max Verstappen, the reigning world champion, managed to secure third place for Red Bull. However, he will be starting the race next to Charles Leclerc on the starting grid. This is because Carlos Sainz was handed a penalty that dropped him ten places down the grid. This was due to him surpassing his limit for car parts usage because of a problem caused by a faulty water valve cover during the first practice session. The decision to penalize Sainz has caused some uproar and debate.
Ferrari displayed impressive speed during the session, making them the clear frontrunner. However, the competition for the remaining positions was highly volatile.
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In Q1, there was chaos as McLaren's team had to end early and there was almost a collision between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.
Mercedes' George Russell landed in fourth place, while both his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Sergio Perez fell short during the Q2 session after McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were eliminated in Q1.
The unexpected removal of some competitors allowed other drivers to shine, with Pierre Gasly of Alpine placing fifth. The Williams duo of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant also seized their chance, with Sargeant achieving his best qualifying result of his new F1 season by coming in at seventh place.
In the race, Valtteri Bottas managed to capture the eighth position for Alfa Romeo, surpassing Kevin Magnussen from Haas. On the other hand, Fernando Alonso concluded the top 10 racers for Aston Martin.
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Hamilton and Perez were eliminated from Q2 as Williams drivers and Gasly improved on their final laps.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix qualifying has produced some exciting results. The top ten drivers were led by Charles Leclerc from Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz right behind him. Max Verstappen, from Red Bull, followed close by in third place. The rest of the top ten included George Russell from Mercedes, Pierre Gasly from Alpine, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant from Williams, Valtteri Bottas from Alfa Romeo, Kevin Magnussen from Haas, and Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin.
Sainz is going to be moved down by 10 places on the starting grid due to a penalty.
"Ferrari's Unmatched Speed On Full Display"
During practice sessions, Ferrari had demonstrated outstanding speed. However, due to unpredictable situations, it was unclear how well the team would perform in the qualifying round, especially in terms of one-lap performance.
The initial day of track activities was peculiar as the opening practice was canceled within a brief period of eight minutes. Additionally, the second practice took longer than expected due to the considerable delay caused by the surface's reparation.
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Leclerc has secured the top spot after an outstanding performance in Las Vegas, with his teammate Carlos Sainz coming in second during Q3. However, Sainz's unfortunate penalty will cause him to plummet down to the 12th place on the grid.
During the final practice of the race, Leclerc led the second session. However, the Ferraris couldn't complete flying laps on soft tyres due to an early end to the session caused by a red flag.
As soon as the qualifying started, any questioning about their speed was erased, and Sainz was the only one who could come close to his teammate.
Leclerc was the fastest in three different sections of the session. He secured pole position with a time of 1:32.726 as the track gradually became better until the very end.
The attention of the people from Monaco is now directed towards putting an end to the sequence of 11 races where he was not able to turn his pole position into a win.
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Max Verstappen has suggested altering the regulations following Carlos Sainz receiving a penalty of dropping ten positions on the starting grid for the harm incurred because of a manhole cover.
Verstappen is the driver who is expected to reject his request, as he aims to achieve his historic dominant season's 18th win.
Leclerc is feeling optimistic about the upcoming race due to Ferrari's strong performance in qualifying. Despite having claimed pole position four times already this season, he believes that this time around the outcome could be more favorable.
Leclerc expressed his delight at securing the top spot on the starting grid in Las Vegas, describing it as a truly remarkable moment.
Currently, our complete attention is dedicated to consolidating all the elements for the upcoming competition. Traditionally, this is the point where we struggle the most to deliver an outstanding performance. Nonetheless, we are optimistic about our chances of pulling together all the necessary components and achieving a victory in this event.
"Hamilton And McLarens Surprisingly Eliminated"
The brand new race track was bound to bring about some unexpected outcomes, especially due to the disruptions in the practice timetable.
In the last weeks, McLaren had doubts about their abilities at different tracks. However, their doubts were finally confirmed as true in this instance.
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Lewis Hamilton expresses his dissatisfaction following his elimination from Q2 in Las Vegas.
Despite having finished in the top three positions in five of the previous six races, Norris failed to deliver a strong enough performance in the qualifying session and could not move on from Q1. He ultimately ended up in 16th place, while his rookie team-mate Piastri fared even worse and finished in 19th place.
The surprises didn't stop there since Hamilton, who has also been performing exceptionally well, was caught off guard towards the conclusion of Q2.
The British competitor began his final lap a lot sooner than the rest of the contenders competing to move ahead. Unfortunately, this strategy did not pay off for him as he was pushed further down in the rankings during the last few seconds.
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After being eliminated in the second qualifying session at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Sergio Perez commented that the track had surprised the Red Bull team.
Hamilton communicated through the radio that he lacked the necessary speed. Meanwhile, Perez caused embarrassment for the Red Bull team because he remained in the pits as the 14 other cars were racing. Perez later confessed that his team was unprepared and caught off guard.
Lance Stroll, who finished in 14th place in Q2, was unable to proceed further. However, due to his violation of overtaking during the final practice under double waved yellow flags, he received a punishment of five-place grid penalty and hence, will begin the race from the 19th position.
Qualifying Times For Las Vegas Grand Prix
"Sky Sports: Catch Live Las Vegas GP Coverage"
Be prepared for the major event: Formula 1 coming to Las Vegas! Observe drivers speed down famous locations including Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, on F1's latest track situated on the Strip. Catch the Las Vegas GP weekend in real-time on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase, with race commencement on Sunday at 6am. You can watch F1 through Sky Sports with NOW.