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Leclerc takes Las Vegas pole


Ahead of today's qualifying session the air temperature is 15 degrees C, while the track temperature is 17 degrees. There is a 30% chance of rain.

While George Russell set the pace earlier, ahead of Piastri, Sargeant - yes, Sargeant, Verstappen and Perez.

However, a late red-flag, after Alex Albon lost his left-rear tyre, meant that a number of drivers failed to complete a qualifying sim, most notably the Ferrari pair who have been setting the pace thus far.

That aside, there are some curveballs out there, not least the Williams pair, while Valtteri Bottas has also been there or thereabouts for much of the weekend.

While Carlos Sainz has a 10-place grid drop after taking on a new energy store, Lance Stroll has incurred a 5-place drop for overtaking the Spaniard under yellow flags earlier.

The lights go green and Magnussen leads the way, he is followed by Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Sargeant, Zhou and Bottas.

"We can be slow on pit exit, but not stationary," Gasly is told.

Magnussen crosses the line at 35.968, while his teammate posts a 36.466.

Bottas goes second and Zhou fourth, but all are demoted when Perez crosses the line at 35.323 and Leclerc at 34.898.

Norris goes third and Piastri fourth, while Sainz can only manage seventh.

Sargeant goes second with a 35.061 as Ocon goes fourth and Norris fifth.

Verstappen goes second with a 34.987 while Magnussen improves to fourth with a 35.073.

Bottas goers fifth and Zhou ninth, as the Mercedes pair head out along with Albon.

Sainz goes quickest with a 34.787, but his teammate responds with a 34.072.

"I got blocked, he completely got in my way," says Norris of Perez.

Alonso improves to fourth with a 35.050.

Tsunoda has his time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 8.

Hamilton goes third (34.658), ahead of Norris, Sainz and Verstappen, while Russell aborts his lap after running wide at Turn 8.

Norris improves to fourth with a 34.703, while Russell goes fifth with a 34.726.

Verstappen closes to within 0.118s of Leclerc with a 34.190.

Sainz goes top with a 33.851 but is immediately leapfrogged by his teammate who stops the clock at 33.617.

Gasly goes fourth (34.272) and Bottas improves to fifth (34.305).

Sargeant goes eighth, as Magnussen improves to seventh (34.427).

The Dane subsequently goes quickest in the first sector, as Piastri looks unlikely to improves on 17th.

Tsunoda goes off at Turn 5 bringing out the yellows as Magnussen goes sixth.

Hamilton goes sixth with a 34.307 but is demoted when Hulkenberg goes fifth.

Russell goes third, and Stroll eleventh, which drops Norris into the danger zone.

Some silliness at the end of that session, with a number of drivers looking to make space, and Verstappen and Ocon almost coming to grief.

"What a stupid idiot," says the world champion of the Alpine driver, the pair, of course, having history.

Leclerc is quickest, ahead of Sainz, Russell, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Gasly, Bottas, Hamilton, Magnussen and Alonso.

We lose Norris, Ocon, Zhou, Piastri and Tsunoda.

Hamilton, Russell, Albon, Zhou, Gasly and Bottas have all been noted for failing to adhere to the rule concerning the maximum delta time.

Sadly, Stroll s under investigation again for failing to slow under the yellows.

Alonso is first out for Q2, followed by Stroll, Magnussen, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg.

Alonso crosses the line at 42.897 however Magnussen responds with a far more sensible 34.319.

Sainz stops the clock at 34.146, but his teammate responds with a 33.966.

A 33.965 - just one-thousandth of a second quicker - sees Perez go quickest, but Alonso improves to 33.880.

Stroll goes sixth with a 35.004.

Albon goes fifth, ahead of Gasly, Magnussen and Sargeant as Hulkenberg has his time deleted.

Hamilton and Verstappen are among the last to head out, along with Bottas.

Hamilton goes quickest with a 33.837, but moments later Verstappen responds with a 33.607.

Leclerc and Magnussen are trading fastest sectors. The Monegasque goes quickest with a 32.834 while the Dane posts a 33.664 to go fourth.

Sainz crosses the line at 33.338 to go second and Hulkenberg ninth.

Bottas goes tenth with a 34.213 thereby demoting Albon.

The final assault is underway and Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Russell improve in the first sector. The German goes ninth.

Stroll goes tenth, while Hamilton goes fifth having gone quickest in the final sector.

Russell goes third, Alonso fifth and Sargeant seventh.

Albon goes fifth, while Leclerc consolidates his top spot with a 32.775.

"Couldn't go faster mate," says Hamilton who has failed to make the cut.

"We'll focus on tomorrow," says a dejected Ricciardo.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Sainz, Russell, Gasly, Verstappen, Albon, Alonso, Magnussen, Sargeant and Bottas.

We lose Hamilton, Perez, Hulkenberg, Stroll and Ricciardo.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Las Vegas here.


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1. Posted by JamesD, 18/11/2023 17:19

"Well done Charles, hope you can translate this into the win"

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