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