Max Verstappen is on the front row and Carlos Sainz is in pole position in Austin

Max Verstappen is on the front row and Carlos Sainz is in pole position in Austin

Formula One mourned the death of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz on the eve of a race that is likely to crown his team champions. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took pole position for the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

Max Verstappen, a two-time world champion with Red Bull, will start alongside Carlos Sainz on the front row for Sunday’s race. The Dutch driver has a strong chance of tying the season record with a 13th victory.

Since the inaugural grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas in 2012, no driver has won from a starting position outside the front row.

“Pole position was a long time coming, following a few qualifying races where I was near but not quite there,” said Sainz, who last took the top spot in Belgium at the end of August and now has three poles in his career.

“I believe Red Bull will continue to be tomorrow’s favorites, as they often have the best racing pace,” he continued. “However, we will do everything in our power to stay ahead and win the race tomorrow.

The news that Austrian tycoon Mateschitz, who controlled two of the sport’s 10 teams, had died at the age of 78 overshadowed the session, with Red Bull Racing poised to win their first title double since 2013.

Verstappen, who won his second consecutive drivers’ championship in Japan two weeks ago, remarked, “I believe it has been tough news for everyone.”

“It has been a very difficult day, and we certainly gave it our all in qualifying today. Unfortunately, we fell short by a small margin, but tomorrow we aim to make him proud.”

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was second in the last top 10 shootout, while Max Verstappen was third. However, due to engine penalties, Leclerc will drop 10 positions on the grid.

The Monaco driver was 0.065 seconds slower than Sainz’s pole performance in a windy practice at the hilly circuit outside Austin.

Carlos did a better job today and deserved to be on pole position, according to Leclerc.

“Because of the penalty, I’m starting a little further back, but my goal is to get to the front as quickly as possible.”

Ferrari requires 19 more points than Red Bull, who has won the last seven races, to be in contention for the constructors’ championship with three races remaining.

Sergio Perez, a teammate of Verstappen from Mexico, was fourth fastest but has a five-place grid penalty, elevating Lewis Hamilton to third and teammate George Russell to fourth.

Perez, who will start tenth, is vying with Leclerc for second place in the championship and is only one point ahead of the Ferrari driver, making Sunday’s race all the more exciting.

After the first flying circuits, Hamilton was faster than Verstappen and only slower than the two Ferraris; however, he committed a mistake and was unable to improve his time.

Lance Stroll of Canada will start fifth for Aston Martin on the third row, alongside Lando Norris of McLaren.

Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo and Alex Albon of Williams occupied the fourth row after Fernando Alonso of Alpine dropped to tenth.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won his titles with Red Bull, starts tenth for Aston Martin.

»Max Verstappen is on the front row and Carlos Sainz is in pole position in Austin«

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