Qualifying for the United State Grand Prix takes place under scattered cloud, around the 2.60 mile F1 circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the shortest track on the calendar.
Q1 David Coulthard is the first driver to set a time, lapping the circuit in 1:13.837, slowed by a lock up in the mid section. Sutil runs wide on the grass but recovers. With 9 minutes to go and a number of drivers on track, Coulthard improves with a 1:13.424. Red Bull cars are fast through the final sector, useful for the race. Most drivers opting to use the harder tyres during this session, as does Kovalainen, who sets a time of 1:12.998. With 7 minutes remaining, Hamilton sets a 1:12.563 on hard tyres. Vettel, replacement for Kubica, is the last to go out. Alonso sets the fastest time with a time of 1:12.416, 1:12.731 for Massa. Vettel sets a time of 1:12.997 on his first outing for BMW. Heidfeld and Vettel set a time of P2 and P4 with four minutes to run. Raikkonen improves his time. Davidson goes ninth, but appears to lose some bodywork as he crosses the line. Button, stopped at the weighbridge, manages to make it back onto track for a final flying lap. Coulthard locks left front and spins at turn eight, rejoining the track after his trip on the grass.
Drivers knocked out:
Q2 – Davidson is first on track. David Coulthard sets the first competitive time of 1:12.897. Hamilton sets a time of 1:12.065 after a reasonable scruffy lap. 1:12.611 for Raikkonen, who appears to be struggling around the Indianapolis circuit, as his team-mate sets a time half a second faster. Alonso sets a time of 1:11.926 to go fastest; Heidfeld goes fourth on a 1:12.181. Fifteen cars take to the track for the final few minutes of the session, as drivers attempt to make the top ten and final qualifying. Raikkonen goes P3. Vettel makes it through to the final ten on his debut.
Drivers knocked out:
Q3 – Hamilton sets the early pace with a time of 1:13.089 with nine minutes to go. Six minutes remaining and most cars are in for new tyres, Alonso held in the pit by his team for about twenty seconds. 1.12.703 for Massa, 1:12.847 for Heidfeld and 1:12.839 for Raikkonen. Alonso sets a 1:12.500 to go fastest, only for Hamilton to smash that time with a 1:12.385 with three minutes to go. Hamilton is forced to queue behind Alonso in the pit. Vettel goes sixth with a minute to go. Hamilton goes faster with a 1:12.331 and secures pole. Alonso alongside with the Ferrari’s behind. Kovalainen improves to sixth to push Vettel down to seventh.
Top ten drivers: