Race Weekend Central

Carlos Sainz Takes Pole at COTA, Grid Penalties Morph Starting Order

Carlos Sainz took the pole for Sunday’s (Oct. 23) United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, the third pole of the Spaniard’s 2022 season to date.

“It was a long time coming after a few qualis in the dry getting very close to it, but not quite getting there,” Sainz said. “I think for tomorrow Red Bull are still [the] favorites. They normally have the better race pace, they normally get us in the race … but we’re going to do everything we can to try and stay ahead tomorrow and win the race.”

Sainz was followed on the stopwatch by Charles Leclerc, who picked up a 10-place grid penalty due to making an engine swap ahead of the weekend. Max Verstappen followed Leclerc with Sergio Perez in tow. Owing to Perez having a five-place penalty due to engine related adjustments, Lewis Hamilton will join Verstappen on the second row of the grid.

Behind Hamilton came George Russell, just over 0.400 seconds behind his teammate.

Six tenths back from Russell was Lance Stroll, followed by Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso, the latter of whom will join Perez in dropping five places on the grid due to an engine related penalty.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10, nearly two full seconds of the pace of Sainz.

Starting outside of their qualifying positions due to penalties will be: Perez (starting ninth), Leclerc (starting 12th), Alonso (starting 14th) and Zhou (starting 19th)


Q2 provided a healthy dose of parity for the American crowd in the form of the top six positions consistently being separated by less than a second with – for old time’s sake – Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes occupying the top positions.

The AlphaTauri duo of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were both eliminated from Q2 after Gasly failed to put together a fast lap and Tsunoda had an advancement-worthy lap eliminated due to a track limits violation.

Zhou Guanyu likewise lost a lap that would have pushed him through to Q3 for failing to keep the car on the racing surface. The Chinese driver’s elimination offered salvation for Norris, who otherwise would have been locked out of the top 10 shootout.

Eliminated from Q2 were:

Alex Albon
Sebastian Vettel
Pierre Gasly
Zhou Guanyu
Yuki Tsunoda


Tranquility prevailed throughout Q3 with no major incidents on track; a slow spin in turn 1 by Mick Schumacher proved the most hair-raising point of the session.

Haas F1 struggled for pace all the way through the first session of the day, only netting a disappointing 16th and 19th result in front of the team’s home crowd.

Eliminated from Q3 were:

Kevin Magnussen
Daniel Ricciardo
Esteban Ocon
Mick Schumacher
Nicholas Latifi

2022 United States Grand Prix Qualifying Results

The United States Grand Prix will take place on Sunday (Oct. 23), at 3 p.m. ET with coverage on ABC.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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