F1 – United States GP – Qualifying
It’s time for round 18 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Champion, and we may well see Lewis Hamilton win his 4th title, in five seasons, this weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Perhaps surprisingly, Q1 did not see a huge rush of cars onto the circuit, despite the threat of rain – not that it mattered – as the rain held off anyway. Drama occurred towards the end the session when Max Verstappen suffered a sudden rear suspension failure as the car ran over some sausages kerbs on the exit of turn 15. He did make it through to Q2, but would go no further. Eliminated in the first part of qualifying were; Stoffel Vandoorne (20th), Marcus Ericsson (19th), Lance Stroll (18th), Sergey Sirotkin (17th) and Fernando Alonso (16th).
With Verstappen out of qualifying, and the two Toro Rosso’s electing not to take part in Q2 (they know they’ll start at the back anyway due to engine-based grid penalties), only two elimination spots were open for the 12 cars. Those two spots were filled by Kevin Magnussen (12th) and Carlos Sainz (11th). Carlos was just pipped to 10th by only 0.002 seconds. The culprit? His team mate, Nico Hulkenberg.
In the final part of qualifying; Lewis Hamilton set the early pace by 0.088 seconds from Sebastian Vettel. It’s worth noting that Vettel can’t get pole this weekend as he’s carrying a three place grid penalty for not slowing sufficiently under red flags during practice.
Despite a good final lap from Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel would finish the session in 1st & 2nd respectively. Behind them Kimi Raikkonen will start 2nd (after Vettel’s penalty) with Valtteri Bottas 3rd. Daniel Ricciardo will start 4th and Vettel will slot back into 5th. Esteban Ocon wins “best of the rest” with 6th for Racing Point Force India. Nico Hulkenberg will line up 7th, ahead of Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.
With Lewis Hamilton starting on pole tomorrow, and title protagonist Sebastian Vettel starting down in 5th, do you think Lewis will take the title tomorrow? The British driver needs an eight-point swing.
Also, I would love to know what you guys think of Vettel’s grid penalty for the red flag infringement. Was it justified? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.