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Qualifying: Bottas edges Vettel for first pole position in Austin

  • Published on 02 Nov 2019 23:00
  • comments 6
  • By: Coilin Higgins

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas took top honours this afternoon and secured pole position for tomorrow's race in Austin, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel joining him on the front row, missing out on pole by only one-hundredth of a second.

 Charles Leclerc managed to take part in the first part of qualifying after the team worked hard to replace the engine after a failure took the Monegasque driver out of FP3.

A number of drivers suffered in Q1, as Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat ran wide at turn 9, also Vettel suffering a major lockup going into the first corner, while McLaren's Lando Norris went fastest in a quickly improving track in Q1.

Mercedes and Ferrari set their flying laps on the Pirelli Medium tyre, while Hamilton set the early pace in Q2, with only a tenth and a half separating Hamilton in first to Vettel in fourth.

Positions three and four will be occupied by Max Verstappen and Leclerc with a disappointed Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon taking their places on the grid just behind in fifth and sixth.

Albon and Verstappen showed the worth of the Red Bull RB15 around the circuit as Albon went fastest while Verstappen split the Mercedes for third. 

Both Ferrari's of Leclerc and Vettel topped the times in Q2 as the chequered flag fell, while Daniel Ricciardo was the only Renault to make it into the third and final part of qualifying.

An incident at turn 19 between Hamilton, Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat almost ended in contact between Verstappen and Hamilton, but all three got away unscathed and no investigations were deemed necessary by the stewards.

Bottas set the pace early on in Q3, breaking the track record and setting a time of 1:32.029, beating teammate Hamilton's record time from last year by two tenths.

Nobody could manage to challenge Bottas' time as the Finn was set on course to take his first pole position in Austin, while Albon has his second time deleted for exceeding track limits coming through turn 19.

Seventh and eighth for tomorrow's starting grid will be the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Norris while Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly will start tomorrow's grand prix in ninth and tenth.

F1Grand Prix United States of America - Qualifying

US Circuit of the Americas - 02 November 2019

Replies (6)

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  • Another great qualifying session for F1! Unbelievable how VER thought it was a good idea to try to go around HAM when it was clear HAM was about to overtake KVY. Totally unnecessary. Love seeing the drivers battle it out in this qualifying format, so not surprised some of the teams voted not to change it.

    • + 0
    • Nov 3 2019 - 02:20
  • Kean

    Posts: 606

    Ok, off topic, but in hopes of getting an answer I'm posting the question here rather than an older article. Regarding 2021 and the weight increase. Seems some of the increase is due to cheaper materials in the PU, but a lot of it is because of the 18 inch wheels. So my question, why go to 18 inch wheels when it comes at a cost of a weight increase? What advantages are they seeking to gain from changing to 18 inch wheels?

    • + 0
    • Nov 3 2019 - 07:07
    • It is a good question, and as far as I've looked into it, I think it's mostly down to "cosmetics". They think it looks cooler, more modern.

      There could be a benefit to cooling of brakes, since the extra space will allow for better ventilation, but it will also require a large revamp of the suspension. Similarly, it could, in theory, allow for bigger brake discs. The extra ventilation could however also affect aero negatively of the cars due to uncontrolled air movements.

      If I recall correctly, the change is however negative in terms of traction in the corners. The change also demand a pretty big revamp in how they design their suspensions. I believe they are moving towards active suspensions again, mind, so a big revamp was coming anyway.

      • + 1
      • Nov 3 2019 - 16:11
    • Kean

      Posts: 606

      I was afraid of the cosmetics argument, when they're lamenting the fact of weight increase. But then I started thinking about cost reduction, thing like suspension geometrics changing due to larger wheels, and also brakes being bigger and perhaps then allowing for cheaper materials. I don't know, this is so above my level it's not even funny. Anyway, my first thought was when they all said: "We're sorry but the weight will increase, and its due to the wheels to a large degree.", well then why change it? Like Hamilton said, a weight increase increases the stress on the tires, and if the dimensions of the wheels also does that, it's like a double negative.... I sure as shit don't get it..... This is the one thing about the new rules I dont like, (and it should have been 150 mil not 175 mil in a cost cap)

      • + 0
      • Nov 3 2019 - 17:33
    • I'm all for cosmetics, but it shouldn't come at the expense of performance. I get they wanted to make them look cooler, more road car-like, but I also think it's a silly reason to compromise the racing. I don't think they could afford getting cheaper brakes due to this change, sadly, but it would be a nice bonus where it so. IMO, it stinks of "change just 'cuz", and that ain't good. It's one of the less positive sides since Liberty's takeover, one that I can bear but still find a bit silly.

      As for the budget cap: I find it's kinda in the sweetspot. Considering it'll cut Ferrari's, Merc' and RBH's budget with nearly 1/3rd, that's a significant cut, but it'll also allow the bigger spenders to keep spend big, just not as silly big, while also emphasizing cost efficiency. It's such a change that could reintroduce interest from the likes of Toyota and so. I also feel that such a hefty cut will greatly benefit the likes of RP and TRH, cost efficient midfielders.

      • + 1
      • Nov 3 2019 - 17:58
  • Kean

    Posts: 606

    Good job Bottas, to sometimes outqualify Hamilton says a lot why they chose to keep him I think. Also, good for Vettel for outqualifying Leclerc, seems Vet has been on top of things as of late. Not sure what to think about Albon, he got a late call up to F1 and he's only 7 races in for RBH, but I was expecting him to be closer to Ver now, 0,5 sec is a bit much. RBH needs a Bottas to their Hamilton. Also, Gasly yet again constantly faster than Kvyat, that should get other teams interested in him because I can't imagine him getting another chance in the RBH. Last but certainly not least: Sainz, when it mattered he managed to do what Norris had been doing but couldn't do when it mattered. Impressed by Sainz. Norris is of course impressive, but he's still uneven, next year he will be more of a force to be reckoned with I think.

    • + 0
    • Nov 3 2019 - 07:25

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