Rosberg on pole position as Q3 is abandoned

2015 United States Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg has taken pole position for the United States Grand Prix after bad weather forced the cancellation of Q3.


The session had been running for little more than five minutes when a crash brought out the red flags. Carlos Sainz Jnr suffered his second accident in as many weekends, albeit considerably less destructive than his Sochi smash, after spinning off at turn four.

Lewis Hamilton was on top of the times when the session was halted, and when the action resumed he began a three-way fight with his team mate and Daniel Ricciardo for the top time.

The weather forecasts were telling teams to expect the conditions would worsen, but times continued to improve until the end of Q1. And with the possibility that further rain could prevent further sessions from being run, the battle for the higher places counted just as much as who might avoid elimination.

The latter was seldom in doubt: the two Manors were rooted to the bottom of the times, ahead of Sainz’s crashed car, with the two Manors ahead missing out on progression by over a second. This was a relief for Sebastian Vettel, who ended the session 15th after touching a barrier.

Hamilton slipped from first to third at the end of the session as Ricciardo claimed the quickest time, the trio covered by less than four-tenths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari2’02.212
17Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari2’03.194
18Alexander RossiManor-Ferrari2’04.176
19Will StevensManor-Ferrari2’04.526
20Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault2’07.304


The tack had improved slightly in time for the start of Q2 and this time it was the Mercedes drivers who led the way. Rosberg set a rapid time with his first run and although Hamilton got within a tenth of a second of it, this time he ended up behind his team mate after the rain increased in the middle of the session, preventing further improvements.

Ricciardo led the way for Red Bull again, this time with his team mate immediately behind. Both stayed out on the track longer than the Mercedes pair in the hope conditions would improve.

Fernando Alonso initially seemed to have secured progression to Q3 for McLaren, particularly after Valtteri Bottas failed to beat his time by a few hundredths of a second – the Williams driver later complaining of a suspension problem on his car,

However Max Verstappen narrowly beat the pair of them to the final Q3 spot. Jenson Button therefore joined team mate Alonso in elimination along with the two Lotus drivers.

As the track conditions worsened, several drivers spun off at turn ten and most got on the radio to complain about aquaplaning in the deeper patches of water.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda2’00.265
12Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes2’00.334
13Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes2’00.595
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda2’01.193
15Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes2’01.604


With the weather taking a turn for the worse at the end of Q2, the Safety Car was sent onto the track to judge whether the conditions were good enough for the final part to go ahead.

As the weather worsened, the decision was taken to cancel Q3, and the times from Q2 will therefore count towards the final grid.

Rosberg therefore took pole position for the third race in a row ahead of Hamilton, Ricciardo and Kvyat. Vettel was fifth quickest, but a power unit penalty will move him back, promoting the Force India pair to the third row.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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24 comments on “Rosberg on pole position as Q3 is abandoned”

  1. Rosberg the rainmaster.

    1. Nice try / 10.

      1. I was watching the BBC highlights and they kept saying how good Hamilton was in the rain and how stunning each lap was. That’s very true but then they didn’t say anything when Rosberg beat him each time or when Riccardo was on top.

        1. Yeah, when a driver they like is doing good it’s all about how amazing he is. But when his teammate is right up there with him they have to accept it is the car, and then they sound in pain.

    2. Free practice yesterday, BBC were falling all over themselves calling Lewis, the rain master..smh. Nico did the same the day before and BBC were not so appreciative . Mr.Benson is really starting to grind my gears. For instant he just stated Ferrari will start 14th because they’ve used to many engines, as if to say to his audience, they’re crap engines that blow up, without mentioning it was an updated power unit.

  2. I wonder how many people put Nico “Regenmeister” Rosberg on pole ^^ (I went crazy and predicted the other Nico on pole).

    Really excited for this race!

    1. @paeschli
      I did, though not based on a perceived superiority of Rosberg’s in the rain. It was the limited running thus far that encouraged me, as Rosberg seems to cope better with this sort of circumstances. Which is a bit ironic, considering that it’s Hamilton who has a reputation of being a very “natural” driver who can hop into a car and instantly be quick. Looks like Rosberg has that talent, too.

    2. I had him down for a dry pole, switched him for Hamilton when it became clear qualifying would be wet… oops.

  3. Does anyone else think they should have waited longer before cancelling Q3?

    1. @ivan-vinitskyy No. The rain was getting worse and it was better just to let the teams prepare for the race. No need to keep teams in stand-by for no reason.

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy They only had a one hour window.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      25th October 2015, 17:21

      I think we waited enough yesterday!

  4. Now what is Merc going to do in order for Lewis to win the title at this strategic market?
    Merc has dodged any form of on track battling this season, but because the constructors is done I don’t know what they’ll decide to do. Maybe Merc won’t interfere, I think Lewis has some good wet pace on his pocket. As Toto said he expected Lewis to deliver the top time in q2, for one reason or the other Lewis didn’t improve for a number of laps whilst the track was still in relatively good conditions. Merc was eager to get on track early on Q3 but there was no Q3.

    1. @peartree They don’t need to do anything, the chances of Rosberg beating Hamilton on his own are not very high.

    2. Or maybe they want to assure Rosberg finishes second in the championship. They could help any of their drivers for different reasons. I don’t see them interfering in the Rosberg – Hamilton battle however.

      1. I have every expectation that they want to finish the season with Nico ahead of Seb. Of course.

    3. According to the driver tracker Lewis spent the whole of the second phase of the session with Verstappen in front 3+ seconds slower and Rosberg behind. Not that Rosberg wasn’t quick. Good for the race anyway.

    4. Do you honestly, genuinely think that Mercedes will try and unduly influence the result of this race? Really? Really?

      The past few years have shown that they will do nothing and they will let their drivers race.

  5. Banning traction control was one of the better decisions made in recent years (albeit seven years doesn’t really count as recent) really. Watching these drivers wrestle the cars with the incredible amount of power and torque that these power plants produce is simply amazing. You would not have got that with the V8s.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      25th October 2015, 17:24

      This (short) Q session was way better than many races so far this season! @craig-o

  6. Yeah, you did not see that with V8s. So far looking good all this… Can hardly wait for the race….

  7. With the weather getting worse & the cars being unable to run in the rain, what is going to happen if it rains during the race, the whole race under the safety car?

  8. Only one race is ever re-scheduled 1985 Belgian Grand Prix. If weather getting worse we could expected 2010 Korea GP

  9. Whenever they cannot get prepared before the quali Rosberg beats Hamilton. That’s not what most people would expect from those two.

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