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Qualifying at Circuit Of The Americas

622   //    18 Nov 2012, 21:35 IST

After a four year leave, Formula One has finally returned to the United States of America. With a population of 311,591,917, the USA has the ability to make this a memorable weekend.

The numbers in Austin have been outstanding. A total of  65.630 fans attended Friday at CoTA. Coming from all over the country, Canada, Mexico and the world, Austin has been able to flex its muscles, put on its cowboy boots and show everyone a good time.

Saturday, CoTA brought it a total of  82,710 fans. Many came bearing their team flags, others, their country and state flag. By the qualifying started, it was had to decipher if it was a Formula One race or a NASCAR race. American fans had brought their NASCAR ideals (and their fifth wheels) and were enjoying the race from atop their caravans.

Q1 and everyone at the track and at home could see just how green the track was. It was read that many drivers were comparing the track to the likes of slick ice.

As Q1 pushed on, the drivers were getting their tyres to where they wanted them and the track was visibly laying down rubber. The racing line was being set and the lap times started dropping.

End of Q1 and a few surprises as Daniel Ricciardo was unable to break into Q2 and Marussia F1 had a fantastic showing as both Marussia’s out qualified the Caterhams. With two races left, the USGP was the first time that this has happened and the team has said that this is just the beginning. As Marussia hasn’t been running KERS this season, it has been down to pure driver’s ability. The 2012 USGP is appearing to allow Marussia to put a little more distance between their closest challenger.

Q2 and mid way  Jenson Button is hear over team radio: “Loss of power, guys, loss of power.” The 2009 World Champion limped back to the pits and ended his qualifying, thus leaving a spot in the top ten shoot out open. Outside of the mechanical gremlins resurfacing in the McLaren pits, Q2 came to an end without a hitch.

Top Ten Shoot Out and wanting to put on a show for the return to the US, all the drivers took to track. As the the time ticked down it appeared that the Ferrari‘s were going to play a bit of leap frog. Trying to help improve each others time by providing a slip stream and giving the other a boost of speed. Unfortunately, this did not help as Fernando Alonso appeared to have gotten caught up behind Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes on a flying lap (ending his qualifying in P9, up to P8 after Grosjean takes his 5 place grid penalty), and having his championship challenge hanging by a thread). By the end of Q3, it was clear that no one was able to touch the time of Red bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Being his 100th Grand Prix, the German did it again (quickest in all three practice sessions) dominated every part of qualifying to take his sixth pole position of the season.

Further down the field, it’s only the second time this season that Felipe Massa has outqualified Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. While over at Mercedes, Michael Schumacher delivered his best qualifying performance in quite some time to finish sixth fastest, 11 places ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

rbr Sebastian Vettel P1  gstar Fan’s Choice To Win
vmm Lewis Hamilton P2  
rbr Mark Webber P3
LRGP Kimi Räikkönen P4
MCP Michael Schumacher P5   
Ferrari Felipe Massa P6  
Force Nico Hülkenberg P7
Ferrari Fernando Alonso P8
LRGP Romain Grosjean P9
Will Pastor Maldonado P10
Will Bruno Senna P11
vmm Jenson Button P12
Force Paul di Resta P13
rosso Jean-Éric Vergne P14
sauber Sergio Perez P15
sauber Kamui Kobayashi P16
MCP Nico Rosberg P17
rosso Daniel Ricciardo P18
MVR Timo Glock P19
MVR Charles Pic P20
lotus Vitaly Petrov P21
lotus Heikki Kovalainen P22
HRT Pedro de la Rosa P23
HRT Narain Karthikeyan P24

Q1 107% Time 1:43.317

Note – Grosjean drops five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change

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