Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position for the United States Grand Prix, also setting a new track record in the process. Bottas's pole time was set on the red soft compound tyre, but his best Q2 time was established on the yellow medium, which means that this is the tyre he will start the race on tomorrow. His team mate Lewis Hamilton, the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, plus the Red Bull of Max Verstappen will also start on the yellow tyre tomorrow.
Bottas received the Pirelli Pole Position Award from American legend Mario Andretti: the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion, who is a true hero to all racing fans both in the United States and abroad.
POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES
The strategies all look very close for the 56-lap United States Grand Prix. Fastest is a one-stopper, using the soft for 22 to 25 laps and the medium for 31 to 34 laps. Second fastest is another one-stopper, using the medium for 24 to 27 laps and the hard for 29 to 32 laps. Finally, using the soft for 19 to 22 laps and the hard for 34 to 37 laps constitutes the third-fastest strategy. But there's really very little to choose between any of them, so we could see a lot of different tactics in play tomorrow.
There's also a viable two-stopper, which is also competitive. It goes like this: use two sets of soft for 15 to 18 laps, then medium for 20 to 26 laps.
All four strategies detailed here could work well at the Circuit of the Americas, depending of course on the degradation rate of the soft tyre in particular. This will be influenced by weather and track conditions on race day: we saw at the last grand prix in Mexico the sort of difference that these can make.
KEEP AN EYE ON
- Pit stops. There could be a very wide range of pit stop tactics seen, as was the case at the Circuit of the Americas last year. We'll probably see both one and two pit stops, depending on race day track conditions.
- Weather. While still quite cool, conditions were considerably warmer than they were yesterday, and this trend is expected to continue tomorrow as well.
- McLaren. The team has been fast all weekend, with Lando Norris sealing P3 in FP3 this morning, P1 in Q1, and both cars starting in the top 10.
- Red soft tyres. This is theoretically around a second per lap faster than the medium, but the top five on the grid (both Mercedes and Ferraris, plus the Red Bull of Max Verstappen) will start on the medium, with those immediately behind them starting on the soft. In race conditions, this performance gap between the two compounds is expected to come down significantly.
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
"Unusually, conditions in qualifying are unlikely to be completely representative of the race, as the grand prix takes place three hours earlier. Today's warmer conditions suited the tyre range better: the result being a new track record. With more rubber being laid down, we also saw a high degree of track evolution. The tactical battle has already begun with Mercedes, Ferrari and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen choosing to start the race on the medium tyre, ahead of those on the faster soft, which should make the first few laps interesting tomorrow. Theoretically, the quickest race strategy is a one-stop using soft and medium, but there's really not much in it. Finally, it was a huge honour for us to have Mario Andretti present the pole award here in America today: a genuine legend of our sport."
FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES
QUALIFYING TOP 10
MOST LAPS BY COMPOUND SO FAR
BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SO FAR