Qualifying masterclass from Hamilton at Circuit of the Americas

Lewis Hamilton achieved his 72nd Formula 1 pole position with a masterclass performance in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was fastest in all three segments of qualifying, ending up 0.239 seconds clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel.

This was despite a poor final sector from Hamilton’s second Q3 run preventing him from improving, meaning the one minute, 33.108 seconds he set on his first attempt was good enough for pole.

Vettel was only fourth on the first runs in Q3, but he recovered with a strong second lap to jump ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who also lost time in the final sector and did not improve on his first run time.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest thanks to setting his lap time before Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the duo setting identical marks of one minute, 33.577 seconds.

Max Verstappen, who has a 15-place grid penalty, was sixth quickest and is the only driver from the top ten in qualifying who will start on super-softs rather than ultra-softs having used the slower Pirelli compound to set his Q2 time.

Esteban Ocon was seventh fastest, a second off Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz Jr completed only one run in Q3 thanks to only having one set of fresh ultra-softs, ending up eighth.

Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez – who only had used tyres for his first Q3 run – rounded out the top ten.

Felipe Massa was eliminated in Q2 after a late improvement from Perez, missing out by less than half-a-tenth and ending up P11.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was P12 ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, who has a five-place grid penalty thanks to the upgraded Honda power unit that was introduced at the start of the US GP weekend, and Romain Grosjean.

Nico Hulkenberg ended qualifying P15 having opted not to run in Q2 for what the team described as “strategic” reasons because of his 20-place grid penalty for engine component changes.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was the quickest of the drivers to be eliminated in Q1, missing out thanks to being just seven-thousandths slower than Grosjean.

That put him ahead of Lance Stroll, who complained over the radio of a deployment problem on his final run that he subsequently said cost him eight-tenths on the back straight.

The Williams driver is also being investigated by race stewards for impeding Grosjean, having jinked to his right and off the track while the Haas driver was attempting to go around the outside of him near the end of the lap.

Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley, who has a 25-place grid penalty, was P18 having briefly lifted himself out of the dropzone early in the final-run flurry before being shuffled back.

The New Zealander was ultimately only 0.054 seconds off a place in Q2, having lapped eighth-tenths slower than team-mate Kvyat’s Q1 time.

Pascal Wehrlein was P19 for Sauber, with Kevin Magnussen slowest for Haas.

Magnussen is also being investigated by stewards for impeding Perez through Turns 13/14.

So a commanding performance by Lewis Hamilton. Quickest in all the practice sessions,

Congratulations Hamilton on setting a new track records, his 72nd pole in the sport and his 117 front row. Impressive set of achievements.

Qualifying positions, United States Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m33.108s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m33.347s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m33.568s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m33.577s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m33.577s
6    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m34.647s
7    Carlos Sainz    Renault    1m34.852s
8    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m35.007s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m35.148s
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m35.155s
11    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m35.529s
12    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m35.870s
13    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m36.842s
14    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.868s
15    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m35.641s
16    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m37.179s
17    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m37.394s
18    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m33.658s
19    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    –    –
20    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m36.889s

6 thoughts on “Qualifying masterclass from Hamilton at Circuit of the Americas

  1. United States Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton eased to pole for Mercedes in Saturday’s qualifying for the 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, but Sebastian Vettel will have every chance of keeping his title hopes alive tomorrow after putting his Ferrari second on the grid, three-tenths down on the championship leader.

    In the second Mercedes Valtteri Bottas took third, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen, who set identical times for Red Bull and Ferrari respectively. Max Verstappen, facing a 15-place grid penalty, was sixth, followed by Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

    Carlos Sainz was eighth in his first qualifying session for new team Renault, while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Force India’s Sergio Perez completed the top ten.

    As Hamilton lapped in 1m 34.822s in windier conditions in Q1, to pip Verstappen’s 1m 34.899s, it looked for a moment as if rookie Brendon Hartley would get through to Q2 in his Toro Rosso. But in moments his 1m 36.889s lap was displaced and he dropped from 15th to 18th.

    As Haas’s Romain Grosjean, having survived a near miss with Williams’ Lance Stroll, made it through to 15th place, the fallers were Marcus Ericsson on 1m 36.842s for Sauber, Stroll on 1m 36.868s with an engine problem, Hartley, Pascal Wehrlein who had set a very good first time to go fastest initially but thereafter only improved slightly to 1m 37.179s for Sauber, and Kevin Magnussen, on 1m 37.394s for Haas.

    Stewards penalised Magnussen with a three-place grid drop for impeding Perez after Haas mistakenly told him that the Force India behind was not on a fast lap. Stroll is also under investigation for allegedly impeding Grosjean.

    Mercedes set a huge pace in the second phase, in the 1m 33s thanks to Hamilton and Bottas; they both improved again towards the end, when Raikkonen joined them but Vettel couldn’t break the 1m 34s. Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, Sainz, Alonso and Ocon followed.

    In the closing stages drivers went up and down the order, but when the music stopped it was Felipe Massa who had the 11th chair for Williams with 1m 35.155s, ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso on 1m 35.529s, Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren on 1m 35.641s and Grosjean’s Haas on 1m 35.870s. Nico Hulkenberg did not record a lap for Renault, saving his new engine for the race.

    Hamilton kept up the pace with 1m 33.108s on his first run on Q3, though Bottas set a faster first sector time. The Finn dropped back on the other two, however, but was second on 1m 33.568s as Raikkonen, Vettel and Verstappen were all right together, on 1m 33.852s, 1m 33.867s and 1m 33.868s respectively. Ricciardo was sixth, on 1m 34.130s.

    Vettel was the big improver with 1m 33.347s on the second runs, jumping to second ahead of Bottas, who did not protect his team mate as he failed to go faster. Neither did Hamilton, with 1m 33.229s, but 1m 33.108s was good enough for his 72nd pole.

    Behind Bottas in third place, Ricciardo did a great job to beat Raikkonen, though they shared the same lap time of 1m 33.577s, while Verstappen could only muster 1m 33.658s on this occasion, for sixth.

    Ocon yet again showed his class with 1m 33.647s for seventh ahead of Sainz, who was delighted to place eighth on his Renault debut with 1m 33.852s.

    Alonso couldn’t quite make the 1m 33s, and was ninth on 1m 34.007s, as Perez completed the top 10 for Force India with 1m 34.148s.

    In addition to Magnussen, several other drivers already have grid penalties for Sunday’s race, all for use of additional power unit elements: Verstappen, 15 places; Hulkenberg, 20 places; Hartley, 15 places; and Vandoorne, 5 places.

  2. Kevin Magnussen has been handed a three-place grid penalty for having impeded Sergio Perez in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.

    Force India driver Perez complained on the radio during Q1 after being blocked by Magnussen through Turn 13 and 14

    “I had to use an extra set of tyres, which meant I went into Q3 with a single [fresh] set, so that hurt me a lot,” said Perez, who went on to qualify in 10th position.

    “He didn’t do it on purpose, but they are quite often, him or Haas, getting it wrong. So I think it’s something they have to improve at.”

    Magnussen said afterwards that his Haas team had mistakenly told him that Perez was not on a flying lap and admitted the penalty was expected.

    “I was told that he was on an out-lap so I didn’t let him through, so I can understand if he’s pretty angry with that,” he told Sky.

    “I can only say it was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I definitely impeded his lap so that gives you a penalty, so I’m expecting a penalty.”

    As a result, Magnussen was given a three-place grid penalty and a penalty point for a total of eight over the past 12 months.

    “The driver of car 20 admitted he had impeded car 11, and the team admitted it had inadvertently incorrectly advised the driver that PER was on an out-lap. The driver and team apologised to the driver of car 11 for the error,” said the stewards.

    Despite the penalty, Magnussen – who had qualified last – is set to start from 18th position thanks to the penalties to drivers ahead of him.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. This was a disappointing qualifying session for Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Malaysian Grand Prix winner admitted this effort was one of his worst so far this season. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen believes his qualifying performance at the United States Grand Prix was one of his worst of the 2017 Formula 1 season.

    The Red Bull driver went into qualifying at Austin facing a 15-place grid penalty due to engine component changes, and managed to advance from Q2 with the supersoft tyre, meaning he will be able to start the race on the more durable compound to help his chances of progressing from the back of the field.

    However, Verstappen was frustrated to only be sixth-fastest in Q3, even though that was less than a tenth down on teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

    “I made some mistakes in Q3, it’s as simple as that,” Verstappen told TV crews after the session, adding that he felt he had the pace to match front-row starter Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

    “It’s easy to say now that I should have been up there, but if you make two reasonably big mistakes, it’s not what you want.

    “I’m not happy with myself, and it’s one of the worst qualifyings of the year for me.”

    Verstappen said the errors he made were a result of trying to claw back time he lost earlier in his final lap.

    “It was tricky out there,” he said. “You try a little bit more on the last run, you have a little moment, then the next corner is also not great.

    “[The lap is] basically ruined, then in the last sector you try to recover a little bit of the lost laptime and you lock up again. Not ideal.”

    The 20-year-old also played down his chances of charging through the field and rejoining the battle with the leading cars on Sunday, saying that any advantage from the harder tyre for the first stint will likely be negated by having to run in traffic.

    “The first few laps you normally lose quite a few seconds on them [the leaders],” he said. “I’ll try to at least come back to sixth.”

  4. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas admitted that he was struggling with the brakes during qualifying compared to team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Valtteri Bottas admitted he struggled on the brakes compared to Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton in US Grand Prix qualifying, after lapping nearly half a second slower in Q3.

    After a difficult day of practice on Friday, where he ended up more than six tenths down running a different set-up to Hamilton, Bottas closed to within 0.214s of his teammate in final practice at Austin on Saturday.

    But Bottas remained behind in qualifying and fell further away in the final stages, ending up 0.460s down on Hamilton and knocked off the front row of the grid by a late improvement from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.

    Bottas lost most of the time in the final sector of the Austin circuit and said he’d been struggling under braking, particularly in Turn 13 and 15 – the slow-speed hairpins.

    “Definitely the last sector in qualifying, I did struggle more,” Bottas admitted. “It felt more tricky, for some reason, in some of the practice sessions.

    “There have been things I have been struggling with – brake modulation and locking, transferring weight. I have struggled to get it together and many times 13 and 15 I lost a bit of time – those are the longest corners.

    “Sometimes I got it right, but even so I couldn’t match Lewis in terms of cornering speeds, etc. It was looking good for us, and quite close with Lewis, so disappointed.”

    Bottas has struggled to find consistent form in recent races, and hasn’t beaten Hamilton in qualifying since July’s Hungarian GP.

    “It was not easy session, every lap a bit different,” Bottas added. “There was no big mistake, there was just this big gap.

    “The first run felt okay. Lewis managed to gain more from Q2 to Q3, [but] I couldn’t find any track improvements [and] I couldn’t improve in the second run.

    “It was quite tricky session with the wind, we have been making big set-up changes in the weekend, have been making car quicker, but tricky to drive – for me at least.

    “The laps felt good, but just couldn’t go quicker.”

  5. Lance Stroll has been penalised for blocking Romain Grosjean in Formula 1 qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.

    Grosjean had to take avoiding action at high speed between the final corners on a flying lap in Q1, as Stroll attempted to move out of his way to the right, when the Haas driver was already taking to that side to try to pass.

    An FIA statement said: “The stewards examined multiple angles of video evidence, including CCTV not available on the broadcast and radio calls to car 18, and heard from Lance Stroll, the driver of car 18, Romain Grosjean, the driver of car 8 and the team representatives.

    “Stroll was on a slow lap, Grosjean on a fast lap. Stroll was changing settings under direction of his engineer and got a very late call about Grosjean overtaking.

    “Stroll immediately moved right and off the track, but Grosjean was already outside track limits and made the decision to overtake on the right, as Stroll moved right.

    “It was obvious Stroll was not able to see Grosjean approaching in his mirrors, and he stated he could not move to the left as Kvyat was passing him on that side.

    “The stewards believe Stroll did what he could in the circumstances but nevertheless this was potentially a very dangerous situation as the speed differential between the two cars was in excess of 100 km/h at the apex of Turn 19.

    “The stewards believe the team should have given Stroll more advance warning that Grosjean was approaching rapidly.”

    While Grosjean recovered from the run-in to progress to Q2 by 0.007s, Stroll was eliminated in the first segment, having posted the 17th-quickest time and reporting an engine deployment issue.

    Despite his three-place grid penalty, the Canadian is set to start 16th, benefitting from penalties for Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Brendon Hartley.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  6. Championship rival Sebastian Vettel had to settle with second on the grid but admitted this qualifying form was “closer than expected” to Lewis Hamilton’s pole position. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel feels he was “closer than expected” to title rival Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix.

    Ferrari driver Vettel was seven tenths adrift of pace-setter Hamilton both in Q1 and Q2, and trailed the Mercedes man by the same margin after the opening laps in the final segment.

    He was down in fourth at that point, behind the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and his own teammate Kimi Raikkonen as well, only to improve significantly on his second run and secure the runner-up spot.

    “I think we are very happy with the result, it is crucial to get the final run,” said Vettel, having ended up 0.239s behind pole-sitter Hamilton.

    “I didn’t find rhythm straight away in qualifying, struggled a bit in a few corners, then got it right in the final run.

    “In the end we were closer than expected. For tomorrow, if the car behaves like today, it should be good.”

    The German conceded his first run in Q3 had been sub-par, and said he was aware he faced the risk of being outqualified by all the other drivers from the championship’s top three teams.

    “I struggled a bit into Turn 8, the wind was quite tricky all day. Morning was fine and afternoon I started on wrong foot.

    “My first lap in Q3 was pretty poor so I knew I had to deliver. Without that it could have been P6 or something, so the timing was just right.”

    Vettel hadn’t enjoyed a straightforward US GP race weekend in the lead-up to qualifying, as issues in practice led to Ferrari making an overnight chassis change.

    “A big job overnight but the team was fantastic. The mechanics now have had a couple of weekends in a row with a lot of work and last-minute engine changes, chassis change.

    “It is a record time to change, which isn’t what we want – but today I was much happier with the car, glad it worked out.”

    Having narrowly led Vettel after the first Q3 runs, Raikkonen couldn’t improve as much as his teammate on the final attempt.

    He ended up fifth, losing out also to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had set an identical time but posted it earlier.

    “I think it was quite OK,” Raikkonen said. “The car was better than it has been so far this weekend.

    “I was quite happy in most of the places. there were few places I struggled to turn round a bit the car and ended up losing time.

    “Some laps I got it a bit better in those places but mostly not. I felt I struggled in those places.

    “Without that I think we had pretty decent speed. It would be nice to be higher up but I’m quite happy with the car, I just lost time in some corners where I had some difficulties.”

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