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United States GP 2014

NOVEMBER 1, 2014

Qualifying Report - Pole Is Not Points

Nico Rosberg, United States GP 2014
© Terry Griffin, The Cahier Archive

You don't get any points for qualifying on pole in Formula 1. But by putting his Mercedes in the top slot on the grid for the United States Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg took a step closer to winning the race and earning the full dose of 25 points which what he needs to start closing the gap on his teammate Lewis Hamilton who is leading the championship.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade.)

The 18 car line-up was as follows: Red Bull Renault Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo; Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg; Ferrari Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen; Lotus Renault Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado; McLaren Mercedes Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen; Force India Mercedes Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez; Sauber Ferrari Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez; Toro Rosso Renault Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat; Williams Mercedes Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Qualifying 1

With there being only 18 cars, only four drivers would get eliminated in Q1 and another four in Q2, so there was a bit less pressure on the drivers.

It didn't take long for Hamilton to assert himself at the front as he posted a 1:38.795. Bottas, Rosberg, Massa, Sutil and Perez rounded out the top six at 7 minutes into the session.

8 minutes into the session, Rosberg, who had brake woes in FP3, went quickest with a 1:38.599. Hulkenberg was 14th and on the bubble of missing the cut to Q2. Kvyat was 15th, and Ricciardo was still in the pits. His Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel was on track, however, and he posted the 10th best time.

11 minutes into the session, Rosberg was on a flier and lowered his time to 1:38.303. Now Gutierrez was on the bubble with Hulkenberg 15th.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo was finally out of the garage. He set a 1:38.969 to go from last to fifth.

As the session wound down, several drivers switched to the soft tires. Maldonado jumped to fourth place. Alonso to second. Vettel got pushed down to 17th.

With a fresh engine installed in his car, Vettel would have to start the race from the pits anyway.

With 1 minutes remaining in the session, Perez was on the bubble and Vergne was 15th. Hamilton was now on top with a 1:37.196.

The top 14 at the end of Q1 were: Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Rosberg, Alonso, Magnussen, Button, Maldonado, Raikkonen and Ricciardo, Sutil, Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Perez.

The four drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Vergne, Gutierrez, Vettel and Grosjean.

Qualifying 2

Kvyat was the first out for the 15-minute Q2 session.

Pirelli's soft tires were the choice for Q2. Hamilton's engineer radioed him that the tires he was using for his first run could be the ones he uses in the race.

Kvyat set the first time: 1:38.699.

With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Bottas beat that with a 1:38.094, and Rosberg beat that with a 1:37.099. Hamilton and Alonso moved in and pushed Bottas down to fourth.

With 7 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton reported he had a vibration on his tires. Kvyat was 10th and on the bubble ahead of Hulkenberg, Sutil, Maldonado and Perez.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, most of the drivers were in the pits preparing for their final run in Q2.

The top 10: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Magnussen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Massa and Kvyat.

With 1 minute remaining in the session, Massa moved to third, Bottas to fourth, as Kvyat fell to 12th.

Right at the end Rosberg did a 1:36.290.

The top 10 at the end of Q2 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, Magnussen, Raikkonen and Sutil.

The four drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Maldonado, Perez, Hulkenberg and Kvyat.

Qualifying 3

Ricciardo was the first out for the 12-minute shootout. He turned a 1:38.120.

Next came Bottas with a 1:36.906.

Rosberg continued his speed run, clocking a 1:36.282 compared to Hamilton's 1:36.443.

So after the first runs the order was: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas, Massa, Button, Magnussen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Sutil.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo was the first out for those final rounds of laps.

In the final moments, Rosberg set a 1:36.067. Hamilton was 0.376 of a second slower.

The top 10 qualifiers at the end of Q3 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas, Massa, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, Magnussen, Raikkonen and Sutil.