Leclerc claims pole as Ferrari dominates at Las Vegas Grand Prix

Leclerc claims pole as Ferrari dominates at Las Vegas Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc led teammate Carlos Sainz to claim pole position at the Las Vegas Grand Prix as Ferrari dominated the proceedings.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rapidly made it clear that he would be the driver to beat at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit after claiming pole position as the Scuderia continued to dominate the event.

The Monaco native recorded a time of 1m33.617s, while teammate Carlos Sainz set the second-fastest time during qualifying. However, for Saturday’s race Sainz will receive a 10-place grid penalty, elevating Max Verstappen to the front row.

George Russell and Max Verstappen finished third and fourth, respectively, more than half a second behind Leclerc.

In the first stage of qualifying, McLaren suffered a shocking elimination as Piastri only managed a P19 and Lando Norris finished a disappointing 16th.

Leclerc set a new record in the second qualifying round, clocking in at a scorching 1m32.775s. His Ferrari teammate Sainz trailed Leclerc’s benchmark by more than half a second.

A number of drivers saw a significant improvement from their previous push laps as the track began to offer more grip towards the end of the second qualifying stage.

Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas were among the drivers showing faster pace.

Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton were unexpectedly eliminated in the second round. The Mercedes driver admitted over the radio to his race engineer that he just “couldn’t go faster” during his second run.

The Mexican, who had missed Q3 for the ninth time this season, was also eliminated after Red Bull strangely decided not to give him a second run at the end of Q2, despite the fact that other contenders were making progress.

At the conclusion of Q2, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez were eliminated.

Following the initial laps, Leclerc took the lead followed by teammate Sainz. As soon as drivers headed back to the Las Vegas circuit, the Ferrari driver beat his teammate by less than tenth of a second, setting a new benchmark with a 1m32.726s.

On his first run of the weekend, Verstappen set his own personal best lap time. However, he was unable to improve on that mark running his second fresh set of Pirelli’s soft tyres and he ultimately settled for P3, four tenths of a second slower than Ferrari’s record.

Russell, who had trouble keeping up with Verstappen’s best time on the first day of the Las Vegas race weekend, gained ground on the second day and finished in P4. Alpine demonstrated remarkable pace despite a string of challenging weekends as Pierre Gasly finished fifth.

Williams moved quickly around the brutally challenging Las Vegas track, as it was widely anticipated ahead of the weekend. Alexander Albon managed a P6 as teammate Logan Sargeant took an impressive P7.

Alfa Romeo and Haas, who are in contention for the ninth spot in the Constructors’ Championship, both displayed better performances during qualifying. Kevin Magnussen was barely beaten by Valtteri Bottas, who set the eighth fastest time for the Italian-Swiss team.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten after establishing an encouraging pace during the practice sessions.

2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix Qualifying Results

POS.DRIVERNAT.TEAMQ1Q2Q3
1Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m33.617s1m32.775s1m32.726s
2Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m33.851s1m33.338s1m32.770s
3Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m34.190s1m33.572s1m33.104s
4George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m34.137s1m33.351s1m33.112s
5Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m34.272s1m33.494s1m33.239s
6Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m34.634s1m33.588s1m33.323s
7Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m34.525s1m33.733s1m33.513s
8Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m34.305s1m33.809s1m33.525s
9Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m34.337s1m33.664s1m33.537s
10Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m34.422s1m33.617s1m33.555s
11Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m34.307s1m33.837s 
12Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m34.574s1m33.855s 
13Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m34.265s1m33.979s 
14Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m34.504s1m34.199s 
15Daniel RicciardoAUSScuderia AlphaTauri1m34.683s1m34.308s 
16Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m34.703s  
17Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m34.834s  
18Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m34.849s  
19Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m34.850s  
20Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m36.447s

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