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United States GP: Qualifying notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
22/10/2017

After topping all three practice sessions and breaking the track record yesterday, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton lowered the benchmark again today by taking pole on the ultrasoft.

In contrast to yesterday, conditions today remained warm and dry, with ambient temperatures peaking at 35 degrees centigrade. Mercedes and Ferrari were the only teams to get through Q1 using the supersoft tyre only, with ultrasoft then used by all drivers for the rest of qualifying - with just one exception.

Several drivers face grid penalties as the season closes, and this influenced tyre strategy. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg qualified in the top 10 in Q1 but did not elect to take part in Q2 to save tyres for the race, as he has a big grid penalty already. Red Bull's Max Verstappen is also affected by a grid penalty and was the only driver to run on supersoft in Q2: which he will start the race on tomorrow.

Mario Isola: "The tyres behaved in line with expectations, following more consistent running in warmer conditions today after a disjointed day yesterday. Again, we've seen the lap record broken today, but long runs suggest that race pace among the frontrunners should be quite closely matched. We expect two pit stops to be the favoured strategy: however, this will very much depend on track temperatures and degradation rates. This circuit provides good overtaking opportunities, creating possibilities for teams to adopt different strategies if the race circumstances suit them. With some drivers starting out of position due to grid penalties, this means that there could be some intriguing tactics, as we already saw in qualifying."

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