Rosberg returns; takes pole in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas- After being beaten by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton over the last four rounds, Nico Rosberg recorded a 1:37:067 in the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon, to take his ninth pole for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Hamilton stayed in contention for the title with a second place finish, while Valterri Bottas took third.

“Great day, very happy. It worked out really well. I arrived with a car I was really happy with. The balance was good.” The German told the BBC.

Hamilton started the ball rolling for the Silver Arrows by setting the fastest time of the session with a 1:37:196 despite having to return to the pits after flat spotting his tires with nine minutes left in the session. Because of the Caterham and Marussia teams not showing up to the event, due to administrative problems, only four drivers were eliminated from the first round. They included Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez, and Romain Grosjean. Defending race winner and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was also another casualty, as the German needed to change a power unit and will begin the race from the pit lane.

Rosberg came out fighting in the second session, setting a 1:36:290 right at the last second to take the best time, while Pastor Maldonado, Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg , along with Danil Kvyat were the next four drivers eliminated from the final round.
But Rosberg could not be denied in the final round as Hamilton was fighting with brake issues. This gave the German an opportunity to finish up at the top, his ninth of the season. For Mercedes, who just clinched the world constructor’s championship at the last round in Russia, it is their 10th front row lockout.

Felipe Massa led the rest with a fourth place finish in his Williams, while Daniel Ricciardo took fifth. Fernando Alonso was sixth, while the McLaren pair of Jenson Button were seventh and eighth, respectively. Kimi Raikkonen and Sauber’s Adrian Sutil rounded out the top ten.

Rosberg cautioned that anything can change on the track, especially when it all counted on Sunday afternoon as he stated to the BBC.

“It was quite a challenge because the wind was changing and this morning the track was a lot colder. The track kept changing so it wasn’t easy to get a balance. But the race is what counts.”

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