Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for Formula 1's 2023 United States Grand Prix after Max Verstappen lost a time 0.005s quicker to a last-gasp Q3 track limits violation.

In an unexpectedly close session between Red Bull and its typically trailing rivals, Leclerc led the way for Ferrari through Q2 and again on the first runs in Q3.

Track limits were a focus throughout the one-hour knockout session, with the penultimate and final corners – Turns 19 and 20 – tricky for the drivers to stay within the white lines as their soft tyres cried enough on the rough, high-energy surface here and with track temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius.

Leclerc's 1m34.828 topped the first of two Q3 runs, with Verstappen down in third behind Lewis Hamilton and with 0.252s to close, with the Mercedes 0.056s behind the Ferrari.

On the final goes, Leclerc led the pack and bettered his time to a 1m34.723s despite setting no purple sectors, which opened the door for Verstappen.

He gained time as his final lap wore on, but a slide Turn 19 sent him a fraction wide and his 1m34.718s was swiftly deleted.

That cemented Lando Norris in second after he had rocketed up the order on the second Q3 runs after taking used softs for the first efforts in the final segment.

Hamilton came through last of the frontrunners but was unable to knock his compatriot off the front row for Sunday's GP race despite going fractionally faster than his previous Q3 personal best.

Carlos Sainz took fourth ahead of George Russell, with Verstappen's first Q3 time putting him only sixth, but nevertheless ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, who ended up ninth.

Alpine pair Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon took seventh and eighth, with Qatar sprint winner Oscar Piastri rounding out the top 10.

In the Q2 segment topped by Leclerc, Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo were the fallers, with Ricciardo losing a final lap that was good enough to get him into Q3 for running too wide out of Turn 19.

In Q1, which Hamilton topped, Nico Hulkenberg was eliminated after also losing his final lap to running too wide out of the penultimate turn, the Haas driver having at one stage been leading the opening segment.

Behind him, both Aston Martin cars were sensationally knocked out following their front brake issues in FP1, with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll setting personal bests on their final Q1 tours but ending up 17th and 19th around Williams pair Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.

Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Stroll face a post-qualifying investigation for possibly failing to follow the race director's instructions regarding the maximum lap time for out and in laps that is aimed at reducing traffic issues in qualifying.

Investigations into this issue at Monza and Qatar resulted in no further action as the drivers involved were found to have gone slowly to avoid impeding others.

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

1'34.723

209.524
2 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

+0.130

1'34.853

209.237
3 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.139

1'34.862

209.217
4 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.222

1'34.945

209.034
5 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.356

1'35.079

208.740
6 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.358

1'35.081

208.735
7 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+0.366

1'35.089

208.718
8 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+0.431

1'35.154

208.575
9 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.450

1'35.173

208.533
10 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.744

1'35.467

207.891
11 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.974

1'35.697

207.392
12 China G. Zhou Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+0.975

1'35.698

207.389
13 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+1.135

1'35.858

207.043
14 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+1.157

1'35.880

206.996
15 Australia D. Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+1.251

1'35.974

206.793
16 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+1.512

1'36.235

206.232
17 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.545

1'36.268

206.161
18 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+1.592

1'36.315

206.061
19 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.866

1'36.589

205.476
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes

+2.104

1'36.827

204.971