Winners and losers from the 2023 United States Grand Prix qualifying

Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen

It was differing days at the office for Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

After an exciting qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, we have picked out the winners and losers on display.

Heading into Q3, it was anyone’s guess as to who would get pole which is not a sentence we have heard too many times this year.

In the end, it would prove to be Charles Leclerc’s day with Max Verstappen falling foul of track limits after being forced to push following a Turn 1 lockup.

Leclerc is joined on the front row by Lando Norris with Lewis Hamilton starting in P3.

Here are your winners and losers from Austin:


Charles Leclerc

A first pole on merit since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc produced the kind of quali performance that he often seems to dig out.

At a time when Carlos Sainz has been the in-form Ferrari driver, Leclerc reminded everyone why it is he, not Sainz, that is thought of as potential World Champion.

Leclerc was the first to set a final flying lap, making his achievement all the more impressive, and while it does come with the caveat that Max Verstappen had his lap deleted, had the Dutchman kept it in the lines then he would have probably put in a slower lap anyway.

Lando Norris

For a track that Lando Norris himself did not think was in McLaren’s favour, that is some quali lap.

In recent quali sessions, Norris has seemed annoyed at himself for making one or two mistakes which have cost him dear and although he still believed it was not a perfect lap, it was good enough to earn him a deserved front row start, his first since the Dutch Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton

Was there more out there for Lewis Hamilton? As was noted in his post-session interview, COTA is a track that is clearly one of his favourites, and of all the drivers, it was Hamilton who looked to be wrestling with his car more than the others.

He did get it under control, riding an unusually bumpy circuit through to P3 and the speed of the upgraded W14 would suggest there is more on offer still on Sunday.


Aston Martin

An awful Friday from start to finish for Aston Martin, one that Fernando Alonso wished they could redo all over again.

After a heavily disrupted FP1, both cars would end up leaving quali at the earliest opportunity, and perhaps most worryingly, neither driver produced a serious error.

The AMR23 simply lacked performance, a concerning development considering it had floor upgrades bolted onto it for this race weekend.

Post-session, Alonso all but admitted their chance in the race was next to none and seemed to question why the team opted to bring a significant upgrade package to a sprint weekend. recommends

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Max Verstappen

It seems somewhat harsh to put Max Verstappen in the loser category considering he will start amongst the top six drivers but such has been the Dutchman’s level of performance this year that he will be furious with that final lap.

While it was a breach of track limits on Turn 19 that was his official undoing, his lap was compromised much earlier on when he locked up into Turn 1. From there he was always playing catch up and his desire to do that meant he went wide, suffering the deleted lap fate that has plagued many a driver this season.

Sergio Perez

Don’t think we don’t see you down there Sergio. While all the focus will be on Verstappen’s low start position, even with a deleted lap he will still be starting ahead of his team-mate.

Perez will begin the race in ninth place and considering how close the other teams are to Red Bull now, it will be hard for the Mexican to rise further up the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg

Like Verstappen, it is perhaps a tad bit harsh to put Nico Hulkenberg in the losers list but it is a driver mistake that has cost him dear.

On a weekend when Haas brought major upgrades and had looked quick, Hulkenberg will be kicking himself that he made an early exit to quali having overstepped the mark.

Haas and Hulk’s strength has been in qualifying so Sunday will be a good chance to see if their new upgrades have made them competitive in the race as well.

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