Formula One: Rosberg breaks Hamilton stranglehold for US pole

Formula One: Rosberg breaks Hamilton stranglehold for US pole

Saturday, November 1, 2014 9:00 pm

Nico Rosberg  in Pole position

Nico Rosberg in Pole position

Nico Rosberg broke free of Lewis Hamilton’s stranglehold to seize his ninth pole position of the season on Saturday when he topped a tense qualifying session for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old German clocked a best lap of one minute and 36.067 seconds in the final moments to outpace his nearest rival, Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Hamilton by almost four-tenths of a second.

Until qualifying, Hamilton had reeled off fastest laps in all three practice sessions and demonstrated the speed and form that suggested he was in line for his fifth straight win and 10th this year in Sunday’s 56-lap race.

But Rosberg, who is 17 points behind Hamilton with three races remaining, responded with a cool showing under pressure as he delivered laps that were faster that last year’s pole time set by four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who won last year’s race for Red Bull.

“Great job guys,” said Rosberg. “Thank you very much.”

It was his 13th career pole and meant he had out-qualified Hamilton 10-7 over the season so far.

Finn Valtteri Bottas was third for Williams, the fifth time he has taken that position in the last seven race weekends, ahead of his team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, the 2009 champion Jenson Button and his McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Kimi Raikkonen was ninth in the second Ferrari and Adrian Sutil 10th for Sauber.

Vettel made only a token appearance in Q1 and qualified 17th for Red Bull, knowing he will start Sunday’s race from the pit lane after a change of power unit.

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