Whilst Red Bull missed out on a front-row lockout by the slimmest of margins, Mercedes failed to take pole at COTA for the first time in eight years. Oh, and Haas reach an unwanted milestone.
Here are five of the top statistics from qualifying at the 2021 United States Grand Prix!
Max Verstappen stormed to pole position at the United States Grand Prix, out-qualifying title rival Lewis Hamilton by just over two-tenths of a second. Verstappen recorded the twelfth pole of his F1 career, equalling Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard for 32nd in the all-time list of most poles. This was his ninth pole of the season – meaning he’s now recorded three times more poles in 2021 than he did in total before this season.
This was Red Bull’s first pole at Circuit of The Americas since 2013. Sebastian Vettel is the only other Red Bull driver to take pole in Texas, having done so in the first two races at the track. Coincidentally, the 2021 United States Grand Prix will be Verstappen’s 113th start with Red Bull, equalling Vettel’s tally of starts with the team.
Perhaps surprisingly, Red Bull have locked-out the front row only once in the V6 hybrid era, at the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. They very nearly did so today, but Sergio Perez was ultimately out-qualified by Lewis Hamilton by just 0.015 seconds. Third place is Perez’s best qualifying result since the Austrian Grand Prix in July.
For the first time in the V6 hybrid era, Mercedes failed to take pole position for the United States Grand Prix. Between them, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas had taken all of the last six poles at the circuit prior to 2021.
Nevertheless, Mercedes did reach an impressive milestone. This was the 65th consecutive race at which both of their drivers have reached the final part of qualifying – a feat that no other team has previously achieved. The 2018 German Grand Prix, at which Hamilton suffered a hydraulic issue in Q1, is the last time that a Mercedes driver failed to qualify in the top ten.
For a second consecutive race, both AlphaTauri drivers qualified inside the top ten. While Yuki Tsunoda recorded his fourth Q3 appearance, Pierre Gasly qualified in the top ten for the fourteenth time this year.
Gasly’s ninth place is the Red Bull junior team’s best-ever qualifying position at COTA. The team had three Q3 appearances at the track under their Toro Rosso guise, each resulting in tenth place results. 2021 is the first time that both of the team’s drivers have reached Q3 in the United States.
As has become expected in 2021, the two Haas cars were the slowest in qualifying. Mick Schumacher qualified 19th, with Nikita Mazepin 20th. Mazepin’s 20th place was the 100th time a Haas driver was eliminated in Q1 since the team joined F1 at the start of the 2016 season.
Of the team’s 100 Q1 exits, it is Romain Grosjean who has recorded the most. During his five seasons with the team, Grosjean recorded 33 Q1 eliminations.
Haas weren’t the only team to reach a century milestone in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen’s 18th place marked the former Sauber team’s 200th Q1 exit since the knockout system was introduced in 2006, while Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon racked up the Enstone team’s 200th Q2 elimination.
Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1, equalling Marcus Ericsson as the driver to have recorded the most Q1 exits at COTA. Both Stroll and Ericsson have been out in Q1 in Texas on three occasions. Stroll has never had much success in qualifying at this track, having never qualified above fourteenth. His sixteenth place is actually his second-best Saturday result at the United States Grand Prix.
This was Stroll’s fourth Q1 elimination of the season – his first since the French Grand Prix. Despite heading into the session with a grid penalty, Stroll’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel out-qualified him. It’s the first time Stroll has been out-qualified at this venue since his maiden season in 2017.
Did you spot any other interesting statistics from qualifying at COTA? Leave a comment below!