Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by beating Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix. The German outpaced Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.376 seconds after a stunning final flying lap.
Rosberg had the edge over Hamilton on the pair’s first runs in Q3, and he improved by just over two tenths on his second attempt to consolidate his position.
Hamilton was behind Rosberg on the track, so still had his lap to complete, but was unable to improve despite setting the fastest final sector seen in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas beat teammate Felipe Massa by three tenths as Williams annexed the second row, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo making a big improvement on his final run to take fifth.
Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button, although the McLaren driver has to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Kevin Magnussen, in the second McLaren, was eighth, beating Kimi Raikkonen by a tenth of a second.
Adrian Sutil made it through to Q3, the first time a Sauber has reached the top-10 shootout this season. Unlike the rest of those who reached Q3, Sutil only attempted one run and ended up 10th.
Thanks to the absence of Caterham and Marussia, four drivers were eliminated in each of the first two stages of qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado narrowly missed out on his first Q3 appearance of the season, ending up 11th after losing an estimated two tenths of a second with a slide in the penultimate corner. Behind him, Sergio Perez jumped Force India teammate Nico Hulkenberg with his final flying lap to take 12th.
Daniil Kvyat complained of tyre temperature problems after his out-lap was compromised by traffic and could only manage 14th. He will also be hit with a 10-place penalty for changing a power unit component, some of which must now be carried over to next weekend’s Brazilian GP.
Jean-Eric Vergne missed out on making Q2 by just five hundredths of a second, the Toro Rosso driver ending up in 15th place ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
Sebastian Vettel, who completed a single run on soft tires as he will start from the pits after a sixth power unit was fitted to his Red Bull, was 17th.
Romain Grosjean was slowest having made a mistake on his sole lap on his final run, locking up the front left wheel under braking for the left-hander at the end of the back straight and running off the track. But even so, the Franco-Swiss driver suspected he would have been unable to advance to the next stage of qualifying because his Lotus was not as competitive as it was during free practice.
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1m 36.067s||–|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 36.443s||0.376s|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||1m 36.906s||0.839s|
|4||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1m 37.205s||1.138s|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m 37.244s||1.177s|
|6||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1m 37.610s||1.543s|
|7||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren/Mercedes||1m 37.706s||1.639s|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1m 37.804s||1.737s|
|9||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||1m 38.810s||2.743s|
|10||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||1m 38.467s||–|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m 38.554s||–|
|12||Jenson Button||McLaren/Mercedes||1m 37.655s||–|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m 38.598s||–|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m 39.250s||–|
|15||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||1m 39.555s||–|
|16||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||1m 39.679s||–|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m 38.699s||–|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m 39.621s||–|
Button: Five places for gearbox change
Kvyat: Five places for engine component change
Vettel: Pitlane start for taking sixth power unit