Rosberg edges out Hamilton to take Austin pole

Rosberg USGP qualifying 2014

Championship contender Nico Rosberg achieved his ninth pole position of the Formula 1 season by edging out Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Mercedes driver outpaced his team-mate by 0.376 seconds thanks to a superb final Q3 lap.

Rosberg had the advantage over Hamilton during the first runs in Q3, and he improved by just over two tenths on his second attempt to consolidate P1.

Hamilton was behind Rosberg on the track, so still had his lap to complete, but was unable to improve despite setting the fastest final sector seen in qualifying.

Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Felipe Massa by three tenths as Williams took the second row, while Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo making a big improvement on his final run to grab fifth.

Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button, although the McLaren driver has to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Kevin Magnussen will benefit over his team-mate’s penalty despite being eighth quickest. At least he edged out Kimi Raikkonen by a tenth of a second.

While Adrian Sutil made it through to Q3, the first time a Sauber has reached the top ten shoot out this season.

Thanks to the absence of Caterham and Marussia – due to the financial crisis hitting these two teams – only four drivers were eliminated in each of the first two stages of qualifying.

Pastor Maldonado narrowly missed out on his first Q3 appearance, ending up P11 after losing an estimated two tenths of a second with a slide in the penultimate corner.

Behind him, Sergio Perez jumped Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg with his final flying lap to take P12.

Daniil Kvyat complained of tyre temperature problems after his out-lap was compromised by traffic and could only manage P14.

He will also be hit with a ten-place penalty for changing a power unit component, some of which must now be carried over to next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Jean-Eric Vergne missed out on making Q2 by just five hundredths of a second, the Toro Rosso driver ending up in P15 ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.

Sebastian Vettel, who completed a single run on soft tyres as he will start from the pits after a sixth power unit was fitted to his Red Bull, was P17.

Romain Grosjean was slowest having made a mistake on his sole lap on his final run, locking up the front-left wheel under braking for the left-hander at the end of the back straight and running off the track.

But even so, the Lotus driver suspected he would have been unable to advance to the next stage of qualifying because his car was not as competitive as it was during free practice.

So advantage Nico Rosberg at the United States Grand Prix. His 13th career pole position. Can he turn his championship around with race victory over Lewis Hamilton? Sunday’s race is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions at the Circuit of the Americas:

1 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m36.067s
2 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m36.443s
3 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.906s
4 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.205s
5 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m37.244s
6 Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    1m37.610s
7 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1m37.706s
8 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m37.804s
9 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    1m38.810s
10 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    1m38.467s
11 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m38.554s
12 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m37.655s*
13 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m38.598s
14 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m39.250s
15 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1m39.555s
16 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1m39.679s
17 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.699s**
18 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault    1m39.621s***

*Five-place penalty for gearbox change
**Five-place penalty for engine component change
***Pitlane start for taking sixth power unit

2 thoughts to “Rosberg edges out Hamilton to take Austin pole”

  1. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton admitted post qualifying that he was troubled by the brakes which affected his chance to challenge for pole position. has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton says that braking problems in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix cost him in his battle for pole position with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    Rosberg stormed to pole at Austin on Saturday, leaving Hamilton trailing by 0.376 seconds in the deciding Q3 session.

    Hamilton, who struggled with locking brakes throughout free practice three and qualifying, and even suffered a spin in the morning running, said that he had been held back by brake temperature problems.

    “Nico did a great job today,” said Hamilton. “I really struggled with braking.

    “The left brake was always around 100 degrees less than the right-front.

    “It kept catching. No matter what I did, it would still lock. That is perhaps where I was losing a lot of the time.”

    Hamilton admitted that his brakes could be problematic in the race on Sunday, while Rosberg said he hopes Mercedes can stay on top of the small problems that have affected both drivers this weekend.

    “If I cannot fix that left-front brake it will be a continuing issue in the race,” said Hamilton.

    “Flat spots can lead to blistering so I have to make sure I can try to fix that during this evening.”

    Rosberg added: “We have had a few issues in general this weekend on both cars, so we need to try to get it all right tomorrow.

    “Personally I am not worried about it at all. I am confident the team will get the job done and I just focus on what I can influence.”

  2. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has considered the idea to start the United States Grand Prix from the pit lane following an engine change penalty. has the details

    Fernando Alonso has revealed that Ferrari strongly considered taking an engine change penalty and starting the United States Grand Prix from the pitlane.

    Any driver going onto a sixth power unit in the 2014 Formula 1 season has to take a penalty, with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull opting to do so at Austin after it became inevitable that he would exceed the permitted number of Renault engines at some point in the final races.

    Alonso says Ferrari is in a similar position, but it should be able to get through the remaining races by using up mileage on older components.

    “We were a couple of tenths down on the engine because we have some limitations there after the Monza engine failure,” he said after qualifying sixth.

    “In fact we were discussing last week using the sixth engine and starting from the pitlane like Red Bull will, or using a very old engine with a little bit less power but at least we wouldn’t need to recover places.

    “We chose the second option, so probably we are missing a little bit of performance here and there.”

    Asked by AUTOSPORT if he thought he could get through the last three grands prix of 2014 within the five-engine limit, Alonso said Ferrari was on target and prioritising the Abu Dhabi finale.

    “We are doing all these things to not take the sixth,” he said.

    “If we can manage here and Brazil, then we must not have a penalty in Abu Dhabi because it is double points.

    “We have a better engine available. We need to put the better one in Abu Dhabi, so we’ll manage these races.

    “I think we’ll be OK. We have probably lost out today because of the power, but I’m still in my normal position of sixth.

    “I’d prefer to start sixth, a couple of tenths down because of power, rather than at the back.”

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