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US GP: Hamilton snatches pole, Vettel to start fifth after qualifying

Written by  Oct 20, 2018

Lewis Hamilton secured a third straight pole position at the Circuit of the Americas as he came out on top in an epic qualifying battle for the United States Grand Prix.

Mercedes and Ferrari traded fastest sectors throughout the top 10 shoot-out but ultimately, it was the Briton's pace in the final sector on his last attempt that saw him finish on top, posting a new lap record with a 1m32.237s.

Sebastian Vettel finished just 0.061s down in second but his three-place grid penalty from Friday will see the German start fifth and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen move up onto the front row.

The Finn will also have the advantage of faster tyres having been the only one of the top four to use the Ultrasoft tyre in Q2 compared to the rest on Supersoft.

Valtteri Bottas will have work to do to play his 'wingman' role from third and Daniel Ricciardo will be the last benefactor of Vettel's penalty, moving upto fourth for Red Bull.

Problems for Max Verstappen meant Esteban Ocon could claim the 'best of the rest' position in sixth as the fierce Renault/Haas battle saw Nico Hulkenberg beat Romain Grosjean by just 0.035s in seventh and eighth respectively.

Charles Leclerc produced another strong performance to take ninth for Sauber with Sergio Perez ensuring both 'pink panthers' made Q3 in 10th.

In the other side of the Haas/Renault fight, Carlos Sainz missed out on the top 10 by just 0.002s in P11 and will Kevin Magnussen alongside in 12th.

Verstappen would be the creator of his own demise as the Dutchman broke his right-rear suspension over a yellow sausage kerb on the exit of Turn 15 during Q1 and was unable to make it out in Q2 meaning he will start 13th.

The two Toro Rosso's made it through to the second part of qualifying but engine and gearbox penalties for Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley mean they will drop to the back of the grid.

That promotes Fernando Alonso to 14th as both McLaren's were eliminated in Q1 with Stoffel Vandoorne slowest overall but will start 18th.

Sergey Sirotkin impressively secured the qualifying battle against Lance Stroll at Williams for this season and shall line up 15th with the Canadian.

Marcus Ericsson would end up 1.2 seconds slower than teammate Leclerc as he was knocked out in Q1 ahead of the aforementioned Vandoorne.

The full results from qualifying can be seen below:

 

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