Nico Rosberg has taken his ninth pole position of the season ahead of Championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas for the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton was a hot favourite heading into qualifying after topping all three free practice sessions, however it became clear in the second stage of qualifying that Rosberg had been holding back throughout the weekend.
Brake temperatures seemed to be an issue for Hamilton as he was continuously locking up in heavy braking zones during his flying lap times, which ultimately lead him to be just under four-tenths off Rosberg’s best time. His front-left brakes were 100 degrees cooler than his right which may have implications come the race tomorrow.
The two Williams drivers were next in the pecking order with Bottas out-qualifying his team-mate Felipe Massa by three-tenths of a second to finish in the top three for the sixth time in the past eight races. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the first of the non-Mercedes powered cars a fraction behind in fifth position.
The absence of Caterham and Marussia meant that four cars were eliminated at the end of Q1 and Q2. Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez, Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean were the first casualties of Qualifying. Vettel made an appearance by completing one lap to meet the 107% rule, as he will be starting from the pit lane due to a power unit and gearbox change.
The two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg seemed to be fighting for the last spot in the top 10 at the closing stages of Q2, however, they were both usurped by the Sauber of Adrian Sutil, who made his first Q3 appearance this season.
Pastor Maldonado also managed to pass the Force India pair to end Q2 in eleventh while Daniil Kvyat finished fourteenth. Kvyat required a seventh internal combustion engine change this weekend meaning he incurs a 10-place grid penalty, and he’ll carry over the penalty to the next race in Brazil as he can’t complete the full ten-place grid drop in one hit.
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen made it into Q3, continuing on their good form from Russia. They were sandwiched between the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso in sixth and Kimi Raikkonen in ninth.
Sutil rounded out the top 10 after only completing a single lap at the end of Q3; he will move up to ninth position after Button takes his five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
The Swede beat home Felipe Massa, who was eliminated from Q1 after his Williams suffered a suspected loss of fuel pressure. Massa was chased by the sister Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi. Pastor Maldonado and Max Chilton were the two slowest runners in the session.
2014 United States Formula 1 Grand Prix – Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:36.067||20|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:36.443||+ 0.376||16|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:36.906||+ 0.839||19|
|4.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:37.205||+ 1.138||20|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:37.244||+ 1.157||17|
|6.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:37.610||+ 1.543||16|
|7.||Jenson Button^||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:37.655||+ 1.588||17|
|8.||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:37.706||+ 1.639||16|
|9.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:37.804||+ 1.737||22|
|10.||Adrian Sutil||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:38.810||+ 2.743||15|
|Q3 Cut-Off: 1:38.378||Time||Gap*||Laps|
|11.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:38.467||+ 2.186||16|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:38.554||+ 2.264||16|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:38.598||+ 2.308||16|
|14.||Daniil Kvyat^||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:38.699||+ 2.409||17|
|Q2 Cut-Off: 1:42.546||Time||Gap**||Laps|
|15.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:39.250||+ 2.054||10|
|16.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:39.555||+ 2.359||10|
|17.||Sebastian Vettel^||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:39.621||+ 2.425||3|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:39.679||+ 2.483||8|
* Gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:36.290 by Nico Rosberg
** Gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:37.196 by Lewis Hamilton
^ Button qualified P7, drops 5 grid places for gearbox change; Kvyat qualified P14, drops 10 grid places for engine change; Vettel qualified P17, starts from pit lane for complete power unit change.
Images via XPB Images