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GP Week : Issue 231
QUALIFYING 2015 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 56 LAPS ROUND 16/19 << Last Race – Russia Two Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Mexico >> Next Weekend 2015 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Nico Rosberg has pole for the 3rd consecutive race, as Mercedes AMG take their 12th front row lockout of the season, tying their total from the 2014 season. This is Rosberg’s 19th career pole, surpassing Rene Arnoux as the man with the most pole positions who has never won a world championship. Rosberg may be aware that he has only converted 2 of his last 9 pole positions into race victories (Brazil 2014, Spain 2015), while both of Lewis Hamilton’s wins in Austin (2012, 2014) have come from 2nd on the grid. 2 – On the occasion of their 200th Grand Prix, Red Bull have both cars in the top-4 on the grid for only the 2nd time all season, following on from Singapore (when Daniel Ricciardo finished 2nd). Fourth on the grid for Daniil Kvyat ties his career best, as the team attempts to keep up its 100% record of always finishing on the podium at Circuit of the Americas. 3 – For the first time since the 2013 Bahrain GP, both Force Indias are in the top-6 on the grid. Sergio Perez will be attempting to score back-to-back podium finishes for the first time in both his and Force India’s F1 history, while Nico Hulkenberg will look to bounce back from a turn 1 retirement in Russia. 4 – Felipe Massa ties up the season head-to-head with Valtteri Bottas at 8-8, while Max Verstappen gives Toro Rosso their best-ever start in any United States Grand Prix in 8th place. Indeed, if you include their history as Minardi, the last time they were this high up on American soil was when Pierluigi Martini started 2nd in the 1990 race in Phoenix. Behind Verstappen is Fernando Alonso, with Mclaren’s best start of the 2015 season. 5 – An 11th place start is Jenson Button’s best since Monaco, where he was 10th, while Pastor Maldonado scored the only points of his 2014 season in this track when he finished 9th. Sauber celebrate their 400th Grand Prix this weekend (including time as BMW-Sauber from 2006-09), but both cars were knocked out in Q1 for the 3rd time in the last 4 races, on a track where they secured their only Q3 appearance of 2014. Marcus Ericsson did at least level up his qualifying score with Felipe Nasr at 8-8, an impressive comeback having been 5-1 down after Monaco. 6 – Ericsson is the top Ferrari-powered car on the grid, but with him being elevated to the 13th place, it means there are no Ferrari-powered cars in the top-12 for the first time since the 2009 Singapore GP. Having been eliminated in Q2, Valtteri Bottas was elevated to the top-10 by the Ferrari penalties only to receive a late 5-place gearbox penalty. 7 – Alex Rossi starts his home race ahead of Kimi Raikkonen having outqualified Will Stevens for the first time, while Carlos Sainz will be on the last row of the grid for the 2nd race in a row. ticked down, so too did the lap times for those on track, pushing Vettel further and further down the order as the opening phase of qualifying reached its climax. Only a mistake from Felipe Nasr saved Vettel's early blushes as he ended the session 15th, the last man to make it through to the second phase. As the weather intensified times in Q2 were hardly better, indeed a number of drivers were simply unable to improve on their times as standing water began to pose an ever greater problem and rivers begun forming across the circuit. Most notable of these was at the exit of turn ten, a usually flat left hand kink heading into the chicane at the top of the circuit. Running down the bank from the drivers right, no sooner had they rounded the corner and begun to squeeze on the power than they would aquaplane across the road. Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen were two of those caught out, but most everyone in the field was. Not for the first time in the weekend it forced the official's hand, cancelling the third phase of qualifying rather than delaying it. It was a wise move with the race just hours away and the threat of damaging cars ever increasing. 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> UNITED STATES PARTNERS: