But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the team to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.
It was also announced before the session that qualifying would go ahead even though the weather and conditions on the track haven’t improved a lot. In case you didn’t know; qualifying for the US GP was delayed until Sunday morning after heavy rain washed out Saturday afternoon’s planned track action, but worsening conditions through Sunday morning meant the session had to be suspended after Q2.
Let the battle for Pole Position begin…
During Q1, Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr lost the rear of his Toro Rosso over the kerb at Turn 3, before crashing hard into the barriers on the outside of Turn 4 and causing the session to be stopped while marshals recovered his broken STR10. Sainz Jr will need permission to start the race from the back of the grid after failing to set a time fast enough to make the 107 per cent cut-off.
After the session resumed, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari glanced the barriers following a spin at Turn 10 and the four-time world champion tumbled down the timesheet as others gradually improved their times.
With qualifying being stopped after Q2, Rosberg takes his fourth Pole Position of this season at the United States GP with a lap time of 1.56.824 . Rosberg finished ahead of Hamilton who was 0.105 seconds behind Rosberg and also ahead of Ricciardo who did a super job to finish in third 1.145 seconds behind Rosberg.
Kvyat finished in fourth place 1.610 seconds behind Rosberg, Perez finished in fifth 2.386 behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg finished in sixth 2.509 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa finished in seventh 3.175 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen finished in eighth 3.375 seconds behind Rosberg, Alonso finished in ninth 3.411 seconds behind Rosberg and Grosjean finished in tenth place 3.771 seconds behind Rosberg.
It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend.
You cannot discount Massa, Verstappen, Hulkenberg or even Perez even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to leapfrog in the Constructors Championship and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams.
Will it rain still later? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix later ? I really don’t know. Who will win the championship after this race?
Let’s see what happens on the Austin circuit on race day later on on Sunday…