Vettel Austin Pole Winner
By: James Musoke on November 17, 2012 | 2:15 P.M. EST
Vettel scored his sixth pole of the season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Point’s leader Sebastian Vettel will start at the front of the grid for the inaugural United States Grand Prix held at the Circuit of the Americas, narrowly edging McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second to earn his sixth pole start of the season. Teams have struggled throughout the weekend to retain heat in the tires on this newly paved surface, proving to be very slick and challenging for the drivers as they struggle to find grip around the turns.
Vettel set the bar during the practice sessions, and would not be denied the inevitable pole position at the newly build track, even tough the fight was closer than he had expected. Vettel set the early pace in Q3 with a time of 1.35.877s, with only McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton coming close with the time of 1.35.928s. Vettel slashed his previous time to 1.35.657s on his final flying lap, which proved to be the just enough to beat Hamilton who shaved his final time to 1.35.766s on his final run.
“I am very very pleased with the results today,” Vettel said. “ We started off on the right foot yesterday at the first practice which was good for us, even though it was extremely slippery at first. The circuit is brand new, the asphalt is brand new so it takes a while for the track to come in, but it is also fun at times to slide through the corners. Obviously as time went on things improved and the lap times got quicker and quicker, and we were very pleased with the performance during qualifying. In the last section I think I would have liked to be a little bit quicker… I think we lost some time at the first and last sector, and it was a little closer than I wanted it to be with Lewis, but overall it was a fantastic result and very important for us to start from the front.”
Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber managed to claim third spot, with Lotus’s Romain Grosjean doing a magnificent job to take fourth with a time if 1.36.174s. Grosjean, however, will be penalized five-grid-places for an un-scheduled gearbox change and will be pushed back to 9th place. Grosjean’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, with be pushed up to fourth place on the grid, ahead of Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher who will round the top five. The Ferrari’s will start in sixth and eighth place thanks to the penalty imposed on Grosjean, with Felipe Massa leading the title challenger Fernando Alonso with a time of 1.36.937s. Alonso is trailing championship leader Sebastian Vettel by ten points with two races remaining, and will have to work very hard on Sunday to overcome the advantage of the Red Bull.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg with start in seventh place in between the Ferrari’s, with Grosjean in ninth and William’s driver Pastor Maldonado rounding out the top ten for Sunday’s inaugural North American race.
Bruno Senna’s Williams will start in eleventh place behind his teammate, one spot ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button who failed to make it out of Q2 when his car developed a throttle problem mid-way through session – forcing him to retire as his team failed to fix the issue in time for him to return to the track.
“It was such a pity to be put out of the running so early into the qualifying session,” Button said. “We had a throttle pedal problem - the engineers don’t yet know exactly what caused it - but I suffered a loss of drive out on the circuit. Fortunately, I got one decently quick lap in during Q2, which was good enough for P12, otherwise I’d have been starting much farther back.”
Paul di Resta was 13th for Force India with Jean-Eric Vergne of Torro-Rosso earning himself an encouraging 14th place start after a series of poor qualifying results. The Sauber pair of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi will start in 15 and 16 spot respectively.
The United States Grand Prix is set to start at 2 p.m. (ET).