Hamilton has claimed his first ever United States Grand Prix pole today at COTA, beating Rosberg by just 0.216s. The Silver Arrows will start the race from the front row tomorrow as the two drivers continue to fight for the championship title. Rosberg leads the standings with 313 points away from Hamilton’s 280 points with only for more races left including tomorrow’s.

For Hamilton, this was his ninth pole of the season while Mercedes will celebrate their tenth front-row start tomorrow.

United States Grand Prix 2016 Qualifying Results

1. Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Ricciardo – Red Bull
4. Verstappen – Red Bull
5. Raikkonen – Ferrari
6. Vettel – Ferrari
7. Hulkenberg – Force India
8. Bottas – Williams
9. Massa – Williams
10. Sainz – Toro Rosso

The United States GP has an interesting history of being a title deciding race, a total of 7 drivers’ titles have been decided on US soil including Hamilton’s 2015 title. Ferrari has the most wins here with a total of 9 victories followed by Lotus and McLaren each with 8 wins. Lotus of course has its wins coming from a much earlier period, between 1960-1973. Michael Schumacher leads the drivers’ category with five wins followed by Hamilton with four wins.

Verstappen was the fastest man in today’s final practice, the Silver Arrows were further back as Red Bull set the two fastest times of the session. The weather conditions were quite okay given that last year’s qualifying session had to be postponed to Sunday due to heavy rains. In fact, Pascal Wehrlein led the field into Q1 with a set of supersoft tires.

The Saubers followed the Manors and soon Perez joined the party too, supersoft appeared to be the tire of choice for most teams. Perez and Ocon were on softs while Marcus and Nasr were on supersofts. Wehrlein set the clock going with a 1m39.319s which was trimmed down by Sauber’s Ericsson to 1m39.017 before Grosjean threw in a 1m38.520s to settle the dust. By that time, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari were now out all on supersofts, and again, the weather was everything we had hoped for.

After the big three did their runs, Hamilton emerged on top with a 1m36.296s to set the fastest time of the weekend. Rosberg and Verstappen grabbed second and third respectively. Ricciardo settled for P4 leading Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Vettel, Perez, Bottas and Sainz.

All drivers then dived into their respective pits with four minutes left in Q1.

Eliminated in Q1 were Grosjean, Magnussen, Button, Wehrlein, Nasr and Ocon. The top ten comprised of Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Vettel, Perez, Massa and Bottas. Hamilton has won the past three United Grands Prix but has never won a pole here.

Q2 was kicked off by the Silver Arrows each on soft tires. Meanwhile, Button who was eliminated in Q1 after traffic obstructed him didn’t hide his disappointment to the TV crews, “We just messed up with the timing again, it’s not the first time.”

Rosberg set the first time on 1m36.351s which also became the fastest as Hamilton only managed second. Red Bull had a different strategy, they put Verstappen on softs while Ricciardo went out on supersofts. Everyone else but Mercedes and Verstappen was on supersofts. Ricciardo did not waste time with the quicker supersoft rubber as he sailed through to set the fastest time demoting Rosberg to second.

After the first set of runs, Ricciardo led the field away from Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Hulkenberg. The top six decided to stay in the pits, saving those tires for tomorrow’s race but the rest had to fight for the remaining four places to get into Q3.

Eliminated in Q2 were Perez, Alonso, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Palmer and Ericsson. The top ten comprised of Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Sainz, Bottas and Massa.

Rosberg headed Q3 on supersofts followed by Verstappen, Hamilton and Vettel. The Silver Arrows exchanged fastest times through the sectors before Rosberg posted a 1m35.442 to go fastest. Hamilton’s lap was however faster, enough to give the World Champion a provisional P1.

Verstappen was initially third but his teammate Ricciardo was much faster and grabbed P3 instead. Verstappen in fourth led the two Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen.

“Weird shift to seventh,” said Hamilton as the drivers began their second set of runs in Q3. Rosberg’s 1m35.215s almost claimed pole but Hamilton battered it by 0.216s to take his first ever United States Grand Prix pole. Rosberg settled for second while Verstappen had P3 momentarily before Ricciardo snatched it once again.

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