Nico Rosberg edged Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second to claim pole position for this afternoon’s United States Grand Prix. The German took his fourth pole of the season with his Q2 time as heavy rain once again disrupted running and led to the final part of the session was cancelled.
Row two of this grid at the Circuit of the Americas will be an all-Red Bull affair with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying fourth ahead of Daniil Kvyat.
Q1 began with steady rain falling across the track and with a queue of drivers lining up at the pit exit – all keen to put a lap on the board in the treacherous conditions.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean was quickly on the radio to tell his team that the track was on the limit in terms of driveability and within minutes Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz exceeded those limits, the Spaniard spinning off into the barriers at Turn Four after losing control when he took too much of a slippery kerb. The crash caused heavy damage to the front of his car, leaving his team with a race against time to get it repaired in time for the race.
The session was red flagged, with Hamilton at the top of the order with a lap of 1:59.393. He was followed by Daniel Ricciardo with a lap of 2:00.288 and his Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniil Kvyat was third, just under two seconds further back.
The session restarted 10 minutes later and Hamilton continued to set the pace. He soon lowered the benchmark to 1:58.025, though Ricciardo clung onto the Mercedes’ driver coat-tails, taking his Red Bull to 0.16 of Hamilton’s time.
Both were eclipsed by Rosberg, however, who with four minutes left chopped more than half a second off Hamilton’s best with a lap of 1:57.469. Ricciardo then bettered that with a 1:57.163.