Vettel takes pole away from Webber in final seconds

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F1 Grand Prix, GP United States, Circuit of The Americasus

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the United States Grand Prix, going a tenth faster than his teammate in his second flying lap, seconds before the end of the session. Romain Grosjean will start from third.

By the start of qualifying the temperature has picked up a bit, making it a little bit easier to get heat into the hard tyres. The wind has picked up though so varying balance issues may be an issue throughout the session.

3 minutes into the session, 20 cars are out on track with only the Red Bulls still in the garage. Most cars are out initially on the harder tyres and it's intially Bottas who goes fastest, followed by Sutil, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Massa and Vergne. As drivers continue to run on the hard tyre to warm it up properly, Grosjean takes the lead with 9 minutes left on the clock, ahead of Bottas, Alonso, Hamilton, Perez, Kovalainen, Di Resta, Massa, Button and Gutierrez.

Meanwhile Pastor Maldonado has to take evasive action while on a hot lap as Gutierrez ahead of him was weaving across the track to warm up his own tyres.

With 8 minutes left, Vettel is finally out on track, moments after his teammate. Webber decisively takes P1 following just a single lap on the prime tyre and stays ahead of Vettel when he crosses the line. The difference between the two Red Bull drivers however is less than a tenth of a second.

Others are meanwhile coming out on the medium tyre. Hamilton soon takes the top of the timesheet with 2 minutes left on the clock. Gutierrez slots into second just a fraction quicker than Webber's time on the hards.

The final minutes are again tense, with Sutil unable to improve on his final lap. He was 17th and then missed his braking point into turn 1, ruining his chance to progress into Q2. The German complained of traffic immediately after that and parked his car alongside the straight with an apparent technical problem.

Bottas in the end managed to set the fastest time in Q1, topping Hamilton in the closing seconds. Eliminated are Sutil, Maldonado, Van der Garde, Bianchi, Pic and Chilton. This means only the Red Bull cars progressed through to Q2 while only using the hard tyres.

Q2 gets underway with Vergne being the first to take the track, ahead of Ricciardo, Gutierrez and Rosberg. Both Ferraris who struggled in Q1 are also out early. Red Bull and McLaren's cars on the other hand are still in the boxes. All drivers are out on the used medium tyres from Q1.

Halfway into the session, Hamilton tops the times, ahead of Perez, Di Resta, Bottas, Gutierrez, Alonso, Kovalainen, Button, Vergne and Ricciardo. Neither Red Bulls have yet set a time, along with Grosjean and Hulkenberg.

When the Bulls finally came out the simply topped the times, completing one flying lap each. Alonso set the third fastest time in Q2, ahead of Bottas, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Gutierrez, Perez and Kovalainen.

This means that Ricciardo is eliminated, along with Di Resta, Button, Rosberg, Massa and Vergne.

As Q3 kicks off, Perez, Bottas and Webber are straight out,a bit later also followed by Kovalainen who makes his first Q3 run since Japan 2009. Alonso, Hamilton and both Saubers are still waiting in the pits after 3 minutes of Q3.

When the first laps are run, Webber is faster than Vettel. Grosjean posted the third time, better than Perez and Kovalainen.

On the second attempts, Webber improved another 0.25s. Alonso slots into 5th, only to drop to the as Hamilton improved as well. Vettel in the end did manage to get pole as Mark Webber essentially lost his change for pole in S3 where he dropped 0.3s on his best time.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:38.5161:37.0651:36.33812
22Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:38.1611:37.3121:36.44114
38Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:38.6761:37.5231:37.15517
411Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:38.3391:37.8281:37.29620
510Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:37.9591:37.8541:37.34520
63Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:38.9291:37.3681:37.37619
76Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:38.3671:38.0401:37.45221
87Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1:38.3751:38.0781:37.71521
917Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:37.8211:37.4391:37.83624
1012Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:38.0821:38.0311:38.03420
1119Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:38.8821:38.131-18
1214Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:38.8941:38.139-18
135Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:38.5881:38.217-16
149Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:38.7431:38.364-19
154Felipe MassaFerrari1:39.0941:38.592-17
1618Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:38.8801:38.696-15
1715Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:39.250--10
1816Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:39.351--11
1921Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:40.491--10
2022Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:40.528--11
2120Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:40.596--10
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:41.401--10