RACE DEBRIEF

    Qualifying in Austin proved to be a thriller, with drizzle arriving on the final flying laps in Q3 to add an extra dimension to proceedings. Mercedes and Red Bull were evenly matched throughout, going toe to toe in each segment but in the end it was Max Verstappen who came out on top, with his ninth pole of the season. Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second, with Sergio Perez in third missing out on what at one point looked like being his maiden pole position. Here are some of the best qualifying facts and stats from F1’s return to Austin…

    • Max Verstappen scores his first ever front row in Austin with pole, which is also Red Bull’s first front row here since 2013.

    • Mercedes fail to take pole here for the first time in the hybrid era.

    READ MORE: Verstappen pips Hamilton to pole position with sensational final lap in Austin

    • Verstappen has won five times from his last seven pole positions, and collided with Hamilton in the other two (in Silverstone and Monza).

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    This is the first time Mercedes haven't scored pole here in the hybrid era

    • Lewis Hamilton’s P2 makes it the seventh time the title rivals have shared the front row this season.

    • Sergio Perez starts P3, his third top three start of 2021, and his first ever top four start in the USA.

    • Red Bull missed out on a front row lock out by just 0.015s.

    • Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth but will start ninth thanks to a grid penalty - his third grid penalty in the last four races.

    • Charles Leclerc’s inherited fourth makes this back to back races he has started in the top four.

    READ MORE: Alonso set for back of the grid start in the US Grand Prix after changing PU components

    • Carlos Sainz’s P5 on the grid makes it the first time Ferrari have two cars in the top five since Azerbaijan 11 races ago.

    • Daniel Ricciardo keeps alive his top 10 streak here, having made Q3 every year since 2012.

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    Ricciardo has never qualified outside the top 10 at this track

    • Lando Norris starts seventh, the same position he started in Turkey – which is also where he has finished the last two races.

    • Pierre Gasly’s eighth is his best starting slot in Austin.

    • Yuki Tsunoda made it to Q3 for back to back top 10 starting slots, with this the fifth time he has made Q3 this season.

    • Sebastian Vettel hasn’t made it to Q3 for five races, but starts down the back of the field thanks to grid penalties.

    • Lance Stroll exited in Q1 for the third time out of the four race weekends he has been here.

    • Kimi Raikkonen hasn’t made it out of Q1 since Hungary back at the end of July.

    READ MORE: Zak Brown Q&A - On the Monza 1-2, racing in the US, and McLaren's path back to the top