October 21, 2023

2023 USGP Day One – The Prancing Horse Ahead by Leaps and Bounds

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Lights out and away we go! The 11th Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix (USGP) weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) kicks off in the Lone Star State. 

Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing may have won the Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Cup for the season, but the fight for the final standings is still going. Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team is defending its fourth place standing, but McLaren Racing Limited is using DRS to surpass them on the leaderboard. After two months out of the seat due to a hand injury back in August, Texas’ golden child Daniel Ricciardo is back on the grid and ready to take on the USGP. 

F1 Academy joins the race action this weekend to crown their inaugural champion. The series hit the track first thing in the morning with two practice sessions. Marta García (PREMA Racing) completed Practice 1 with the fastest pace of 2:08. García kept her momentum going in Qualifying, finishing first in Session 1 and second in Session 2. Four other drivers stayed within the top five in both sessions, including Jessica Edgar and Abbi Pulling (RODIN Carlin), Nerea Marti (Mercantile Campos Racing), Lena Buhler (ART Grand Prix). With 18 broadcasters covering the race in over 100 territories, F1 Academy fans can experience the first and second race from home at 9:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. CT tomorrow, Oct. 21.  

Porsche Carrera Cup North America kicked off their eighth and final round of the season this morning with practice. #77 Travis Wiley (Topp Racing) recorded the fastest time at 2:08.188. #28 Bayley Hall (McElrea Racing) and #98 Alex Sedgwick (JDX Racing) came second and third, within one millisecond of each other. With Qualifying tomorrow morning at 8:35 a.m. CT, the Cup drivers will get set for their first race at 2:10 p.m. CT. 

Masters Historic rounds out the support series, with drivers completing their practice round this morning and switching gears in the afternoon for Qualifying. During the 30-minute Qualifying, Mike Cantillon set the fastest lap time in his Williams FW08 with a 2:04:202. Cal Meeker was a close second in his Tyrrell 009, followed by Charles Nearburg in his Williams FW07C. With exceptionally tight times between the three drivers that came out on top, fans can expect a battle for the first of two podiums tomorrow at 10:55 a.m. CT.

Drivers had only one practice session today, alongside Qualifying in the evening which still set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. In Free Practice 1, Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing) took the lead with Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari) only a tenth of a second behind him. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) and Sergio “Checo” Perez (Oracle Red Bull Racing) had a tight fight for third place in practice before Hamilton dominated and set the fastest middle sector. 

Formula 1 Qualifying started at 4 p.m. CT and quickly delivered action-packed racing with Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team) out in Q1 for the first time all season. Both Williams Racing drivers, Alex Albon and American Logan Sargeant, joined Alonso back in their garages. Q2 knocked Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo (Scuderia AlphaTauri) and Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Botas (Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake) out alongside the remaining Haas F1 Team driver, Kevin Magnussen. Finally, Q3 delivered the starting order Ferrari and Mercedes fans have been waiting for all year. Charles Leclerc will start from pole position on Sunday with Lando Norris (McLaren Racing Limited) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) rounding out the top three. Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) and George Russell (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) follow, with 2023 World Champion Max Verstappen starting his engine in a surprising sixth. Both Alpine F1 Team, Red Bull, and McLaren drivers made the top 10. 

Gates open at 8 a.m. CT and on-track action starts at 8:35 a.m. CT with Porsche Carrera Cup North America’s Qualifying session. For Formula 1, Saturday is dedicated to the first and only North American F1 Sprint. The Sprint Shootout, the session which sets the starting grid for the evening’s Sprint, starts at 12:30 p.m. CT. At 5 p.m. CT, drivers and teams have just 19 laps to score valuable points in the Sprint – truly an all-out-dash. 

Tonight, The Killers light up the Germania Insurance Super Stage in the infield and the city officially comes alive. Happy race week!

Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari) 

Lando Norris (McLaren Racing Limited) 

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) 

Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) 

George Russell (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) 

Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing) 

Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team) 

Estaban Ocon (BWT Alpine F1 Team) 

Sergio Perez (Oracle Red Bull Racing) 

Oscar Piastri (McLaren Racing Limited) 

Yuki Tsunoda (Scuderia AlphaTauri) 

Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake) 

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake) 

Kevin Magnussen (MoneyGram Haas F1 Team) 

Daniel Ricciardo (Scuderia AlphaTauri) 

Niko Hülkenberg (MoneyGram Haas F1 Team) 

Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team) 

Alex Albon (Williams Racing) 

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team) 

Logan Sargeant (Williams Racing)

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