Lewis Hamilton edged out Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix to grab his third consecutive Formula 1 pole position at the Circuit of The Americas on Saturday.

On a weekend that could see him become F1's third five-time world champion, Hamilton managed to come out on top in a close fight with both Vettel and Raikkonen in Q3, with just seven-hundredths of a second separating the trio come the chequered flag.



Hamilton turned in a best lap of 1m32.237s to score his ninth pole position of the season, leaving Vettel 0.061 seconds down in second place, with the German venting his frustration over a mistake at Turn 8 on his final flying lap.

Vettel will drop down to fifth place on the grid tomorrow as a result of a penalty for failing to slow for a red flag in practice on Friday, promoting teammate Raikkonen onto the front row. It will mark Raikkonen's first front row start in Austin.

Valtteri Bottas struggled to match Mercedes teammate Hamilton for pace, finishing three-tenths of a second back in fourth place, but he too will gain a position for the start tomorrow due to Vettel's penalty.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth for Red Bull, 1.2 seconds off Hamilton's pole time, but was left to lead Red Bull single-handedly through Q3 after teammate Max Verstappen suffered a broken driveshaft after setting a lap in Q1 when he ran wide at Turn 15 and clouted one of the sausage kerbs. The damage prevented the Dutchman from getting out in Q2, leaving him 15th in the final standings.

Esteban Ocon was the leading midfield driver for Force India, qualifying sixth ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg. Romain Grosjean took P8 for Haas ahead of Sauber's Charles Leclerc, with Sergio Perez rounding out the top 10 for Force India.

Carlos Sainz Jr. fell just two-thousandths of a second shy of a place in Q3 for Renault, finishing 11th, but was left frustrated after believing he was blocked by Grosjean during his first run. Sainz qualified ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen in P12, with both set to get a free choice of starting tyre for Sunday's race.

Pierre Gasly impressed for Toro Rosso in Q1 by finishing as the leading midfield driver in P7, but with a grid penalty already confirmed following power unit changes earlier in the week, the team opted against setting a time with either of its drivers in Q2. Gasly was ultimately classified 13th in Q2 despite not setting a time ahead of teammate Brendon Hartley, with both instead using the session as additional practice after losing running in the wet on Friday.

Hartley's late lap in Q1 bumped Fernando Alonso out of qualifying at the first hurdle, leaving the Spaniard 16th. Alonso was nevertheless able to continue his perfect head-to-head record in qualifying against McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who was half a second slower, propping up the running order in P20.

Sergey Sirotkin managed to lead William's charge, taking 17th ahead of teammate Lance Stroll, while Marcus Ericsson finished half a second off teammate Leclerc's time en route to P19 for Sauber. Both he and Vandoorne will move off the final row for the race on Sunday though due to the Toro Rossos grid penalties.

The United States Grand Prix gets underway at 1:10pm CT (7:10pm BST).


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