Valtteri Bottas is in pole position for the 2019 United States Grand Prix, with Hamilton struggling to fifth place as he strives to close out the drivers title.
Lewis Hamilton should clinch the 2019 F1 drivers title at the United States Grand Prix, but that task has been made a bit more difficult as he only managed fifth place on the grid in qualifying. And to make it worse, it’s team mate Bottas, the only driver who could theoretically deprive him of another title, in pole position.
In a tight qualifying for the top four, Bottas beat Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari in to second place on the grid, followed by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull and Leclerc in the second Ferrari.
The pole by Bottas is Mercedes’ first since the German Grand Prix back in July, but even with Bottas on pole Hamilton will only have to finish eighth or better to take the title, something he’s done in every race bar one this year.
Behind the top five it’s Albon in the Red Bull in sixth, Sainz and Norris in the McLarens in seventh and eight, Ricciardo in the Renault in ninth and Gasly in the Toro Rosso in tenth.
Of his performance in qualifying Hamilton said:
This must be one of the worst qualifying sessions I’ve had in a long time. Clearly the car had the capability to be on the front row, I just couldn’t put the lap together. Valtteri did a great job, so congratulations to him. Now I’ll have to try and figure out what went wrong today and how I can get myself to the front. It’s going to be a tough challenge trying to get past two Ferraris, a Red Bull and Valtteri, but I’ll continue to work at it and hope that I can do a better job tomorrow.
Despite the starting grid, it’s odds-on Hamilton will clinch another drivers title in Austin this weekend.