Vettel Close To Clinch With Austin Pole

Fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions and in the final hour of running before qualifying, Sebastian Vettel took pole position but was pushed closer than expected by the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton in 2nd.

Happy to be starting at the front, when asked how he felt about his title rival starting low on the grid, the German commented that he was focused on the efforts of himself and his team.

“There’s not much to feel. We have to look after ourselves,” said Vettel. “I am happy we had a smooth session with no issues. Yesterday afternoon was not ideal, but these things can happen and they might happen again.

“It is the best strategy to keep your head down and try to do your best. I am very happy with the result but so far nobody has scored any points.

“We saw in the last race how quickly things can change and starting from the back gives you opportunities. We will focus on our race and tomorrow aim to seal the constructors’ title for the team.”

Hamilton may rain on Vettel’s party

Lewis Hamilton said that he was surprised to be on the front row, thinking he would be nowhere near Red Bull but the Englishman got his McLaren in a prime position to challenge for the race win.

“I saw in Q2 they were massively quicker, a second or nine tenths. I didn’t know where I would find that.

“I went into Q3 and pushed as hard as I could, and found everything. I found more time in the last sector. I did two laps consecutively and surprisingly the second lap was quicker.

“On that lap I was on the limit everywhere. I think I lost about a tenth at the last corner – I gained it on the way in and lost it on the way out – but still I’m really, really happy to be where I am.”

Raikkonen made it two Lotus’ in the top 5

Kimi Raikkonen was another surprised man as he got his Lotus up to fifth place as the conditions got warmer for qualified which aided his Lotus team.

“I think it’s been very difficult to get the car working at some races where it’s been difficult to get the tyres working,” said Raikkonen.

“I really expected a much more difficult qualifying, but luckily it warmed up a bit and we got the tyres working a bit better.

“It’s still not 100 per cent what we want, but it’s getting there, so this is pretty good after how difficult it’s been.”

Massa out-qualified his team-mate Alonso for only the second time in 18 attempts

Felipe Massa in seventh said that the choice of harder tyre compounds for the GP in Texas meant the cars were struggling to generate sufficient heat to gain performance.

“The problem we have here is the tyres are too hard for this track. The warm-up is really difficult,” Massa said.

“You go out of the garage and it is like you are driving on ice. It takes forever to get temperature in the tyres.

“Every lap you do, you improve on the next lap, as you have the grip, so the best lap is always the last.

“It was better in Q2 than Q3, but I did more laps, so that was better for the tyres.

“In Q3 I didn’t do a really clean, perfect lap, but I’m sure having less laps on the tyres was not helping.”

Alonso isn’t smiling but is determined for the race

Fernando Alonso qualified ninth, some way down on his title rival Sebastian Vettel’s pole time but continued to insist his seemingly slim hopes of the championship would hang on beyond Sunday’s race.

“We said yesterday after qualifying Red Bull will probably be one and two, we will probably be seventh or eighth and people will say it’s all over,” Alonso said.

“Then on Sunday we will show that we can score more points than Vettel. I don’t know how, but we have this feeling inside.”

United States GP Grid

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.657s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.766s + 0.109
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.174s + 0.517
4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.587s + 0.930
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.708s + 1.051
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.794s + 1.137
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.937s + 1.280
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.141s + 1.484
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.300s + 1.643
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.842s + 2.185
11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.604s + 1.808
12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.616s + 1.820
13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.665s + 1.869
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.879s + 2.083
15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.206s + 2.410
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.437s + 2.641
17. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.501s + 2.705
18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.114s + 2.556
19. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.056s + 3.498
20. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.664s + 4.106
21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.809s + 4.251
22. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m41.166s + 4.608
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.011s + 5.453
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m42.740s + 6.182

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