United States GP: Hamilton claims commanding pole as Vettel steals P2

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Everything went exactly as expected for Lewis Hamilton, as the Briton's dominance in Practice continued in Qualifying with pole position for Sunday's United States Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver kept lowering the bar throughout the session but his first flying lap in Q3 would be enough as a new lap record time of 1:33.108s saw the triple world champion untroubled by his rivals at the Circuit of the Americas.

Under pressure, Sebastian Vettel delivered once again leaving until his final run to jump ahead of Valtteri Bottas onto the front row of the grid but was still a quarter of a second shy of his championship rival.

The Finn will line-up third and will have Daniel Ricciardo for company as the Australian also produced an excellent final lap which would be matched by the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, but because the Red Bull driver set his time first, he will start from fourth position.

Raikkonen would have had Max Verstappen alongside, but engine penalties will see the Dutchman drop down the order with Esteban Ocon moving up to sixth for Force India, as an excellent lap saw the Frenchman lead the midfield for the first time this weekend.

Two Spaniard's will fill Row 4 as Carlos Sainz also impressed in his first qualifying for Renault to start seventh with Fernando Alonso squeezing every ounce of performance from his McLaren to make Q3, despite a top speed deficit of some 12 miles per hour down the back straight.

Sergio Perez gave Force India another great platform to score a 14th double points finish of the year, with the Mexican the final top 10 driver but will start ninth.

One disappointed man will be Felipe Massa as the Brazilian had been regularly near to if not the lead midfield car in Practice, but in Qualifying would be squeezed out of Q3 in the closing seconds of the second segment by Alonso and Sainz. The only benefit is the Williams will have a free choice of tyres and will start from P10.

On a day of good performances, Daniil Kvyat's return with Toro Rosso was notable as the young Russian will start 11th after being 12th quickest overall. He would also beat his one-off teammate Brendon Hartley but 1.3 seconds proving experience really does count.

The end of Q1 saw an incredibly tight fight between the likes of Haas, Sauber, Hartley and Lance Stroll. In fact, just 0.05s would cover the four drivers from P15 to P18 on the timings.

Romain Grosjean would be the lucky one to go through to Q2 and with the penalties moved up to 12th for Haas ahead of Marcus Ericsson, as the Swede was another who punched a little higher than expected for Sauber.

Stroll was a disappointment, however, as he would be knocked out in the first part of Qualifying despite having tested at COTA earlier in the year. Misfortune for others will help the Canadian as he starts 14th in the Williams.

Pascal Wehrlein will line up 15th with Kevin Magnussen not only bottom of the timings but under investigation for blocking Perez in Q1, which could earn the Dane a further punishment.

Finally, come the four drivers with penalties with Max Verstappen 17th, Stoffel Vandoorne 18th, Nico Hulkenberg 19th and Brendon Hartley completing the grid.

Search