LIVE QUALIFYING – 2018 United States Grand Prix
Location: COTA (Circuit of The Americas)
Session: Qualifying – Formula 1 Pirelli 2018 United States Grand Prix
It’s the United States Grand Prix and we’re all getting ready for Qualifying!
This is the weekend where Lewis Hamilton could win the Drivers Championship – with a 67-point lead in the championship title, it does look likely however this is Formula 1 and we all know that anything can happen. If Sebastian Vettel finishes the United States Grand Prix 3rd or lower, the championship is Lewis Hamilton’s.
With a 3-place grid penalty, Sebastian Vettel has his work cut out for him this weekend but he’s looking upbeat and confident (read this interview here) ahead of the weekend.
Here’s what the drivers had to say earlier today….
Lewis Hamilton: “I’ve just been really focused throughout the weekends. I’m here doing my thing and always keeping my mind and focus on one thing – if you start looking at who’s here and who’s there, that means you’re worried and I’m not.”
“There have been races when we haven’t been great but we can’t change the past – all we can do is look at the future and see where we can improve and I’m bringing all I have to the weekend and keeping my focus on what I want to achieve.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think there should be common sense with the rules we have – I think it’s wrong, I slowed down, I had a look around – the rules are clear but this is the first time we had this in the wet and we had to slow down to 30kph to bring down the delta which in my opinion isn’t right as the person behind could run into you….”
Q1 – LIVE QUALIFYING – 2018 United States Grand Prix
Drivers are now making their way out onto the track – it’s dry at the moment with no sights of rain however, there are clouds around the circuit.
Kimi Raikkonen is starting his first flying lap – Gasly currently at the top of the timesheets however other cars are making their way onto the grid now.
Whilst Ferrari are out on track, Mercedes are still in the garage.
Team to Hamilton: “A car has already had it’s time removed due to exceeding the track limits – just keep your eye on that…”
Lewis Hamilton has now started to make his way out onto track.
Max Verstappen has a problem on track – it looks like theres a suspension problem, he’s making his way back to the pits…
Team to Hamilton: “Reports of Verstappen damaging his car on some of the turns – just be careful out there….”
Q1 Knock Out Zone
Q2 – LIVE QUALIFYING – 2018 United States Grand Prix
Drivers are now making their way back out onto the grid for Q2 – Mercedes and Ferrari are the first teams out on track.
Hamilton and Bottas were looking strong however at the moment – Ferrari have topped the timesheets with the team talking to Hamilton over the radio.
Team to Hamilton: “OK Lewis, let’s go for another time….”
With around 2 minutes to go until the end of Q2 – Raikkonen is at the top of the timesheets with Vettel in second place, Hamilton in third and Bottas in fourth.
Q2 Knock Out Zone
Verstappen (No Time)
Ferrari are at the top of the timesheets for the end of Q2 – have they found the pace or have Mercedes simply taken a step back to prepare for Q3?
Fernando Alonso: “Maybe it was the lack of dry running – we don’t know, maybe this will all help us to gain places. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, maybe the track will be hotter and this will change the performance of the cars. We haven’t been competitive in any of the race sessions this weekend so we will see.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It wasn’t enough at the end – in general, we have been struggling on the tyres this weekend and in FP3, I didn’t feel comfortable in the car and now the same was happening, I just didn’t feel good. Tomorrow, I hope it goes better, we always perform better in the race but hopefully we can recover a few places.”
Q3 – LIVE QUALIFYING – 2018 United States Grand Prix
Drivers are now getting ready to come back out on track – Ferrari are out on track along with the Mercedes drivers, it’s going to be a competitive Qualifying session.
Bottas sets the fastest lap time of 1:32.686 – a new track record.
Lewis Hamilton now sets a new time of 1:32.567 – another new track record. In the meantime, Sebastian Vettel makes his way round the circuit and goes 2nd fastest, pushing Bottas to P3.
Sebastian Vettel has now slowed down and is making his way back to the garage – remember, he has a 3-place grid penalty for the race tomorrow.
Team to Hamilton: “In terms of sectors, we’re down in sector one”
Drivers are now back in the garage and getting ready for the final run in Q3.
Drivers are now making their way back out onto the grid, it’s close between Mercedes and Ferrari – at the moment, Hamilton has traffic in front of him in the likes of Raikkonen.
Vettel also has traffic in front of him so neither of them have come out at the best of times….
Raikkonen: “There’s rain on the back straight….”
Team to Raikkonen: “There’s no rain, maybe drizzle Kimi….”
Kimi Raikkonen sets a new track record however Lewis Hamilton goes faster with a time of 1:32.237
Sebastian Vettel now makes his way down the straight and is up to P2 – he has a 3-place grid penalty so will be starting the race from P5.
It’s Hamilton, Vettel*, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Leclerc, Perez who make up the top 10.
Team to Hamilton: “Well done mate, that was pretty intense!”
Team to Vettel: “P2 Sebastian, P2!”
Sebastian Vettel: “****! ****!”
*Vettel has a 3-place grid penalty and will be starting the race 3 place back from where he qualified – in this case, he will start in P5.
Lewis Hamilton: “That was very important – that was close, these guys…. wow. I didn’t know how close it would be and how it would require solid laps. The first lap was decent but not great and the second one was good but not enough – I was very, very adamant that I would do better.”
“The track has been incredible, it started out very green and very slippery but as we progressed it was better. There’s a beautiful head-wind going into the “S’s” and there’s such a big crowd here – I’ve never seen them so hyped!”
“A big thank you to the team – I hope that we will have better weather tomorrow and that it’s an exciting race for everyone.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was pretty close – it was a bit of shame when you miss out on such a small gap – I was happy with my time and my lap. It’s been dry today and better for us, the wind was a little bit tricky and I’m happy that we’re back in range. We are back, not in the wet, but in the dry we’re better – I don’t think we expected to be this close, there’s work to do – I’m used to it now…(laughs)”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I was a little bit too slow but I can deal with it – we got close and it’s far from ideal. I felt good in the car and I will try tomorrow, it should be a good race but none of us know about the tyres and how they will last.”
“We don’t have a lot to lose so we will do all we can tomorrow and have a good race so we will see how it goes tomorrow.”