Rosberg takes pole in rain-shortened COTA qualifying

Nico Rosberg secured his third consecutive pole position in a heavy rain-shortened qualifying session already delayed from Saturday due to the extreme weather at the Circuit of the Americas.

Rosberg’s Q2 time ultimately was enough to secure top spot after the rain that has affected the whole weekend in the United States intensified once more meaning the final Q3 was cancelled.

The two Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers will once again lockout the front row, with Rosberg being joined by champion-elect Lewis Hamilton, with just 0.105s between them in a session that saw many drivers, Hamilton included, either spin or run off track in the tricky conditions.

The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team will start side-by-side on row two, with Daniel Ricciardo outpacing Daniil Kvyat by 0.465s, with Ricciardo having set the pace in the first qualifying session when conditions were slightly better.

Sebastian Vettel finished the session in fifth for the Scuderia Ferrari team, but was lucky to still be in the session when he spun at turn ten, a corner that caught out many drivers, and hitting the barrier side-on during Q1. He recovered to the pits, and watched from the sidelines as his rivals attempt to knock him out of qualifying at the first stage, coming through by the skin of his teeth in P15. Unfortunately for the German, he will start from fifteenth due to his engine change penalty.

Inheriting fifth on the grid therefore will be the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez, who will be joined on the third row by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, with both drivers having off-track moments during the session.

Kimi Raikkonen was eighth quickest in the second Ferrari but will also drop ten places down the grid due to his engine penalty, meaning Felipe Massa will start seventh for Williams Martini Racing alongside Max Verstappen of Scuderia Toro Rosso, while Fernando Alonso will start the highest a McLaren-Honda has started all season in ninth alongside the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Romain Grosjean will start just outside the top ten in the leading Lotus alongside the second McLaren of Jenson Button, while Pastor Maldonado will start thirteenth in the second Lotus.

Marcus Ericsson will join Maldonado on the seventh row despite being eliminated in Q1 after a couple of spins in his Sauber, while Vettel will be joined on the eighth row by the second Sauber of Felipe Nasr.

Alexander Rossi will start seventeenth for his home Grand Prix for the Manor F1 Team, just ahead of Raikkonen.

Carlos Sainz Jr was an early casualty as he spun into the barriers during Q1 at turn three, damaging the front of his Toro Rosso and causing a red flag, and he will join the Manor of Will Stevens on the back row, who will take a grid penalty for changing parts of his engine this weekend.

Circuit of the Americas Qualifying Result

16Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m56.824s
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m56.929s
33Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m57.969s
426Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m58.434s
55Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m58.596s
611Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m59.210s
727Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m59.333s
87Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m59.703s
919Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m59.999s
1033Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault2m00.199s
1114Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda2m00.265s
1277Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes2m00.334s
138Romain GrosjeanFRALotus-Mercedes2m00.595s
1422Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda2m01.193s
1513Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes2m01.604s
--Eliminated in Q1---
169Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari2m02.212s
1712Felipe NasrBRZSauber-Ferrari2m03.194s
1853Alexander RossiUSAManor-Ferrari2m04.176s
1928Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari2m04.526s
2055Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault2m07.304s