Vettel surprised by Ferrari pace

Vettel needs to finish within eight points of title rival Lewis Hamilton to keep his championship hopes alive for another round and a three-place penalty would create another obstacle for the Ferrari driver, who has struggled to match Hamilton for pace at the last four rounds.

The German labeled the decision as "a lack of common sense" given the stakes, and Wolff agreed, insisting he would rather Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton prevail in the championship after a good fight and Vettel "putting on a good show".

"We sit together in the briefings, past year he came to tell me about the good job I did and now he's coming to talk to me about Woking and his time at McLaren".

"I'm grateful to be in this era and with the technology that we have and seeing the cars advance".

"It's been a while since I've had a second row start, so I guess I can kind of thank Seb or the stewards for that extra grid position".

The pole was a record-extending 81st for Hamilton, his third in a row in Austin and ninth of the season and he did it with a time of one minute 32.237 seconds - a track record. "If you want to name one, then Hockenheim. I was very adamant that I was going to do a better second lap so I am very happy with that".

"I think the last run was pretty good, but on the previous one there was very little grip so I was surprised how much on the last run I had. We'll try tomorrow, it's going to be a long race and nobody really knows how the tires will survive because of yesterday's rain so it will be interesting".

Mercedes did not appear to have the pace to beat Ferrari following the early phases at a cold and blustery Circuit of the Americas. So it's unlikely he'll start ahead of Hamilton tomorrow. "It was bad luck for the failure to happen when it did", Verstappen said.

After a final flurry of laps, the five cars eliminated included both McLarens and both Williams along with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson, a once unthinkable outcome from qualifying.

Ferrari had looked the faster team in the second phase of qualifying, with Raikkonen top of the timesheets and Vettel second. The Dutchman's exit meant he was out-qualified by his team-mate Ricciardo for the first time in 12 outings.

Vettel was second-quickest on the day.

  • Stacy Allen