A CLEAN SWEEP ON SATURDAY FOR VERSTAPPEN IN AUSTIN
Max Verstappen was the dominant force in today’s Sprint in Austin. The three-time world champion made up for the disappointment of his performance in yesterday’s qualifying to take pole in the Shootout and then go on to win the Sprint, even though he faced stiff competition in both disciplines. In the flying lap battle, the Dutchman outpaced Charles Leclerc by a mere 55 thousandths, with Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris third and fourth, also very close behind – 69 and 101 thousandths respectively. The 19 lap race saw Verstappen close the door in forceful style on Leclerc at the start, which meant the Monegasque was also passed by Hamilton at the first corner. The English Mercedes driver tried to stay in touch with Verstappen for a few laps, even being able to use the DRS a few times, but then he had to give best, as his rival had better pace and was thus able to control the race to the chequered flag. Leclerc secured the final podium position and tomorrow the Monegasque will try to do better, as he starts from pole position.
THE DAY ON TRACK
The Medium compound was the most popular choice for the Sprint, used by the entire field bar one driver, Carlos Sainz, who took a gamble on the Soft. Of the other 19, only Hulkenberg and Albon opted to use a new set. The C3 showed signs of degradation that were in line with expectations, while Sainz’s use of the Softs has provided useful data on the behaviour of the C4 over a long run. The Spaniard made the most of the initial grip to move up a couple of places and from then on, he had to manage them very carefully to avoid a big drop in pace in the closing stages.
MARIO ISOLA - PIRELLI DIRECTOR OF MOTORSPORT
“It was an action-packed Saturday, as is always the case with the Sprint format. Unlike what we saw in Qatar a fortnight ago, the compound choice for the short race was almost unanimous, with just Sainz going it alone, eschewing the Medium in favour of the Soft. The Spaniard went on to finish in the same position from which he had started but apart from that, his race allowed us and his Ferrari team to acquire important information about the behaviour of the C4 over a long run, which had not been possible in yesterday’s free practice.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s race, we can say that a two stop will be the favourite strategy, running a combination of Medium and Hard, depending on how many sets of the two compounds each driver has available. Looking at the starting grid, we can definitely expect a good battle at the front and, who knows, maybe a few surprises!”
Marta Garcia is the first ever champion of the all-women’s F1 Academy series. Driving for the Italian Prema Racing team, she took the title with a win in the first of the three races on the schedule. The Austin round is the last of the series, which is run using Pirelli tyres.
The Spaniard started from pole and kept the lead from start to finish of the 12 lap race, picking up enough points to put the title out of reach of her pursuers. Joining her on the podium for Race 1 were Abbi Pulling (Rodin Carlin) and Lena Buhler (ART Grand Prix), with the prizes given out by George Russell.
Today’s second race did not go so well for Garcia, as she failed to make it to the chequered flag, as she had to retire with a broken front wing, following a collision with another car. The win went to Hamda Al Qubaisi (MP Motorsport), followed across the line by Lena Buhler and Jessica Edgar (Rodin Carlin).
For both prizegiving ceremonies, the first three in each race wore the iconic Pirelli podium cap, specially personalised for the final round with the violet colours of the F1 Academy.
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.