Austin (United States) (AFP)
But the Dutchman should not miss the green light, because Hamilton warned: "I will try to get a good start and then we will have to work as a team to get the best possible result".
"I'm not worried about what's going on behind it, I just have to focus on myself," nevertheless assured the 24-year-old Dutchman, in search of a first crown.
He dominates the drivers' standings, with only six points ahead of the Englishman, already seven times crowned and who aims to overtake the German Michael Schumacher in the Pantheon of the most successful.
Nothing separates them before this 16th round of the championship which has 22. All the more so since neither of them eases off at the start of the last third of the season, as was seen a little before the time Friday, during the 2nd free practice session.
F1 - United States Grand Prix Vincent LEFAI AFP
Launched at full speed down the pit straight, Verstappen found himself almost wheel to wheel with Hamilton, who did not stray and took the corner first.
Furious, the Dutchman then released a "kind of idiot" at the place of the Englishman, embellished with a tense middle finger.
"It feels good"
The tension nonetheless quickly subsided on Saturday.
Basically, nothing better than putting pressure on the other, taking first place on the grid.
More than inflating his CV, it was in this case for Verstappen, author of his 9th pole this season (the 12th of his career), to beat the pawn in Hamilton, where the latter has become accustomed to reign on the circuit of the Americas (3 poles, 5 victories) in recent years.
Imperial, the Red Bull driver was thus the fastest for two tenths of a second, also ahead, by a few hundredths, his Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez, author of the third fastest time after having believed to grab the first pole of his career in the middle of the race. 3rd part of the qualifications.
Dutchman Max Verstappen greets the public after taking pole position on 23 October 2021 at the United States GP in Austin Robyn Beck AFP
“It was very exciting on the track. In Q3, my first lap was not exceptional then in the last there were a few drops. I didn't know if I was going to be able to achieve this time. to take pole. It feels good, especially since we were very far at the start. Being 1st and 3rd (with Pérez. editor's note) is a solid performance on our part, "he said.
On the Texanes grounds, where Mercedes had not given up since 2014 in qualifying, each time signing the pole position, Red Bull showed a rise in power after first tests inside Friday, to succeed in making an impression , even if that obviously does not guarantee 100% success on Sunday.
The Silver Arrows, who dominate the constructors' standings, with a 36-point lead, are in fact still largely in the race, even if Valterri Bottas, who set the 4th fastest time, was penalized by five places, for have changed its thermal engine beyond the authorized quota.
Briton Lewis Hamilton leaves the garage during practice for the F1 United States GP on October 23, 2021 in Austin Jim WATSON AFP
This benefited the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who finished with 5th fastest time, but will start well from the second row alongside Sergio Pérez.
French side Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), author of the 9th fastest time, will start from the 5th row, ahead of Esteban Ocon (Alpine), author of the 11th time.
As for the former world champions, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) in 2005 and 2006, and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, they will start at the back of the grid, just like George Russell (Williams), for having also changed the engine and various components before qualifying.
© 2021 AFPKeywords: lewis hamilton, gp, max verstappen, light, dutchman, start, pole position, result, united states, team, heels, austin, drivers, afp, f1