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GP Week : Issue 231
poS DRivER TEam Q1 Q2 Q3 LapS 1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:56.671 1:56.824 16 2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:56.871 1:56.929 14 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:56.495 1:57.969 16 4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:57.640 1:58.434 16 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2:00.950 1:58.596 13 6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:59.284 1:59.210 16 7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:58.325 1:59.333 16 8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:58.198 1:59.703 15 9 Felipe Massa Williams 2:00.902 1:59.999 17 10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:58.689 2:00.199 17 11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:59.704 2:00.265 16 12 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:59.569 2:00.265 16 13 Romain Grosjean Lotus 2:00.236 2:00.595 17 14 Jenson Button McLaren 2:00.261 2:01.193 16 15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 2:00.844 2:01.604 17 16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2:02.212 9 17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 2:03.194 9 18 Alexander Rossi Manor 2:04.176 9 19 Will Stevens Manor 2:04.526 9 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 2:07.304 3 Q1 107% Time 2:04.649 FORMULA 1 Round 15 UNITED STATES GP – Qualifying QUALIFYING There is no doubt officials made the right decision in postponing qualifying until sunday morning. exactly why it took them three hours to do so on saturday afternoon as the world watched with baited breathe though is less clear. Conditions in Austin throughout the weekend were abysmal with the area hit by the fringes of Hurricane Patricia. Five inches of rain fell in the area, quickly reaching levels well in excess of what the Circuit of the Americas drainage was designed for. Circuit officials cannot be blamed for the problem, no circuit in the world could have coped with that sort of treatment and, in reality, it was only because COTA was designed so recently and its drainage is so good that we got a race at all. Practice on Friday had been interrupted, allowing for the running of the first session of the weekend before forcing the cancellation of session two. It was a similar situation on Saturday with the morning session going ahead, barely, and the afternoon's qualifying a washout. With the rain expected to remain throughout the weekend it made for a busy final practice sessions as teams banked laps in case its times were used to set the grid. Thankfully conditions had eased come Sunday morning though, and after being delayed countless times on Saturday afternoon qualifying was finally run at 9am, though still not without influence by the weather. Times in the opening phase of qualifying varied dramatically, more than ten seconds split the fastest to the slowest, as drivers pounded around for lap after lap in an attempt to ensure they didn't miss out on the window at which conditions were at their best. With all cars on circuit a drier line soon began to appear. While still wet, the standing water was thrown clear by the Pirelli wet tyres and 20 of the world's most effective vacuum cleaners. That number became 19 when Carlos Sainz got too greedy and found himself staring at the barrier for the second time in as many races. The Spaniard had simply taken too much kerb which pitched his car towards the barrier, wiping the front of the car down the wall and tearing a wheel or two off in the process. He wasn't alone. Though conditions allowed for drivers to improve their times late in the session conditions were becoming trickiest - or perhaps appearing trickier as drivers grew in confidence and pushed closer and closer to the edge, some such as Sainz stepping over it. Sebastian Vettel found himself caught out, sliding across the circuit on the exit of the final turn before hitting the barrier on the inside. It wasn't the heftiest of shunts but it was enough to force the German into the pits to have it checked out, a process which meant he wasn't on track in the closing stages. As the clock 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> UNITED STATES PARTNERS: Rain, rain go away...