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Vettel on pole for U.S.Grand Prix, Alonso starts eighth

posted 17 Nov 2012, 15:39 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 17 Nov 2012, 15:40 ]

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is on pole for the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix, while his nearest rival Fernando Alonso is eighth on the grid.

AUSTINTEXAS, USA (NOVEMBER 17, 2012) (FOM) -  Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel roared to pole position at the U.S. Grand Prix on Saturday (November 17) with the German perfectly placed to claim a third straight Formula One title in his milestone 100th race.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, 10 points behind the championship leader with one round to come after Sunday (November 18), set only the ninth quickest time in qualifying atAustin's new Circuit of the Americas.

"Through qualifying I think we were very happy," said Vettel, 25, of his sixth pole of the season and 36th of his career, after beating McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to the top slot. "In the last section I would have loved to go a little bit quicker, I think I lost a little bit in the first and in the last sector. It was a bit closer than I wanted probably with Lewis (Hamilton) but all in all fantastic.

"Obviously it is very important here to you know start from the front, we start on the clean side - both of us - so yeah, it should be a good race tomorrow."

Alonso, the only driver who can deny Vettel the title, gained one position immediately withFrance's Romain Grosjean handed a five-place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

That moved the determined Spaniard up to eighth on the starting grid and right behind Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa in sixth.

The Ferrari driver must finish at least fourth if Vettel wins in order to stay mathematically in contention for the finale in Brazil.

Alonso will have no problems getting ahead of Massa but reeling in Vettel, the dominant driver of the closing stages of the season, will be another matter.

With Formula One back in the United States for the first time in five years, Vettel has looked right at home in Texas with the fastest times in all three practice sessions at the sport's newest venue.

While Vettel will have one eye on Alonso, he is likely to have the other on Hamilton alongside.

The Briton, last winner of a U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2007, was just a 10th of a second slower and has been quick around the undulating circuit all week.

"Tomorrow is just about getting a good start, and then it's so wide in turn one I don't think really much can go wrong there generally but I might be wrong," Hamilton told reporters. "But I obviously don't want to get in the way of Sebastian's race however I do want to win so I am going to try my best to get through cleanly."

Red Bull are set to clinch the constructors' title for the third year in a row on Sunday and have Australian Mark Webber in third place on the grid.

"Pretty happy with the last part of Q3, we had to manage a little problem in the car which in the end I don't think would have cost us a position because the guys obviously were pretty quick and did both very, very strong lap times but I would have liked to have had a little bit more pace but overall I'm happy to be third on the grid," Webber said.

"I just say it's certainly up there towards the front and we can have a very, very strong Grand Prix from there so it's a great job from the team."

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, who won in Abu Dhabi, is fourth for Lotus.

Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, who is retiring at the end of season, will hope to wave goodbye to his American fans with a good result after qualifying fifth for Mercedes.

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, in a Force India, will be alongside Alonso on the fourth row with Grosjean and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, for Williams, behind.

Starting grid from the Formula One United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - Renault

2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren

3. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - Renault

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault

5. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes

6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari

7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes

8. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari

9. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault

10. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault

11. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - Renault

12. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren

13. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes

14. Jean-Eric Vergne (FranceToro Rosso - Ferrari

15. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari

16. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - Ferrari

17. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes

18. Daniel Ricciardo (AustraliaToro Rosso - Ferrari

19. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - Cosworth

20. Charles Pic (France) Marussia - Cosworth

21. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - Renault

22. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - Renault

23. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - Cosworth

24. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - Cosworth