Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth pole position during a tightly-contested qualifying session for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix. Hamilton set a time of 1:32.237 to edge title rival Sebastian Vettel by just 0.061s, with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen a mere 0.009s further back in third.
Sebastian Vettel’s penalty for a red flag transgression in first practice means he will drop to fifth on the grid, elevating Raikkonen to the front row.
Vettel was just 0.061 seconds adrift of Hamilton’s lap-record time of one minute 32.237 seconds, but a positive development for the German came in the shape of teammate Kimi Raikkonen going third-quickest.
Raikkonen will start on the front row alongside Hamilton but, crucially, will be on quicker tyres, having set his Q2 time on ultrasofts while Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Vettel opted for supersofts.
However, Raikkonen has not made up a place on the opening lap of a grand prix since 2016 and if Hamilton can hold off the early charge from the Finn he will soon set his sights on gaining the result he will need to secure title number five.
If he does secure victory, Vettel must follow him home in second place to take the title fight on to Mexico.
United States – Qualifying Result
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:33.494||1.257|
|6||Esteban Ocon||RP Force India||1:34.145||1.908|
|10||Sergio Perez||RP Force India||1:34.594||2.357|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso|
|14||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso|
|15||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|