Race Weekend Central

F1: Lewis Hamilton on Pole and Poised to Claim F1 Title at the USGP

Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to the pole for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas by setting a new track record with a lap at 133.716 mph. While Vettel provided the biggest challenge for the top spot, his drive is still compromised by the fact that he has earned a three-spot grid penalty for speeding under red flag/safety car conditions on Friday.

Hamilton has won every race that he has started from the pole at the COTA.  While he has proven to be a formidable force at nearly every stop on the tour, he has been particularly excellent at this track. Since COTA opened he has won five of the six races held there.  Should Hamilton win, Vettel must finish second to keep any chance at the drivers championship as a possibility.

Due to Vettel’s penalty, his Ferrari teammate Kimi Räikkönen will start second, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas will be third.  Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will be fourth, followed by Vettel and Esteban OconNico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean sit in seventh and eighth, respectively. Filling out the top 10 are Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.  

One expected name missing from the top 10 was Max Verstappen as he suffered a broken right rear suspension during the first session in qualifying. Verstappen qualified for Q2, but did not take time. As a result, he will start 15th.

Both McLarens failed to make it out of the first round, in what is looking like an ignominious ending to Fernando Alonsoʻs season.

Coverage of the United States Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. ET on ABC.  The start is scheduled for 2:10.

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