United States Grand Prix: Sheriff Lewis Hamilton wrangles in pole number 72 at COTA
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 21, 2017 Updated: 8:22 PM
Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton rode his silver arrow off into the sunset as he went on to take his 72nd career pole in front of a packed crowd at Circuit of the Americas, a track celebrating it's sixth year on the Formula One calendar.
"The team have done an exceptional job all weekend to filter the data that we have gathered and put the car in the right place. This is such a fantastic circuit – it’s really challenging, you’re constantly dancing with the car. I’m really happy to be on pole, but we know we’re often strong through practice and qualifying and have found the races tougher this year. I’m looking forward to a nice race tomorrow with Sebastian and Valtteri," said Hamilton.
The stage is set as the title fight continues with legendary ring announcer Micheal Buffer, famous for the phrase "Let's get ready to Rumble,” will be introducing the drivers before they take to the grid.
Sebastian Vettel finished second by 0.239s and will need to stay in the top five in Sunday's race if he wants to keep the championship fight alive. "Obviously it’s not what we want, but obviously today was a lot better, I was much happier with the car. I’m glad it worked out. And not finding the rhythm straight away in quali, I struggled a bit in a couple of corners but I knew if I get them right I should be able to make a big step in the final run, so I was very happy. I think in the end we were closer than probably we even expected so for today, but for tomorrow I think if the car behaves like today it should be good," said Vettel.
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas finished behind Vettel in third with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in fourth. Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start fifth despite setting the same time as Ricciardo. Ricciardo set the time first, therefore Raikkonen will have to start behind the Australian in tomorrow's race.
Sixth went to Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen who finished 0.081s behind Raikkonen but will start tomorrow's race from 17th after his penalty is applied for an engine change the team preformed ahead of the weekend.
"We have the car and the performance is there so even though I am starting at the back of the grid I’ll try to overtake as many cars as possible and move through the field. To get back to sixth would be good and anything higher would be great," said Verstappen.
This will re-adjust the grid order moving Esteban Ocon into sixth along with Renault driver Carlos Sainz into seventh and McLaren's Fernando Alonso into eighth. Sergio Perez will enjoy a bump in position to ninth with Williams Felipe Massa rounding out the top ten.
Outside the top ten saw the returning Daniil Kvyat in 11th with Haas driver Romain Grosjean in 12th. Sauber's Marcus Ericsson finished 13th while Stoffel Vandoorne, who qualified 13th but received a penalty for a power unit change, will begin in 14th.
Pascal Wehrlein finished 15th and Williams Lance Stroll took 16th with Verstappen in 17th. Kevin Magnussen, who was set to start from 20th will move up to 18th and Nico Hulkenberg, who takes a penalty for a power unit change will start 19th. F1 debutant Brendon Hartley finishes out the final grid spot in 20th.