Sebastian Vettel on Pole in US F1 Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel ran a brilliant third sector to beat his team mate Mark Webber of Red Bull by 0.1 seconds and grab the pole position in the US Grand Prix. It appears that Vettel will again score a win, since this year we have seen his teammate Webber faces numerous equipment problems as well as unfavourable strategies adopted by his team to ensure that Vettel wins the championship.
Behind the Red Bull cars, it was expected that Mercedes will line up. However, it was Romain Grosjean who scored the P3. In this race Heikki Kovalainen is racing for the Lotus team in place of Kimi Raikkonen, who opted to sit out the two races and have back surgery. Heiki Kovalainen who has earlier raced for Lotus's previous avatar as Renault and then with McLaren and have won race as well, was the surprise choice. He had been earlier dumped by Caterham who went in search of pay drivers to fill their coffers. Heikki Kovalainen came 0.6 seconds behind his team mate and it translated to P8 position.
Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber who is in contention for the vacant Lotus seat next year was earlier invited by Lotus to drive for them for these last two races. However, he wisely decided to say no, as the deal for next year with Lotus is not yet done. So he didn't want to antagonise Sauber either. He was 0.141 seconds behind Romain Grosjean with a time of 1:37.296
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes scored a P5 position with a time of 1:37.345. He was followed by Fernando Alonso of Ferrari at 1:37.376. Interestingly both their teammates Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Felipe Massa of Ferrari could score 14th and 15th positions with time of 1:38.364 and 1:38.592
Sergio Perez who has been having his first and last season with McLaren scored a P7 with a time of 1:37.452 where as his experienced team mate and former world champion Jenson Button could score only a P13 with 1:38.217. Sergio Perez has been unexpectedly dropped from McLaren after only a season and he is now struggling to find a drive next year.
Valtteri Bottas got some cheer for the Williams team when he finished at P9 with a time of 1:37:836. Unfortunately his experienced teammate Pastor Maldonado could only finish in P18. Bottas was followed by Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber with a time of 1:38.034. Gutierrez was later handed a 10 spot grid penalty for having impeded Pastor Maldonado. Gutierrez was weaving on the track to warm up his tyres when Maldonado was on a flying lap. He will accordingly start at the back of the grid.
Pastor Maldonado has said that he suspects someone from the Williams team has tried to tamper with the car to scuttle his chances. He said that since he is leaving the team at the end of the season, the Williams team wanted to show that he is worse than his teammate. He said "..I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressures and temperatures - its not that clear. One more race to go...so great." Later he added "it was not just the typical problems we have had all through the season, today we have something more". Williams though denied that they will do such a thing. "Never in Williams' history would we ever do that" was the comment by Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams.
Max Chilton will serve a drive through penalty within the first five laps of the race because he impeded Pastor Maldonado and Adrian Sutil during qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso was 11th with a time of 1:38.131 and was followed by Paul di Resta of Force India with 1:38.139
US F1 Grand Prix Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
2. Mark Webber Red Bull
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus
4. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
7. Sergio Perez McLaren
8. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus
9. Valteri Bottas Williams
10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso
12. Paul di Resta Force India
13. Jenson Button McLaren
14. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
15. Felipe Massa Ferrari
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Torro Rosso
17. Adrian Sutil Force India
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia
21. Charles Pic Caterham
22. Max Chilton Marussia