Max Verstappen starts second at the Grand Prix of Las Vegas on Sunday. The Dutchman finished third in qualifying on Saturday, but moved up one spot ahead of Carlos Sainz (second) due to a grid penalty. Charles Leclerc took pole position.
For the 26-year-old Verstappen, pole position was out of reach throughout qualifying. The three-time world champion was not the fastest in any session. Leclerc clocked 1.32.726, making him 44 thousandths faster than his Ferrari teammate Sainz. Verstappen conceded almost four tenths on the time of the pole sitter from Monaco.
Verstappen was somewhat fortunate that he finished third. While the Red Bull driver did not improve in Q3, George Russell approached Verstappen to within eight thousandths. Russell also benefits from the grid penalty for Sainz and starts the race in third.
For Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez, qualifying ended in a major disappointment. The Mexican did not get through Q2 and starts the race one place ahead of Sainz in eleventh. Both McLaren drivers will also want to quickly forget qualifying in Las Vegas. Both Lando Norris (sixteenth) and Oscar Piastri (nineteenth) already stranded in Q1.
Formula 1 returned to Las Vegas this weekend after 41 years. The organization has allocated half a billion dollars to make the race weekend a success. The first training was canceled due to a loose manhole cover, but there have been no major incidents since.