Qualy: Hamilton breezes to Austin pole


Lewis Hamilton’s weekend of dominance continued at his beloved Circuit of The Americas as he stormed to an 11th pole position of the season.

The Brit who has topped every session so far, smashed the track record once again with a 1:33.108 on his first hot lap in Q3, with rival Sebastian Vettel closing to within two tenths to join the Brit on the front row of the grid.

Valtteri Bottas was dislodged down to P3, as Daniel Ricciardo got the better of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen with the latter facing a 15-place grid penalty.

Carlos Sainz qualified P8 on his Renault debut, while Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley failed to get out of Q1.

Hamilton, opting for supersofts in Q1, drew first blood by pipping Verstappen, on the quicker ultrasofts, by 0.077 seconds. But, further down the field, Sergio Perez berated Kevin Magnussen for blocking him and an idling Lance Stroll almost drove into Romain Grosjean on the exit of Turn 19.

Both incidents are under investigation from the stewards, while Marcus Ericsson, Stroll, Hartley, Wehrlein and Magnussen were the five drivers to fall at the first hurdle.

Nico Hulkenberg, who has a 20-place grid penalty this weekend, sat out the entirety of Q2, leaving 14 cars battling it out for the top 10 shoot-out.

At the front of the pack, Hamilton upped the ante on the ultras, finding another 1.4 seconds and posting a 1:33.437, three tenths quicker than team-mate Bottas and the two Ferraris languishing half a second behind on average.

Felipe Massa, Danill Kvyat, Stoffel Vandoorne and Grosjean all joined Hulkenberg in the Q2 elimination zone; Alonso, meanwhile, squeezed every last drop out of the MCL32 to reach Q3 and Renault new boy Sainz also got into the top 10 shoot-out.

Hamilton simply picked up where he left off at the start of Q3, shaving off another three tenths and grabbed provisional pole with a four-tenth advantage to Bottas.

Raikkonen, Vettel and Verstappen could only get within seven tenths of Hamilton on their first Q3 hot laps, with Ricciardo a second off the pace.

Hamilton could not improve on his final hot lap, but Vettel could only close to within two tenths; the Brit cruising to a 72nd career pole.

Qualifying timesheet:

1    HAM    Mercedes    00:01:33.108
2    VET    Ferrari    00:01:33.347
3    BOT    Mercedes    00:01:33.568
4    RIC    Red Bull    00:01:33.577
5    RAI    Ferrari    00:01:33.577
6    VPN    Red Bull    00:01:33.658
7    OCO    Force India    00:01:34.647
8    SAI    Renault    00:01:34.852
9    ALO    McLaren    00:01:35.007
10    PER    Force India    00:01:35.148
11    MAS    Williams    00:01:35.155
12    KVY    Toro Rosso    00:01:35.529
13    VAN    McLaren    00:01:35.641
14    GRO    Haas F1    00:01:35.870
15    HUL    Renault
16    ERI    Sauber    00:01:36.842
17    STR    Williams    00:01:36.868
18    HAR    Toro Rosso    00:01:36.889
19    WEH    Sauber    00:01:37.179
20    MAG    Haas F1    00:01:37.394