Daniel Ricciardo will start tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix from fourth place on the grid. The Australian qualified in fifth place at the Circuit of the Americas but he’ll receive a boost to P4 tomorrow after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel takes a three-place grid drop from second place due to a rules infringement earlier in FP1.
There was heartbreak for Max, though, as his session came to an early end in Q1 when he suffered suspension damage that ruled him out of the rest of the session. The setback left him in P15 at the end of qualifying but with engine penalties to be applied to both Toro Rosso cars, he’s set to start from P13.
While all improved on their final laps, so too did rivals around them and as the laps played out the only one of the five to improve his position was Stroll who moved from P20 to P18, ahead of Ericsson and Vandoorne.
In Q2, Räikkönen set the pace on ultrasoft tyres, the Finn posting a lap of 1:32.884. Behind him, Vettel, both Mercedes drivers and Daniel completed their opening runs on supersoft tyres. Vettel took P2 ahead of Hamilton and Bottas and Daniel took P5 with a time of 1:34.185.
With sixth-placed Charles Leclerc of Sauber adrift by a healthy margin, the team opted to sit out the final runs.
Both Mercedes drivers and Vettel bolted on ultrasofts and took to the track, but all three bailed out of their runs before the flag and like Daniel they will start on supersofts tomorrow.
Leclerc also went for a final run, but there was no significant move by the Monegasque driver and Daniel progressed comfortably in P5 ahead of the Sauber man, Haas’ Romain Grosjean, Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez and 10th placed Nico Hulkenberg.
The German Renault driver was lucky to make it through. Team-mate Carlos Sainz looked to be on a good final lap but a small mistake in the final corner cost him and he was eliminated in P11, just two thousandths of a second off his team-mate. Also ruled out were 12th placed Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Gasly, Hartley and Max.
In Q3 it was Hamilton to the fore again, with the championship leader taking his 81st career pole with a time of 1:32.237. The margin was fine though, and Vettel’s time of 1:32.298 saw him finish 0.061s behind his title rival.
Behind them, Räikkönen was third ahead of Bottas and Daniel took fifth spot, his first-run time of 1:33.494 proving good enough to take the position more than sixth tenths of a second ahead of sixth-placed Ocon. Seventh place went to Hulkenberg, with the German finishing ahead of Leclerc and Perez.
With Vettel facing a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently during a red flag period in FP1, Daniel will get a single-place boost on the grid tomorrow and the Honey Badger will start from the back of row two, alongside Bottas.
United States Grand Prix - Qualifying:
- Lewis Hamilton
- Sebastian Vettel*
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Valtteri Bottas
- DANIEL RICCIARDO
- Esteban Ocon
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Romain Grosjean
- Charles LeClerc
- Sergio Perez
15. MAX VERSTAPPEN
*three place grid penalty