Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole in Austin

Nico Rosberg upset the apple cart by claiming his ninth pole position of the season ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-29. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, Texas, USA
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-29. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, United States Grand Prix, Qualifying, Austin, Texas, USA

Nico Rosberg beat Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the United States Grand Prix, lapping almost four tenths of a second faster in Saturday's qualifying session.

Gradually gaining momentum as the hour wore on, Rosberg clocked a 1:36.067 in the final shootout, 0.376 seconds faster than Hamilton.

Hamilton had topped the opening segment, but repeatedly complained of locking tyres and was unable to live with Rosberg's ever-improving pace.

Rosberg can no longer be beaten outright to the pole trophy by Hamilton, with the qualifying record standing at 9-7 ahead of the final two rounds.

Williams locked out the second row of the grid, Valtteri Bottas getting the better of team-mate Felipe Massa by three tenths of a second.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo improved on his second run to place place fifth, ahead Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen wound up seventh and eighth, but the 2009 World Champion will drop five places on the grid due to a gearbox change.

Kimi Räikkönen was the slowest of the runners to complete two runs, with Sauber's Adrian Sutil opting for a sole flyer after making it through to Q3 for the first time this season.

Pastor Maldonado was on course to beat Sutil to the final shootout, but made a mess of the final two corners on his last Q2 effort and had to settle for 11th.

The Lotus driver was eliminated from the second phase with Force India duo Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg, and Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat falls to the back of the grid for taking on a seventh Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), with a portion of the 10-place penalty to be carried over to the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Jean-Éric Vergne fell at the first qualifying hurdle, a phase which also claimed Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean's Lotus.

Vettel completed just one flying lap en route to 17th. The quadruple World Champion starts tomorrow's race from the pit lane for an entire power unit change.

Grosjean was on target to get himself out of trouble but locked up and ran wide on his final lap, leading to the Frenchman apologising over the radio.

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