- United States Grand Prix - Qualifying
Vettel snatches Austin pole from WebberChris Medland at the Circuit of the Americas November 16, 2013
Sebastian Vettel snatched pole position from team-mate Mark Webber during qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
With Webber quickest on the first runs he then extended his advantage to 0.4s over Vettel, but despite a slower first sector than his team-mate, Vettel was able to take pole position by just 0.1s.
Romain Grosjean promises to be a threat to the Red Bulls in the race as he starts from third place, but he was a full 0.8s slower than Vettel's pole time. Nico Hulkenberg was again hugely impressive as he qualified fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso,
Heikki Kovalainen did an impressive job to ensure his Lotus starts from the fourth row, just ahead of the session's surprise package Valtteri Bottas who was quick throughout but faded towards the end of Q3.
There were a number of surprises in Q2 as Bottas maintained strong pace in fourth place and Kovalainen produced a strong late lap to sneak through. That left Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa all dropping out behind Daniel Ricciardo and Paul di Resta. With Button's grid penalty he will start from 16th place on the grid.
While team-mate Bottas was quickest, Pastor Maldonado was one of the casualties of Q1 as he dropped out having set a time 1.5s slower than the other Williams. Adrian Sutil was the other driver to fall at the first hurdle as he encountered traffic and then appeared to suffer a problem under braking for Turn 1, bringing his car to a halt in the first sector after the chequered flag.
Maldonado very nearly came to grief even earlier in the session as he approached the final corner to find a very slow Esteban Gutierrez weaving across the track trying to get heat in to its tyres. Maldonado was forced to dive to the inside of the track to avoid contact, and after investigation by the stewards Gutierrez was handed a 10-place grid penalty.
Max Chilton was another penalised for impeding during qualifying, and he will have to take a drive-through penalty in the first five laps of the race after blocking both Adrian Sutil and Maldonado.
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1