US Grand Prix – Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton beat his season-long title rival Sebastian Vettel to pole by 0.06 seconds.
Hamilton held the top spot after the first runs in Q3 with a 0.088 seconds advantage over Vettel. Hamilton improved on his second run to a 1:32.237 as Vettel set purple sectors but lost time at the end of the lap to lose out by 0.061 seconds, with Kimi Raikkonen 0.009 seconds further back.
Vettel takes a three-place grid drop for his red flag infringement during first practice, promoting Raikkonen to the front row, Valtteri Bottas to third and Daniel Ricciardo to fourth.
Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel and Ricciardo set their fastest times in Q2 on the harder supersoft tyre, which they will start the race on, with Raikkonen the only front runner starting on the ultrasofts.
Hamilton’s starting tyres are two laps older than his rivals after a lock up into Turn 1 on his first lap in Q2 put him in danger of elimination. He completed a cool down lap and an extra hot lap to ensure he progressed through to the top 10.
Max Verstappen suffered a right-rear suspension failure in Q1 after running over the sausage kerbs on the exit of Turn 15, damaging his driveshaft. He progressed to the next session but his car was too heavily damaged to take part in Q2 so he qualified 15th.
He will gain two places as the two Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who also did not set times in Q2, are taking engine penalties and will start from the back of the grid.
Esteban Ocon secured the best of the rest spot in sixth for Force India, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and the second Force India of Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz missed out on a place in Q3 by 0.002 seconds as he failed to capitalise on team-mate Hulkenberg’s error of heavily locking up into Turn 1 on his final Q2 run.
McLaren suffered a double knockout in Q1 with Fernando Alonso 16th and Stoffel Vandoorne the slowest qualifier in 20th.
The two Williams were also out in Q1, with Sergey Sirotkin out-qualifying Lance Stroll in 17th and 18th respectively ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.