AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 20: Top three qualifiers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari celebrate in parc ferme during qualifying for the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 20, 2018 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton is on pole position for tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix with the World Drivers’ Championship (WDC) in sight. If he is able to retain top spot and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished below 2nd, he will clinch the title. This came after a hectic Q3 where Kimi Raikkonen was on provisional pole before Hamilton put in his pole clinching lap. Vettel placed second, but will be moved back to fifth due to a penalty issued on Friday.

Kimi Raikkonen To Join Lewis Hamilton On Front Row

The qualifying session happened in the late afternoon to early evening with the air temperature at 19 degrees C and the track temperature at 21 degrees C. All drivers opted for the fastest tyre selection this weekend, the Ultrasofts.

Q1 – Max Verstappen Suffers Damage

In the first qualifying session, Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen put in a fast enough lap to advance but also damaged his car. There was an issue on the right rear of his car coming off the big “sausage kerbs”. Because of this he did not participate in qualifying two. Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericsson, Lance Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin and Fernando Alonso did not advance to Q2. They were all at risk of elimination before the final laps, and despite tons of shuffling in the standings, they all found their way back to elimination.

Q2 – Sainz and Magnussen Out

Many Q2 eliminations came from lack of participation. Along with the already mentioned Verstappen, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley did not put in a lap. Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen put in laps but did not escape the dropzone.

Q3 – Hamilton Pinches Pole

With one Red Bull not making it to Q3, P6 was available to a driver outside of the top three teams. It was Force India’s Esteban Ocon who captured that spot with a 1:34.145s lap time. Lewis Hamilton put in a 1:32.237s lap, improving by over a whole second from his Q2 lap. Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen will join him on the first row on Sunday, with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo lined up on the second row.

Full Timing Sheet

Pos # Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.130 1:33.480 1:32.237 19
2 5 Sebastian Vettel* Ferrari 1:34.569 1:33.079 1:32.298 17
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.703 1:32.884 1:32.307 14
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.518 1:33.702 1:32.616 17
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:34.755 1:34.185 1:33.494 14
6 31 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:34.876 1:34.522 1:34.145 18
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.832 1:34.564 1:34.215 18
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:34.892 1:34.419 1:34.250 17
9 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:35.069 1:34.255 1:34.420 17
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:35.193 1:34.525 1:34.594 17
11 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:34.891 1:34.556 12
12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:34.972 1:34.732 12
13 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:34.850 13
14 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:35.206 13
15 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:34.766 4
16 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.294 6
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:35.362 6
18 18 Lance Stroll Williams 1:35.480 8
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:35.536 8
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:35.735 6

*3 place grid penalty

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