Verstappen takes his ninth pole of the season, both AlphaTauri drivers qualify in the top ten and Raikkonen records his worst COTA qualifying result. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 United States Grand Prix!
VERSTAPPEN ON POLE
Max Verstappen took pole position for the 2021 United States Grand Prix, recording the first non-Mercedes pole at Circuit of The Americas since 2013. The last time Mercedes failed to take pole at COTA, Red Bull were the team on pole.
Verstappen’s pole is Red Bull’s third pole in Texas. Sebastian Vettel took the team’s other two poles here, in 2012 and 2013.
Taking the twelfth pole of his Formula 1 career, Verstappen equals Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard’s tally of career poles. It puts him equal-32nd in the all-time list.
This was Verstappen’s ninth pole of the 2021 season, meaning that he has now recorded three times more poles this season than he did in total before 2021.
THE TOP TEN
Lewis Hamilton out-qualified Sergio Perez by only 0.015 seconds. He denied Red Bull only their second front row lockout of the V6 hybrid era. Perez’s third place is his best qualifying result since the Austrian Grand Prix.
With both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas reaching Q3, this race is the 65th consecutive Grand Prix weekend at which both Mercedes drivers have reached the final stage of qualifying.
At Ferrari, Charles Leclerc qualified fifth while Carlos Sainz qualified sixth. It makes this the fifth consecutive race at Circuit of The Americas at which both Ferrari drivers have qualified inside the top six. As a result of Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty, both drivers will move up into the top five. It’s the first time both Ferraris will start inside the top five since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
McLaren recorded the same qualifying result at the United States Grand Prix in 2019 as they did in 2021. Daniel Ricciardo qualified in seventh – as Carlos Sainz did in 2019 – and Lando Norris qualified in eighth for a second consecutive COTA race.
Both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda reached Q3, making this the first time that the Red Bull junior team have seen both of their cars qualify in the top ten at Circuit of The Americas.
OUT IN Q2
Sebastian Vettel recorded his first Q2 exit at the United States Grand Prix. He recorded a Q1 exit here in 2014, but has never previously been eliminated in Q2 at the track. This was Vettel’s fourth consecutive Q2 exit of the 2021 season.
For the first time since 2016, neither of the Enstone team’s drivers reached Q3 at the United States Grand Prix. Esteban Ocon qualified eleventh, while Fernando Alonso qualified fourteenth.
With their Q2 exits, Team Enstone equal the Red Bull junior team as the team with the most Q2 eliminations at Circuit of The Americas. Ocon recorded the Enstone team’s 200th Q2 exit since the qualifying system was introduced in 2006.
George Russell reached Q2, becoming the first Williams driver to do so at Circuit of The Americas since Felipe Massa in 2017. His lap time was deleted in Q2, meaning he qualified fifteenth.
OUT IN Q1
Lance Stroll recorded his fourth Q1 exit of the 2021 season – his first Q1 elimination since the French Grand Prix. This was Stroll’s third Q1 exit at Circuit of The Americas. It sees him tie with Marcus Ericsson as the driver with the most Q1 exits at the circuit.
This was the first time that Stroll has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the United States Grand Prix since his rookie season in 2017.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified only eighteenth for the United States Grand Prix. It’s his worst qualifying result at Circuit of The Americas. Raikkonen’s result means that an Alfa Romeo driver has now qualified in eighteenth place for all of the last five races.
Raikkonen’s Q1 exit took the former Sauber team’s total of Q1 eliminations to 200 since the system was introduced in 2006.
With Mick Schumacher qualifying nineteenth, and Nikita Mazepin twentieth, the 2021 United States Grand Prix is the first time that the Haas team has recorded a double Q1 exit at their home event. Mazepin’s 20th place was the Haas team’s 100th Q1 exit in Formula 1.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.