Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas secures F1 US GP pole in a crucial grand prix ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The first part of F1 US GP qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas saw McLaren’s Lando Norris head the way from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in the Top 3 after the late quick lap from the British racer.
It was a close fight for a place in the Q2 as Haas’ Romain Grosjean made it through by a mere 0.065s margin over Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m34.226s), who was only 16th ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen (1m34.369s).
Both the Alfa Romeo drivers were knocked out then with Williams’ George Russell (1m35.372s) slotting in 18th from Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (1m35.808s), who did not ran much due to his penalty, as Robert Kubica (1m35.889s) was 20th.
The strategy game was on in the second part of F1 US GP qualifying with both the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers opted to set their best time on the medium compound, while Red Bull chose to split with Verstappen on medium and Alexander Albon on soft.
Albon was eventually beaten by the Ferrari drivers with Charles Leclerc going quickest from Sebastian Vettel in the Top 3. It was another close fight in the closing stages with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m33.815s) missing out in 11th.
It was Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat originally in 11th but his lap time was deleted for track limits after his scuffle with Verstappen and Hamilton. The FIA noted the incident where Hamilton went in between Verstappen (on the right) and Kvyat (on the left).
However, no action was taken as the Russian dropped to 13th with a 1m33.989s behind Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m33.979s). Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (1m34.100s) was 14th with Haas’ Grosjean (1m34.158s) slotting in 15th.
The third part in F1 US GP qualifying had Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas taking provisional pole with a 1m32.029s with Vettel and Verstappen in second and third respectively. It was an anti-climax end to the qualifying with no real improvements.
It was Bottas in the end with US GP pole, his fifth of the 2019 F1 season as he now needs to win the grand prix while hope Hamilton has a disastrous run to keep the title alive until Brazil GP. The Finn beat Vettel (1m32.041s) by 0.012s in the end.
Verstappen (1m32.096s) was a further 0.055s behind in third as Ferrari’s Leclerc (1m32.137s) was fourth with Mercedes’ Hamilton (1m32.321s) only fifth after he aborted his last lap. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m32.847s) was best of the rest in seventh.
Teammate Norris (1m33.175s) was eighth as Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m33.488s) and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (1m33.601s) then rounded out the Top 10.
Here’s how FP3 in F1 US GP panned out