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Verstappen shoots first in Austin

Max Verstappen, at the Circuit of the Americas. / EP

United States GP

The Dutchman ends the pole dominance of Mercedes on the Texas circuit and comes out ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso last when changing engine

Max Verstappen showed that he is in a position to make it very difficult for Lewis Hamilton a new victory in the United States, one of his favorite countries. The Dutchman achieved his eighth pole this season, his first since the Dutch GP, with an advantage of more than two tenths over the British. With one lap it is clear that he is two steps ahead.

It was a classification that was not resolved until the final moments, when even Sergio Pérez got into the fight. The Mexican, with a large audience in his favor, will start third and can be a key element in the resolution of the race.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will start fifth and fourth, respectively. The new Ferrari engine works and seems a point better than the previous one, although for the Madrid native it was not an easy day. The medium tires did not quite give him the expected performance and, in fact, in Q2 he did his best time on soft tires, which will make him go against the grain of the drivers who will surround him on the grid.

Fernando Alonso didn’t even look for a good time in qualifying. Midway through the third free practice session, Alpine confirmed what was already assumed in free practice: it was time to replace the complete power unit. The sacrifice of penalizing and going last was a matter of time, and could occur here or in subsequent races. Given the performance shown in free practice, better to do it in Austin and look for a hypothetical comeback. Sainz did it in Turkey and was named driver of the day after moving from 19th place to eighth final.

That is why Alonso considered this classification with two objectives: to adjust the balance of the new engine and to help his teammate Esteban Ocon with the slip, something necessary in a circuit like this, where they are seen so little competitive on a lap. Both went to Q2, but not to Q3 and it will be difficult for them to score. Especially the Spanish, who from the 20th will not have an easy challenge.

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