Max starts USA GP from P8: "Anything is possible!"

Published on 25 October 2015 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen will start the USA Grand Prix from P8. In a shortened qualifying, Q3 was scrapped by the FIA, Max set the tenth quickest time but grid penalties for both Ferrars ensure the Dutchman moves up the grid two places. Nico Rosberg leads a Mercedes front row ahead of both Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat.

"It was a good session”, said Max to Verstappen.nl. “It wasn’t a surprise but I was happy to make it into Q3, especially considering the limited running we had yesterday. We weren’t able to find a proper set up because we simply didn’t have the data so making it into Q3 is excellent. In Q1 and the first part of Q2, conditions were fairly good but it got worse in the second part of Q2 so I'm happy we survived.”

His qualifying pace motivates Max for the race: “It will take at least two hours before the track will start to dry so I'm expecting an interesting race. We cant change much to the car but our speed isnt bad at all. From P8 everything is possible!”

Despite the heavy rainfall throughout the whole weekend in Austin, qualifying is starts at the scheduled time of 9am local and 2pm GMT. With the rain likely to become heavier as the session goes on, pretty much the entire field heads out as the session gets under way. Max sets a banker lap on a set of scrubbed tyres, making sure he has a time on the board. Moments later, Q1 is red flagged. Max' team mate Carlos Sainz has crashed his Toro Rosso. The Spaniard touched the slippery kerbs and lost control of his STR10, halting the session.

After the session is restarted, all drivers go out until the end of the session in the hope to make it through to Q2. With a slightly dryer racing line appearing, the times tumble and everyone is fighting for position, both on track and on the time tables. In the end, Max progresses comfortably to Q2 with Sainz joining both Saubers and Marussias in the group of knocked out drivers.

Similar to the first part of qualifying, the FIA has decided teams may only use the full wet weather Pirellis. Again, all remaining drivers are keen to get out on track. The conditions are clearly more treacherous than Q1 with most drivers going off track at some point, mainly aquaplanning at turn 10, with no serious problems other than an invalid lap time.

The rain is getting heavier and the drivers are unable to improve on their lap times, which means Max' 2:00.199 is enough to hang on to P10, qualifying the Dutchman for Q3, with both Lotus, McLaren and Valterri Bottas stranding in the second part.

Right at the moment both Mercedes leave their pit boxes to make their way to the end of the pitlane, race control announces that the final part of qualifying is cancelled and the starting grid will be based on the Q2 results. It means Nico Rosberg claims pole position ahead Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Grid penalties for Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen means that Max moves up two places and will start the race from P8.

Circuit of the Americas - USA Grand Prix - Sunday 25 October 2015

QUALIFYING RESULTS:
 P No Driver             Team          Q1         Q2       Q3     Laps 
 1  6 Nico Rosberg       Mercedes      1:56.671   1:56.824           5 
 2 44 Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes      1:56.871   1:56.929           5 
 3  3 Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull      1:56.495   1:57.969           6 
 4 26 Daniil Kvyat       Red Bull      1:57.640   1:58.434           6 
 5  5 Sebastian Vettel   Ferrari       2:00.950   1:58.596           7 
 6 11 Sergio Perez       Force India   1:59.284   1:59.210           6 
 7 27 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India   1:58.325   1:59.333           6 
 8  7 Kimi Räikkönen     Ferrari       1:58.198   1:59.703           5 
 9 19 Felipe Massa       Williams      2:00.902   1:59.999           7 
10 33 Max Verstappen     Toro Rosso    1:58.689   2:00.199           7 
11 14 Fernando Alonso    McLaren       1:59.704   2:00.265          16 
12 77 Valtteri Bottas    Williams      1:59.569   2:00.334          16 
13  8 Romain Grosjean    Lotus         2:00.236   2:00.595          17 
14 22 Jenson Button      McLaren       2:00.261   2:01.193          16 
15 13 Pastor Maldonado   Lotus         2:00.844   2:01.604          17 
16  9 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber        2:02.212                      9 
17 12 Felipe Nasr        Sauber        2:03.194                      9 
18 53 Alexander Rossi    Marussia      2:04.176                      9 
19 28 Will Stevens       Marussia      2:04.526                      9 
NC 55 Carlos Sainz       Toro Rosso    2:07.304                      3

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