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GP Week : Issue 213
QUALIFYING I needed to get everything right and be on the limit and then that’s when I tried to squeeze everything that there was – and I feel I managed to do so." The improvers, position-wise, in thos elast minutes were Daniel Ricciard, and Alonso. No surprises there: "I'm pretty happy with the top five," reported Daniel. "Realistically we're fighting for the last spot on the podium, if Mercedes have a clean race, and we've put ourselves in a good position for that. We were close to Felipe, but hopefully the clean side of the grid will help me out a bit, so we'll see what happens. I'd say we're better on tyres than the Williams, but their straight line speed makes that advantage disappear." For his part, Fernando was optimistic: "Looking at the times of the cars ahead of me, I don't think I could have done much more. Before coming here, we had thought about changing the power unit, but then we opted for one we had already used, so as not to start from the pit lane. The track surface is much better than in past years, with a lot more grip, but at the same time, there's more tyre degradation so a two-stopper is inevitable." On this occasion, Kimi was only a couple of tenths, and spots, away despite complaining of an overall understeer problem. Up until the very final run, the McLarens were 5 and 6 (although Jenson was facing a five-spot 'gearbox' drop) and, ultimately, P7 for Magnussen was, well, expected. The McLarens were, as often, pinning their hopes on an alternate strategy: "Qualifying seventh and eighth isn't particularly satisfying for anyone, but it's pretty much where we are with our car right now," Magnussen summed up. "I think tomorrow's race will be a two- or even three-stopper for most people, so we should hopefully be able to mix things up a little with our strategy. That's usually a good way to make for ward progress, and I think scoring some useful points should certainly be possible." Adrian Sutil brought some joy (in an other wise difficult weekend) for Sauber, making Q3 (for the first time this year foir Sauber), but only having a cursory run in Q3 itself, settling for grid nine (with Button's demotion): "In the morning we had a good free practice, and I felt comfortable with the car. The air and track temperatures went up a little in comparison to the morning, but the balance of the car was still good. "We put in a great performance today, and we deserved to make it into Q3 for the first time this year. The entire team did a great job. I am pleased for everyone within the team as, especially in our current situation, this is an important result which is crucial for the motivation." The other qualifying effort of note came from Pastor Maldonado. So often, he's been noweher this year, but here only just missed Q3 – 11th in Q2: "The car feels more solid and together than it has for the last few races which meant I was able to push more than usual. We know we work better in the faster corners - just as we saw in Barcelona - and I think there is still more pace in the car.OnmyQ2lapImadeasmall mistake in the second to last corner which would have been worth another tenth and then we'd have been in Q3. " 2014 FORMULA 1TM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 56 LAPS ROUND 17/19 << Last Race – Russia Three Weeks’ Time 1 Next Race – Brazil >> Next Weekend 2014 FORMULA 1TM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – For the first time this year in dry conditions, the pole position time is quicker than it was at the equivalent 2013 race, as Nico Rosberg set the 4th fastest lap in the history of the Circuit of the Americas – all quicker laps were set in qualifying back in 2012. For Rosberg, it is a 9th pole of the year, and he clinches the season head-to-head against Lewis Hamilton, as he leads him 10-7 with 2 rounds remaining. 2 – Hamilton starts 2nd, the same place from which he won the 2012 Austin race, as Mercedes take a 6th consecutive front row lockout and 10th of the season overall. Q3 ended a streak of 10 consecutive sessions headed by Hamilton, but Mercedes have still led every session – including qualifying split into Q1-Q2-Q3 – since Singapore Q1. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, on the circuit where he scored his only points of 2013, is 3rd on the grid for the 3rd consecutive race, and it is his 8th top-3 start of this year. Felipe Massa has his best start in the United States since the final Indianapolis race in 2007. Williams do not have a podium finish in the USA since Thierry Boutsen was 3rd in Phoenix back in 1990. 3 – Daniel Ricciardo starts 5th, which seems to be where he wants to be as all 3 of his wins came from outside the top-3 on the grid – but he is a massive 11.1km/h (6.9mph) slower than the Williams ahead of him in the traps. Fernando Alonso hasn’t started 6th since the US Grand Prix last season. Kevin Magnussen reached Q3 for the 10th consecutive race – a better run than everyone except Rosberg and Ricciardo. 4 – Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen has been outqualified by Fernando Alonso at the last 12 consecutive races, while Adrian Sutil finally put Sauber into Q3 for the first time this year, and ended a personal run of 27 races without a top-10 start, stretching back to Silverstone 2013. Pastor Maldonado also has his best start of the year, as he attempts to end a run of 1 point in the last 36 Grands Prix. 5 – Sergio Perez maintains his run of always outqualifying his teammates on this track, while thanks to a gearbox penalty Jenson Button has his worst start since Monaco back in May. Nico Hülkenberg starts 13th for the 4th time in the last 5 Grands Prix. 6 – Romain Grosjean found himself eliminated in Q1 for the 3rd time in the last 5 races, while Sebastian Vettel will start from pitlane, just as he did in the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP, when he finished 3rd. Vettel was slowest in FP2 and FP3, and 17th out of 18th in Q1, as he merely achieved 107% but nothing more. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> USA PARTNERS: