Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2015

Rosberg on pole position as Q3 is abandoned

2015 United States Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg has taken pole position for the United States Grand Prix after bad weather forced the cancellation of Q3.


The session had been running for little more than five minutes when a crash brought out the red flags. Carlos Sainz Jnr suffered his second accident in as many weekends, albeit considerably less destructive than his Sochi smash, after spinning off at turn four.

Lewis Hamilton was on top of the times when the session was halted, and when the action resumed he began a three-way fight with his team mate and Daniel Ricciardo for the top time.

The weather forecasts were telling teams to expect the conditions would worsen, but times continued to improve until the end of Q1. And with the possibility that further rain could prevent further sessions from being run, the battle for the higher places counted just as much as who might avoid elimination.

The latter was seldom in doubt: the two Manors were rooted to the bottom of the times, ahead of Sainz’s crashed car, with the two Manors ahead missing out on progression by over a second. This was a relief for Sebastian Vettel, who ended the session 15th after touching a barrier.

Hamilton slipped from first to third at the end of the session as Ricciardo claimed the quickest time, the trio covered by less than four-tenths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 2’02.212
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 2’03.194
18 Alexander Rossi Manor-Ferrari 2’04.176
19 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari 2’04.526
20 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 2’07.304


The tack had improved slightly in time for the start of Q2 and this time it was the Mercedes drivers who led the way. Rosberg set a rapid time with his first run and although Hamilton got within a tenth of a second of it, this time he ended up behind his team mate after the rain increased in the middle of the session, preventing further improvements.

Ricciardo led the way for Red Bull again, this time with his team mate immediately behind. Both stayed out on the track longer than the Mercedes pair in the hope conditions would improve.

Fernando Alonso initially seemed to have secured progression to Q3 for McLaren, particularly after Valtteri Bottas failed to beat his time by a few hundredths of a second – the Williams driver later complaining of a suspension problem on his car,

However Max Verstappen narrowly beat the pair of them to the final Q3 spot. Jenson Button therefore joined team mate Alonso in elimination along with the two Lotus drivers.

As the track conditions worsened, several drivers spun off at turn ten and most got on the radio to complain about aquaplaning in the deeper patches of water.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 2’00.265
12 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2’00.334
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 2’00.595
14 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 2’01.193
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 2’01.604


With the weather taking a turn for the worse at the end of Q2, the Safety Car was sent onto the track to judge whether the conditions were good enough for the final part to go ahead.

As the weather worsened, the decision was taken to cancel Q3, and the times from Q2 will therefore count towards the final grid.

Rosberg therefore took pole position for the third race in a row ahead of Hamilton, Ricciardo and Kvyat. Vettel was fifth quickest, but a power unit penalty will move him back, promoting the Force India pair to the third row.

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11 comments on “Rosberg on pole position as Q3 is abandoned”

  1. Rosberg the rainmaster.

    1. Nice try / 10.

  2. I wonder how many people put Nico “Regenmeister” Rosberg on pole ^^ (I went crazy and predicted the other Nico on pole).

    Really excited for this race!

  3. Does anyone else think they should have waited longer before cancelling Q3?

    1. @ivan-vinitskyy No. The rain was getting worse and it was better just to let the teams prepare for the race. No need to keep teams in stand-by for no reason.

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy They only had a one hour window.

  4. Now what is Merc going to do in order for Lewis to win the title at this strategic market?
    Merc has dodged any form of on track battling this season, but because the constructors is done I don’t know what they’ll decide to do. Maybe Merc won’t interfere, I think Lewis has some good wet pace on his pocket. As Toto said he expected Lewis to deliver the top time in q2, for one reason or the other Lewis didn’t improve for a number of laps whilst the track was still in relatively good conditions. Merc was eager to get on track early on Q3 but there was no Q3.

    1. @peartree They don’t need to do anything, the chances of Rosberg beating Hamilton on his own are not very high.

    2. Or maybe they want to assure Rosberg finishes second in the championship. They could help any of their drivers for different reasons. I don’t see them interfering in the Rosberg – Hamilton battle however.

    3. According to the driver tracker Lewis spent the whole of the second phase of the session with Verstappen in front 3+ seconds slower and Rosberg behind. Not that Rosberg wasn’t quick. Good for the race anyway.

  5. Banning traction control was one of the better decisions made in recent years (albeit seven years doesn’t really count as recent) really. Watching these drivers wrestle the cars with the incredible amount of power and torque that these power plants produce is simply amazing. You would not have got that with the V8s.

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