United States Grand Prix: Close session sees Bottas on top

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It was an incredibly close session which saw Valtteri Bottas take pole by just over a hundredth of a second from Sebastian Vettel, and certainly puts himself in a good position to keep the championship alive if Lewis Hamilton fails to finish where he needs to.

Bottas took pole by a margin of 0.012 seconds from Vettel in second, whilst Max Verstappen was also within a tenth of Bottas, he may have challenged for pole had it not been for a lock up at Turn 1. Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton both made mistakes on their fast laps and trail the top 3, particularly the latter, who accepted blame for his disappointing starting position, whilst Alexander Albon felt he could’ve been closer without some mistakes. McLaren showed good pace throughout the weekend and unsurprisingly topped the midfield, with Carlos ahead of Lando, with Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eleventh, whilst Haas endured a better session, with Magnussen qualifying in twelfth and Grosjean qualifying in fifteenth. It was a disappointing session for Racing Point, a lockup at Turn 1 prevented Lance Stroll challenging to get into Q3, whilst Sergio Perez starts from the pitlane due to a harsh penalty for missing the weighbridge. Whilst neither Alfa Romeo could get out of Q1.

Here is the full starting grid with penalties taken into account;

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1.32.029
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1.32.041
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1.32.096
  4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1.32.137
  5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1.32.321
  6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) 1.32.548
  7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 1.32.847
  8. Lando Norris (McLaren) 1.33.175
  9. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 1.33.488
  10. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) 1.33.601
  11. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1.33.815
  12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1.33.979
  13. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1.33.989
  14. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) 1.34.100
  15. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1.34.158
  16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 1.34.226
  17. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 1.34.369
  18. George Russell (Williams) 1.35.372
  19. Robert Kubica (Williams) 1.35.889
  20. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) 1.35.808*

KEY: Green = Q3, Orange = Q2, Red = Q1
*= Starting from pits penalty

There are many fascinating things to watch out for in the race. The start in particular as always at the United States Grand Prix will be a fascinating watch. The Ferraris are typically good off the line and Bottas could well find himself under pressure at Turn 1. Also we have an interesting split strategy from Red Bull, with Max Verstappen starting on the mediums, whilst Alexander Albon will start on the softs, which could add some intrigue to see which car is on the right strategy.

Today could end up being a historic day in F1, with Lewis Hamilton having a great chance of securing a fifth world title. The question is will he do it or will the fight go to Brazil?

 

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