Qualy: First Austin pole for Hamilton


Lewis Hamilton posted a qualifying lap record of 1:34.999 around the Circuit of the Americas to claim his first pole position at Austin ahead of Nico Rosberg.

Championship leader Rosberg and his title rival Hamilton resumed their intra-team battle at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday.

Unlike last season when the rain washed out qualifying, this year glorious blue skies greeted the drivers.

In near perfect conditions Hamilton laid down a 1:35.370 to pip Rosberg by 0.072s.

Out for a second attempt, Rosberg was ahead of Hamilton on the track and both in traffic forcing them to back right off on their out-laps in order to make space.

Crossing the line first Rosberg did a 1:35.215 to slid up into provisional pole but Hamilton responded with a 1:34.999 – a new qualifying lap record – to claim his first pole position at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Mercedes team-mates and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen progressed through Q2 on the soft Pirelli tyres meaning they will start on the yellow-walled rubber while the rest of the top ten are on the supersofts.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified third, 0.510s down, and ahead of Verstappen and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest for Force India while Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz completed the top ten.

Jenson Button was the big-name casualty in Q1 as the McLaren driver struggled for pace and finished down in 19th place. “Traffic on the racing line, a Renault,” Button complained to the team.

However, arguably the most disappointed would be Haas as Romain Grosjean failed to make it out of Q1. He finished P17 while Esteban Gutierrez was 14.

1 Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.999
2 Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.215 0.216
3 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:35.509 0.510
4 Verstappen Red Bull 1:35.747 0.748
5 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.131 1.132
6 Vettel Ferrari 1:36.358 1.359
7 Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.628 1.629
8 Bottas Williams 1:37.116 2.117
9 Massa Williams 1:37.269 2.270
10 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:37.326 2.327
11 Perez Force India 1:37.353
12 Alonso McLaren 1:37.417
13 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:37.480
14 Gutierrez Haas 1:37.773
15 Palmer Renault 1:37.935
16 Ericsson Sauber 1:39.356
17 Grosjean Haas 1:38.308
18 Magnussen Renault 1:38.317
19 Button McLaren 1:38.327
20 Wehrlein Manor 1:38.548
21 Nasr Sauber 1:38.583
22 Ocon Manor 1:38.806