2023 USGP Day Two – Don’t Stop Max Now
Day two of the most anticipated weekend in Austin, Texas, delivered with Porsche Carrera Cup North America’s Qualifying and first race, more racing for F1 Academy and crowning of the inaugural champion, Masters Historic first race, and the first (and only) F1 Sprint in North America.
Porsche Carrera Cup took to the track first for their Qualifying session in which drivers battled wheel-to-wheel to set the fastest lap. #17 Tom Sargent (McElrea Racing), at just 20 years old, obtained pole position for the race in the afternoon. 21-year-old #53 Riley Dickinson (Kelleymoss Racing) ended up with the win, extending his lead among the Pro leaderboard with Sargent sitting second in points.
Marta García (PREMA Racing) dominated Race 1 for F1 Academy, securing her seat as the first-ever F1 Academy Champion. Hamda Al Qubaisi (MP Motorsport) started in pole position as Race 2 began in reverse grid order. Al Qubaisi kept that momentum and claimed victory, getting closer to Léna Bühler (ART Grand Prix) in the points race for second. The last race of the 2023 season begins Sunday, Oct. 22 at 9:40 a.m. CT.
Masters Historic kicked off their competition with their first race of two, the second occurring tomorrow morning. #14 Cal Meeker (Tyrrell 009) secured first place after a tight race against #27 Charles Nearburg (Williams FW07C) with a gap of just 0.511 seconds. Fastest lap went to #6 Mike Cantillon (Williams FW08) with a time of 2:03.162 on Lap 3.
Austin fans then saw the first F1 Sprint west of the Atlantic. The Sprint Shootout went lights out at 12:30 p.m. CT to decide the Sprint race grid for later. Shootout 1 ended with both Haas F1 Team drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, out alongside Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake), Yuki Tsunoda (Scuderia AlphaTauri), and Logan Sargeant (Williams Racing).
In Shootout 2, 2023 F1 World Champion Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing) spun as he came around Turn 9, but still managed to keep P1 into Shootout 3. Daniel Ricciardo (Scuderia AlphaTauri) made his comeback from a significant hand injury this weekend and took P11 after a hard fight for a spot in the last qualifying session.
Shootout 3 ended with Verstappen on pole, Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari) starting second, and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) third. The McLaren Racing Limited drivers, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, followed to round out the top five.
The grid started their formation lap at 5 p.m. CT for the first-ever F1 Sprint in North America. The first of just 19 laps allowed Hamilton to grab second place from Leclerc when Verstappen pushed him wide, while Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) took the lead over Norris and Piastri.
Wheel-to-wheel fights began immediately with Sergio “Checo” Perez (Oracle Red Bull Racing) and George Russell (Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) testing their mettle against Piastri and successfully passing him by Lap 4. However, Russell incurred a penalty after leaving the track to pass the Australian rookie with Mercedes protesting the added five seconds, claiming Piastri forced him out of the white lines.
Though Piastri took his first win in Formula 1 just two weeks ago at the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint, the 22-year-old quickly fell down the field to tenth and earned his own five-second penalty for leaving track limits. Alex Albon (Williams Racing) also struggled to stay on the asphalt, receiving a warning on Lap 10. On the same lap, Norris took fourth place from Sainz, completing a move he’d been preparing for since lights out. Perez followed Norris’ lead and promptly took fifth from Sainz on Lap 11.
Sainz remained determined and met a charging Russell move for move into Turn 1, where one year ago the British driver ended the Ferrari’s pole start on the first lap. Going into Lap 17, just two to go until the checkered flag, Lance Stroll returned to the pits and retired, having lost his brakes. Meanwhile, Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake) picked up a five second penalty for an incident between him and Verstappen.
Sainz held fast over the line where Gasly overtook Russell for a seventh-place finish. Verstappen took the win for the first ever F1 Sprint on American soil with Hamilton and Leclerc rounding out the podium. Norris took fourth, Perez fifth, Sainz sixth, Gasly seventh, Russell eighth, Albon ninth, and Piastri took tenth. Only the top eight gain valuable points, each point invaluable in deciding standings for drivers and teams this late in the season.
Queen + Adam Lambert will bring a kind of magic tonight at the Germania Insurance Super Stage as they perform their greatest hits. Tomorrow, gates open at 8 a.m. CT and on-track action starts at 8:35 a.m. CT with Masters Historic’s second race. F1 Academy will wrap up their season with their third race, broadcast live for the first time through 18 broadcasters and across 100 territories. Porsche Carrera Cup North America will name its champion tomorrow after their second race of the weekend. At 2 p.m. CT, it’s lights out and the 2023 Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix is on.