Formula 1

Hamilton On Brink Of Fifth Title After Securing Pole Position In Austin

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Lewis Hamilton - United States Grand Prix - F1
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Lewis Hamilton put himself in prime position to clinch his fifth Formula 1 World Championship as he secured pole position for the United States Grand Prix.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver set a new track record of 1.32.237 to pip the two Scuderia Ferrari’s to the fastest lap time at the Circuit of the Americas.

Sebastian Vettel was second fastest but will line-up fifth due to his three place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently for the red flag on Friday.  Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was third fastest and only seven hundreds of a second of pole. He lines up on the front row alongside Hamilton.

The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest with the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing of Daniel Ricciardo fifth, the Australian ended his poor qualifying run against team-mate Max Verstappen but was largely helped by the Dutchman’s session coming to a premature end in Q1.

Esteban Ocon claimed the best of the rest title with the sixth fastest time in the Racing Point Force India F1 Team with the Renault Sport Formula One Team of Nico Hülkenberg in seventh.

Haas F1 Team reached Q3 at their home race for the first time with Romain Grosjean putting himself eighth on the grid, while Charles Leclerc continued his fine season with another Q3 appearance ahead of Sergio Pérez, who celebrated his new deal at Force India with tenth place on the grid.

The midfield fight continued to be very tight with Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Magnussen the two unlucky drivers that missed out on a spot in Q3.  The Spaniard will line-up eleventh with Magnussen in twelfth.

The two Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda’s went out on the track in Q2 but did not set a lap as they will start from the back of the grid due to their engine penalties.

Verstappen was another driver that failed to set a lap time after his incident in Q1.  The Dutchman ran a little wide on the exit of turn 16 and seemingly broke his right rear suspension as his Red Bull limped back to the pits.  The team couldn’t fix the issue so Verstappen, who lined up sixteenth last year, will start thirteenth this season.

It was another tough Q1 for McLaren F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing as both cars were knocked out.  Fernando Alonso finished sixteenth fastest but moves up to fourteenth thanks to the Toro Rosso penalties.

Sergey Sirotkin outqualified team-mate Lance Stroll ahead of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team of Marcus Ericsson, while Stoffel Vandoorne’s tough 2018 season continued as he finished the slowest of everyone and will line-up eighteenth for the race.

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