Valtteri Bottas pipped Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the United States Grand Prix as Mercedes Formula 1 teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton struggled to fifth.

Bottas turned in a huge display in Q3 to set a new track record of a 1m32.029s around the Circuit of the Americas on his first flying effort of the session, and it proved good enough to beat Vettel by just 0.012s.

The result ended Ferrari’s streak of six consecutive pole positions since the summer break as Bottas scored his first pole since the British Grand Prix and Mercedes’ first since its home race in Germany at the end of July.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen got within 0.067s of taking his second pole of the season but ultimately fell short as he outpaced the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who was just over a tenth adrift in fourth.

It proved a difficult qualifying for Lewis Hamilton, who was unable to hook up a competitive lap on either of his Q3 runs and was left to settle for fifth on the grid, some 0.292s off the pace of Bottas.

While Hamilton was unable to maintain his recent qualifying supremacy around the Austin track and despite a disappointing session by the Briton’s standards, he remains on course to wrap up a sixth world title, providing he scores four points in Sunday’s grand prix.

Alexander Albon was half a second down en route to setting the sixth-fastest time as he finished ahead of the McLaren pair of Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris, with the British squad’s impressive practice pace translating into qualifying.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was nearly 1.4s off the pace in ninth, while the top 10 was completed by Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who lapped a tenth slower than the Australian.

Nico Hulkenberg was a couple of tenths shy from joining his Renault teammate in Q3 as he was left to settle with the 11th-fastest time, a tenth quicker than the lead Haas driver of Kevin Magnussen.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat missed the chance to make it into Q3 after seeing his fastest lap time deleted when he ran wide at Turn 19 to avoid a potential collision with Hamilton and Verstappen as the trio ran three-wide into the corner in the closing moments of Q2.

Lance Stroll made it into Q2 for only the fourth time this year as he wound up 15th-quickest for Racing Point, less than a tenth clear of Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.

Both Alfa Romeo drivers were eliminated in the opening segment of qualifying as Antonio Giovinazzi outpaced teammate Kimi Raikkonen by two-tenths.

George Russell turned in a solid lap to set the 18th-fastest time as he maintained his qualifying dominance over Williams teammate Robert Kubica, who was 2.5s off the pace and slowest of the 20 runners.

The Williams pair were separated by Sergio Perez’s Racing Point, with the Mexican consigned to a pitlane start for Sunday’s race after falling foul of a weigh-bridge infringement in FP2.

Full qualifying results for the 2019 United States Grand Prix. 

 

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