25 October 2015
F1 United States Grand Prix: Rosberg on pole in truncated US GP qualifying
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton make up the front row for today's United States Grand Prix as poor conditions curtail qualifying after Q2.
Nico Rosberg will start today's United States Grand Prix from pole position after qualifying was curtailed due to treacherous track conditions at the Circuit of the Americas.
Having already been postponed from Saturday as torrential rain and storms swept across the Texas area, though qualifying did finally get underway at 9.00, persistent rain and treacherous conditions still presented a significant challenge for the drivers.
Indeed, with drivers already struggling to find the limit on the sodden circuit from the start and the second session being blighted by a series of spins at the turn ten left-hander, the decision was taken not to run the final Q3 session, with the grid determined by the times at the end of Q2 instead.
As a result, Rosberg has been granted pole position, the German heading up a familiar Mercedes 1-2 despite the conditions, with Lewis Hamilton starting alongside him to keep him in well in the hunt to wrap up the 2015 drivers' title today.
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat make up an all-Red Bull front row, the pair capitalising on the equalling conditions to get the RB11 towards the front, while Sebastian Vettel qualified fifth but will start down in a likely 14th once he takes his 10 place grid penalty for an engine change.
As such, Force India will lock-out the third row, Sergio Perez leading Nico Hulkenberg, while Felipe Massa and rookie Max Verstappen get away from row four, the pair moving up a position each at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen, who will also start ten positions lower in 18th once he has taken his penalty.
With conditions still expected to improve for the race, qualifying nonetheless proved treacherous from the start, before appearing to worsen again as Q2 got underway. Of particular concern was turn ten, a left-hander over the crest, with many drivers forced to catch their aquaplaning cars
With Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Kvyat and Jenson Button all suffering spins and complaining over the radio at the end of Q2, the FIA attempted to shift the standing water before Q3 but eventually opted to halt it altogether.
Failing to progress beyond Q2 regardless, Fernando Alonso will nonetheless start a season-best ninth for McLaren once the Ferrari penalties are taken into account, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, Button and Pastor Maldonado.
Despite several leery moments for drivers – not least when Sebastian Vettel avoided a bigger smash early on in Q1 when he kissed the wall side-on at turn ten -, only Carlos Sainz would suffer a sizeable accident, the Toro Rosso driver losing control on the kerbs at turn four and spinning into the barriers. Though unhurt, his mechanics now face a battle to get the car ready for today's race, which he will start from the back.
Joining him down the order will be Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr – the former spinning on his final attempt to get into Q2 -, while local favourite Alex Rossi out-qualified his Manor team-mate Will Stevens in 18th.
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