Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Nico Rosberg has qualified in pole position ahead of tonight’s United States Grand Prix. The circuit has been assailed by rain over the weekend, with Hurricane Patricia passing through Texas.
Qualifying had been due for yesterday CDT, but weather conditions caused it to be postponed to 0900 on the 25th October instead.
Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both drove well today, with Ricciardo going top in Q1, and finishing the qualifying session in P3 overall; he was followed by teammate Kvyat.
Several drivers complained during the race of very ‘uncomfortable’ conditions, with multiple spins and an early crash in Q1, with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. careening into the wall in slippery conditions, apologising to the team over the radio. The crash happened with 12 minutes to go in Q1, with red flags brought out almost immediately.
A normally unemotional, stolid Kimi Raikkonen also sounded distressed over the radio, and with both the Finn and Williams’ Felipe Massa spinning out. Massa said after the race that he felt marshals took “way too much of a risk”. Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull was also heard saying he found the conditions “dangerous, very dangerous”, pitting shortly thereafter.
This is Rosberg’s second pole position at the United States GP in as many years. He had been followed last year in qualifying by Hamilton, which is also the case today. Hamilton took the win last year, with Rosberg making P2 with an over 4-second gap over his teammate.
Rosberg has lost multiple races from pole this year. The German was in 2nd in the drivers’ championship standings behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, but lost out to the Briton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a sticky throttle forced him to retire at the recently concluded Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.
Vettel is still mathematically in the running for the championship standings, but with a very slim chance. He has qualified in P5, but with a 10-place grid penalty for engine upgrades, he’ll begin the race in 15th instead. His teammate Raikkonen qualifies in P8 and will now go to P18.
After Mercedes confirmed their second constructors’ title in a row last week, Hamilton looks set to seal his own 2nd consecutive drivers’ championship. It will be the Briton’s third one overall.
The race is due to begin in just over 3 hours, but with a torrential downpour calling the qualification session short, it remains to be seen if it will be on schedule.
Details to follow.