Rosberg lays down a marker with Austin pole

Nico Rosberg stormed to pole in Austin

Nico Rosberg stormed to pole in Austin

Nico Rosberg confirmed he has plenty of fight to battle for this year’s world championship after posting a stunning effort to secure pole position for the United States Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver blitzed Austin’s Circuit of the Americas to claim a ninth pole of the year by a sizeable 0.376s margin over his team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, who had topped Friday practice, was unable to respond to Rosberg’s pace with the German improving his provisional pole effort with a 1.36.076s tour on his final flying lap.

Once again the Williams of Valtteri Bottas proved to be the best of the rest in third, with his best time three tenths quicker than team-mate Felipe Massa.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo will start from fifth on the grid with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso alongside in sixth.

Jenson Button qualified in seventh but a five place grid penalty for change of gearbox will see the McLaren driver drop to 12th for Sunday’s race.

As a result, team-mate Kevin Magnussen will start from seventh ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, while Adrian Sutil delivered Sauber’s best qualifying performance of the season in ninth.

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado will complete the top 10 despite narrowly missing out on securing a place in the Q3 pole shootout.

Both Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Huldenberg failed to qualify for Q3 along with the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, who will start from 17th position having undergone an engine change.

With Caterham and Marussia absent from the weekend just 14 cars progressed Q2 as a result of the tweaked the qualifying format.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne narrowly missed the mark required to progress with the Frenchman joined by the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who completed just one flying lap and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

United States Grand Prix Qualifying Result

Position Driver Team Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.067s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.443s 0.376s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 1:36.906s 0.839s
4 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:37.205s 1.138s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1:37.244s 1.177s
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.610s 1.543s
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 1:37.706s 1.639s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.804s 1.737s
9 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari 1:37.810s 2.743s
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault 1:38.467s – Q2
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:38.554s – Q2
12 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1:37.655s – Q3 Gearbox penalty
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1:38.598s – Q2
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Renault 1:39.250s – Q1
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 1:39.555s – Q1
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1:39.679s – Q1
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 1:38.699s – Q2 Engine penalty
18 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1:39.621s – Q1

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