The Malta Independent 16 April 2024, Tuesday
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Ferrari sweeps qualifying for Las Vegas Grand Prix, but penalty to Sainz drops him to 12th

Saturday, 18 November 2023, 10:41 Last update: about 6 months ago

 Ferrari rebounded from a disastrous first day of the Las Vegas Grand Prix with a Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. sweep of Friday night qualifying.

Only it does not translate into a 1-2 start in Saturday night's race for the two Ferrari drivers. Sainz is in a backup car because his Ferrari was badly damaged when he ran over a drainage valve cover in Thursday night’s opening practice.

Because he needed to move to a backup car for the rest of the weekend, Sainz was penalized 10 spots on the starting grid and will instead start 12th on Saturday night. Ferrari tried to argue against the penalty because the damage to the car was caused by the track surface, but the FIA had no provision in its rules to grant an exception.

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After winning the pole, Leclerc's image was broadcast on The Sphere that overlooks the 3.85-mile (6.2 kilometer) street circuit that utilizes a large portion of the Strip.

Max Verstappen, who is seeking an 18th win of the season on Saturday night, qualified third for Red Bull.

George Russell was fourth for Mercedes and followed by Pierre Gasly of Alpine. Williams teammates Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant were sixth and seventh and it was the best qualifying effort of the season for American rookie Sargeant.

Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and McLaren drivers Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri were eliminated in the first round.

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