Race Weekend Central

Charles Leclerc Takes Pole at COTA After Max Verstappen Track Limits Violation

Charles Leclerc took his third pole of the 2023 season for the United States Grand Prix after a track limits violation by Max Verstappen.

Verstappen put in a final hot lap better than Leclerc’s, but his lap time was deleted after a track limits violation in turn 19. Verstappen ended up qualifying only sixth on the strength of his banker lap.

Lando Norris was able to qualify alongside Leclerc on the front row, while Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top three in third.

Leclerc’s pole didn’t come without a little bit of confusion on the cool-down lap.

“Lap time deleted… for Verstappen,” was the message from Leclerc’s race engineer over the radio. Leclerc punched his helmet and his steering wheel before the clarification.

“For f***s sake, tell me the name before,” Leclerc yelled in response. “I had a heart attack on the track.”

Cooler heads prevailed a few minutes later in the podium interview, and Leclerc was all smiles.

“As a team, we did a great job,” Leclerc started. “We know that in this Sprint weekend [format], it is more important than ever to have a clean FP1 and we did. We started with a strong base.”

See also
The Pit Straight: It's Time to Talk About Lance Stroll


Verstappen wasn’t the lone driver to run afoul of track limits violations. Both Norris and George Russell had lap times deleted in Q3. Unlike Verstappen, however, the violations only occurred on their banker laps.

Pos.Car #DriverTeamTime from Leader
2.4NorrisMcLaren Mercedes+0.130
4.55Carlos SainzFerrari+0.222
6.1VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT+0.358
7.10Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault+0.366
8.31Esteban OconAlpine Renault+0.431
9.11Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT+0.450
10.81Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes+0.744


There were no wrecks or spins in this or any of the other three qualifying rounds.

Pos.Car #DriverTeamTime from Advancing
11.22Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda RBPT+0.018
12.24Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari+0.019
13.77Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari+0.179
14.20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari+0.201
15.3Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri Honda RBPT+0.295


Nico Hulkenberg had his final hot lap deleted due to a track limits violation in turn 19. He ended up qualifying 16th, right in front of Fernando Alonso; it’s the first Q1 exit for Alonso all year.

Pos.Car #DriverTeamTime from Advancing
16.27HulkenbergHaas Ferrari+0.022
17.14AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes+0.055
18.23Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes+0.102
19.18Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes+0.376
20.2Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes+0.614

2023 F1 United States Grand Prix Qualifying Results

This weekend marks the fifth F1 Sprint weekend of the year. Lights out for the Sprint will come at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 10.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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