Vettel beats Hamilton in close-fought US qualifying

Vettel beats Hamilton in close-fought US qualifying

17 November 2012 – Sebastian Vettel has clinched an expected pole position for the United States Grand Prix, but was pushed hard by Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso qualified ninth but will start eighth as Romain Grosjean receives a five-place penalty. If he and Alonso finish where they start on Sunday, Vettel will be crowned 2012 World Champion.

Saturday marked Formula 1’s first qualifying session in America for five years and the first in Texas for close to three decades. The only new venue of the season could be the scene of Vettel’s third consecutive title-clinching moment on what is the German’s 100th Grand Prix weekend, with Red Bull almost certain to pick up another Constructors’ Championship.

The HRT cars were first on-track in Q1 on a day when many expected a non-qualification for both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan. Although the latter broke down, both men did enough to scrape through as the Marussia duo out-qualified Caterham. Following a tight battle with Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo was knocked out of Q1 for only the second time this season. Charles Pic was pleased to be the leading representative of the three newest teams, carrying a new floor following a collision in practice with Sergio Pérez.

Alonso’s troublesome weekend continued in Q2, where he was blatantly delayed by the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher; the stewards will look into the moment. The biggest story at this stage was the early bath of Jenson Button, who sunk down the order to 12th position as he crawled into the pit lane with a sudden loss of power. The 2009 title winner will be joined on the sixth row by Bruno Senna, with British compatriot Paul di Resta just behind.

Heading into the top ten shootout, the burning question was how many positions Alonso would finish behind Vettel? The answer was a somewhat shocking eight. The Spaniard’s elevation to eighth on the grid, as Grosjean takes a five-place drop for a gearbox change, could actually come as bad news because those starting off the racing line are expected to struggle for grip. With only Pastor Maldonado behind him in Q3, the title contender is out-qualified by team-mate Felipe Massa for the second time this year.

Having topped every single session so far, Vettel’s 36th career pole came in the form of 1:35.657 - which matches Hamilton for six pole positions in 2012. The latter delivered a sterling effort and had been only half a tenth slower than his adversary on their penultimate Q3 laps. The eventual margin was just over one tenth, as Mark Webber’s third place means that Red Bull is very likely to seal the teams’ honours tomorrow.

Lotus’ pace for fourth and fifth places could be viewed as remarkable in comparison with their speed in practice, as Abu Dhabi winner Kimi Räikkönen inherits a spot because of his team-mate’s demotion. That means Michael Schumacher will start inside the top five for his second to last F1 race, following his best qualifying session since Monza.

Massa and Nico Hülkenberg’s Force India will set off ahead of Alonso, who must attack immediately at the start but will find himself in a hazardous position on the uphill run to Turn 1.

If he clinches the world title on Sunday, Vettel will become only the ninth man since 1950 to win the F1 World Championship for the third time. The most recent was Michael Schumacher, with the first having been Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955.


Post-qualifying development:
Webber reprimanded, no action on Schumacher/Alonso


Sunday’s inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas starts at 1pm local time and can also be followed via the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 14 December 2017

  2. 2017 review: STR fades after strong start 08:58

    2017 review: STR fades after strong start

    GPUpdate.net continues its end-of-season review by reflecting on Toro Rosso's campaign, which unravelled through the final…

    F1
  3. Video: Hamilton, Mercedes present photobook 05:38

    Video: Hamilton, Mercedes present photobook

    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes present '4', the double-sided 2017 World Championship collectors photobook, featuring a selection of…

    F1
  4. Wednesday 13 December 2017

  5. Video: Verstappen takes on Snake Eyez 16:32

    Video: Verstappen takes on Snake Eyez

    Watch as Formula 1 racer Max Verstappen takes on Red Bull Esports athlete Snake Eyez at Street Fighter.

    F1
  6. MotoGP to host Barcelona test for riders 14:38

    MotoGP to host Barcelona test for riders

    MotoGP's Race Direction will host an open test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in May, to enable riders to assess the new…

    MotoGP
  7. Ericsson defends record against Wehrlein 13:32

    Ericsson defends record against Wehrlein

    Marcus Ericsson has defended his record against former Sauber team-mate Pascal Wehrlein, despite failing to score a point in…

    F1
  8. Follow GPUpdate on social media channels 12:20

    Follow GPUpdate on social media channels

    For almost two decades GPUpdate.net has kept the motorsport community updated with the latest news, photos and thoughts from the…

    F1
  9. Video: Latifi on F2 season, 2018 title hopes 10:33

    Video: Latifi on F2 season, 2018 title hopes

    Nicholas Latifi reflects on his 2017 Formula 2 season, which featured one win and nine podiums, and looks ahead to a potential…

    F2
  10. Chilton excited by Carlin IndyCar project 10:04

    Chilton excited by Carlin IndyCar project

    Max Chilton believes that Carlin can emerge as a competitive force in IndyCar in 2018, after confirmation of the team's…

    Indy
  11. 2017 review: Solid Haas scores more points 09:06

    2017 review: Solid Haas scores more points

    GPUpdate.net continues its end-of-season review with Haas, which stabilised as both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen scored…

    F1
  12. Boullier 'not a fan' of Norris practice runs 08:35

    Boullier 'not a fan' of Norris practice runs

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says that he is "not a fan" of potentially giving Lando Norris practice outings in 2018…

    F1
  13. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 13 05:36

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 13

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on the British Grand Prix, which Lewis Hamilton won for the fourth…

    F1
  14. Tuesday 12 December 2017

  15. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  16. Video: Roborace – Human versus Machine 16:22

    Video: Roborace – Human versus Machine

    Watch as Formula E presenter Nicki Shields takes on DevBot, a test mule for Roborace, the first driverless racing series, at the…

    FE
  17. Carlin enters IndyCar, signs Chilton, Kimball 14:18

    Carlin enters IndyCar, signs Chilton, Kimball

    Carlin has announced its move into the IndyCar series in a full-time capacity for the 2018 season, with Max Chilton and Charlie…

    Indy
  18. Monger eyes return to single-seater racing 12:49

    Monger eyes return to single-seater racing

    Billy Monger says that he hopes to return to single-seater competition in 2018, potentially in British Formula 3, after the FIA…

    Misc
  19. Dorna confirms supplier for electric series 11:37

    Dorna confirms supplier for electric series

    MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports has announced the supplier for the new FIM Moto-e World Cup electric series, which is set to begin…

    MotoGP
  20. De Vries, Müller to test Audi Formula E car 10:17

    De Vries, Müller to test Audi Formula E car

    Formula 2 driver Nyck de Vries and DTM racer Nico Müller will sample Formula E machinery with Audi in the series…

    FE
  21. Video: Hong Kong FE cinematic highlights 10:02

    Video: Hong Kong FE cinematic highlights

    Watch cinematic highlights from the first two races of the 2017/18 Formula E season, which took place on the streets of Hong…

    FE
  22. 2017 review: McLaren-Honda ends in divorce 09:02

    2017 review: McLaren-Honda ends in divorce

    GPUpdate.net continues its team-by-team review with McLaren, which finally lost patience with Honda, as the marque's revised…

    F1
  23. Williams silent over Kubica/Sirotkin reports 08:28

    Williams silent over Kubica/Sirotkin reports

    Williams is staying silent over reports that Robert Kubica has dropped out of contention for its 2018 race seat, and that Sergey…

    F1
  24. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 12 05:48

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 12

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by looking back at the Austrian Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas took pole and…

    F1
  25. Monday 11 December 2017

  26. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 11 15:04

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 11

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on the dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton was…

    F1
  27. Pirelli announces first 2018 compound choices 13:43

    Pirelli announces first 2018 compound choices

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has confirmed the compounds that will be used at the opening three Grands Prix of the 2018…

    F1
  28. Porsche outlines plans for early 2019 FE test 13:38

    Porsche outlines plans for early 2019 FE test

    Porsche has revealed that it intends to give its Formula E package its first on-track test in early 2019, ahead of its entry…

    FE
  29. Tost: Kvyat deserves to be in Formula 1 13:33

    Tost: Kvyat deserves to be in Formula 1

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost says that Daniil Kvyat "deserves" to be in Formula 1, despite recent setbacks, and hopes to see…

    F1
  30. Bottas eyes qualifying and consistency gains 12:16

    Bottas eyes qualifying and consistency gains

    Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas has accepted that he needs to improve his one-lap pace, and string a more consistent campaign…

    F1
  31. I was more aggressive in 2017 - Sainz Jr. 10:48

    I was more aggressive in 2017 - Sainz Jr.

    Carlos Sainz Jr. says he adopted a more aggressive stance in Formula 1 in 2017, in order to underline his credentials…

    F1
  32. Video: McLaren presents special Senna car 10:25

    Video: McLaren presents special Senna car

    McLaren presents its new road-legal track car, the McLaren Senna, which features a four-litre twin-turbocharged V8, producing…

    Misc
  33. 2017 review: Sauber builds for the future 09:16

    2017 review: Sauber builds for the future

    GPUpdate.net begins its team-by-team season review with Sauber, which again finished 10th, though this time without the…

    F1
  34. Video: WEC's 2018/19 'Super Season' teaser 05:42

    Video: WEC's 2018/19 'Super Season' teaser

    The World Endurance Championship looks ahead to its 2018/19 'Super Season', which includes two editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours…

    F1
  35. Sunday 10 December 2017

  36. Vettel says Baku was 'worst feeling' of 2017 15:18

    Vettel says Baku was 'worst feeling' of 2017

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says the aftermath of the rancorous Azerbaijan Grand Prix left him with the "worst feeling" of 2017…

    F1
  37. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 10 14:22

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 10

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on its 1-2 finish at the Canadian Grand Prix, bouncing back from its…

    F1
  38. Hamilton hopes for competitive McLaren in '18 13:04

    Hamilton hopes for competitive McLaren in '18

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he hopes former team McLaren will be able to compete among the leading group in…

    F1
  39. Video: Rosberg's Deutsche Bahn shoot 11:22

    Video: Rosberg's Deutsche Bahn shoot

    Go behind-the-scenes with 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg during his recent commercial shoot for Deutsche Bahn in…

    F1
  40. MotoGP review: Márquez hits rivals for six 09:16

    MotoGP review: Márquez hits rivals for six

    Marc Márquez claimed his fourth premier class title in five years, and the sixth championship of his career, as he added more…

    MotoGP
  41. Video: Mercedes reflects on 2017 F1 season 05:48

    Video: Mercedes reflects on 2017 F1 season

    Mercedes reflects on its title-winning 2017 Formula 1 season with a pictorial review, to the words of Rudyard Kipling's 'If…

    F1
  42. Saturday 9 December 2017

  43. Wehrlein: Sauber slide hid personal gains 15:34

    Wehrlein: Sauber slide hid personal gains

    Pascal Wehrlein believes Sauber's regression through the second half of 2017 masked his improvements, as he faces an uncertain…

    F1
  44. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 9 13:16

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 9

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas with the latest instalment of its #FollowTheStar series by reflecting on the…

    F1
  45. Social: FIA Prize Giving ceremony in Versailles 11:34

    Social: FIA Prize Giving ceremony in Versailles

    The biggest names in motorsport were in attendance at the Palace of Versailles for the FIA's Prize Giving Ceremony. GPUpdate.net…

    F1
  46. Video: Prize Giving Red Carpet highlights 09:58

    Video: Prize Giving Red Carpet highlights

    Watch highlights from the Red Carpet as leading figures from the world of motorsport attend the FIA's annual Prize Giving…

    F1
more news