US GP qualifying as it happened

Text and video highlights of qualifying for the United States GP, where Sebastian Vettel takes pole position.

17 November 2012 Last updated at 21:10 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 1940: 

    I'll be back tomorrow at 1800 GMT to build up to the first United States Grand Prix to take place at the Circuit of the Amercias in south east Austin, Texas. Lights go out at 1900.

    Sebastian Vettel may be in a sensational position to claim his third successive title, but Fernando Alonso always comes alive on Sunday and you can never count him out of the fight.

    Thanks for your company and contributions and I hope to see you tomorrow for more of the same. I have a feeling it's going to be a stunner. Until then, it's goodnight from me. Night.

  2. 1935: 

    The grid for the 2012 United States Grand Prix:

    1) Vettel 2) Hamilton 3) Webber 4) Raikkonen 5) Schumacher 6) Massa 6) Hulkenberg 8) Alonso 9) Grosjean* 10) Maldonado

    11) Senna 12) Button 13) Di Resta 14) Vergne 15) Perez 16) Kobayashi 17) Rosberg

    18) Ricciardo 19) Glock 20) Pic 21) Petrov 22) Kovalainen 23) De la Rosa 24) Karthikeyan

    *Grosjean demoted five places due to a grid penalty for a gearbox change


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "There's not much to feel [about Alonso qualifying eighth]. We have to look after ourselves. I'm very happy, we had a smooth session. We had an issue yestersday and we lost time, things have happened and they might happen again. We are very happy with the result but so far nobody has scored any points; we've seen how things quickly can change from the last race."

  4. 1932: 

    Just before I go, here's a final word from our pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel...

  5. 1930: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's qualifying report but if you want to see moving pictures, tune into BBC Two at 2100 GMT for a shiny highlights package with Jake and DC. We'll also have an edit on the website along with all the reaction and analysis throughout the evening.


    McLaren's Jenson Button on Twitter: "Tough day with a car stopping problem in Q2. WE will solve the reliability issues but 4 now let's just look forward 2 an exciting race."

  7. 1925: 

    Fernando Alonso says that he still believes he will score more points than Sebastian Vettel in the race tomorrow despite his disappointing qualifying session. The Spaniard adds that he's not too surprised with the position because the car is the same as in Abu Dhabi where he qualified seventh, one place better than he managed here.


    Ferrari on Twitter: "P7 for Felipe and P9 for Fernando: not really a good qualifying session today. Also, the position which they both will gain will put us on the dirty side of the grid."

    Romain Grosjean's five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change promotes both Ferrari drivers.


    Josh Cobb on Twitter: "Blimey, bit of a lap from Lewis there, he might just be money well spent for Mercedes."


    Red Bull's Mark Webber, who starts third: "I'm happy with qualifying. I was pretty happy with last part of Q3 I had to manage a little problem with the car but the two guys ahead of me were pretty quick and did very strong lap times. Overall, I'm happy to be third on the grid. We can have a strong grand prix from there. It's a great job by team. We've got our eye on the constructors' championship and trying to put that to bed."


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who starts second: "I'm not really concerned about the first corner, I'm more concerned about being on the dirty side of grid. I did a launch there earlier and it was quite slippery. My aim is to get a good getaway. I don't want to get in the way of Sebastian's race but I do want to win. I will try my best to get through the first turn cleanly."


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who starts on pole: "We're very pleased. We started on the right foot in first practice. It was extremely slippery to start with. The circuit is brand new and it takes a while to come in, but it was quite a lot of fun to slide a couple of corners. In the final section I would have loved to have gone a bit quicker. It was a bit closer than I wanted, but fantastic to start on the front and on the clean side."

  13. 1916: 

    The top three have made their way into the news conference so let's hear what they have to say...

  14. 1914: 

    Just a reminder that championship contender Fernando Alonso will start eighth as a result of Romain Grosjean's five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.


    Joe Blackmore on Twitter: "MSC proving hes still got it! Should be him and Lewis in a Mercedes nest season!"

  16. 1912: 

    McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says it was a throttle pedal problem for Jenson Button is qualifying but they don't know any more than that at the moment. The 2009 world champion will start 12th on the grid tomorrow.

  17. 1910: 

    That's only the second time this season that Felipe Massa has outqualified Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. While over at Mercedes, Michael Schumacher delivered his best qualifying performance in a long, long time to finish sixth fastest, 11 places ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. Decent.

  18. 1908: 

    So here's how they finished:

    1) Vettel 2) Hamilton 3) Webber 4) Grosjean 5) Raikkonen 6) Schumacher 7) Massa 8) Hulkenberg 9) Alonso 10) Maldonado

    11) Senna 12) Button 13) Di Resta 14) Vergne 15) Perez 16) Kobayashi 17) Rosberg

    18) Ricciardo 19) Glock 20) Pic 21) Petrov 22) Kovalainen 23) De la Rosa 24) Karthikeyan

  19. 1906: 

    It all went wrong for Fernando Alonso, though, as the Spaniard will start ninth on the grid for Sunday's race. His championship challenge is hanging by a thread.

  20. 1905: 

    Sebastian Vettel does it again. The German, quickest in all three practice sessions, dominates every part of qualifying to take his sixth pole position of the season in his 100th grand prix.

  21. 1904: 


  22. 1903: 

    It's quick, but not quick enough. Lewis Hamilton slots into second, just one tenth slower than Sebastian Vettel.

  23. 1902: 

    Sebastian Vettel improves his leading time by a couple of tenths but Lewis Hamilton is absolutely flying. Oh the tension...

  24. 1901: 

    There's misery for Ferrari as Fernando Alonso can only do the seventh quickest time. It's going to be a long afternoon for the Spaniard on Sunday.

  25. 1900: 

    Lewis Hamilton looks quick but he's an agonising 0.052 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel. He's got one more lap, though. Can he go even quicker and steal pole away from Vettel?

  26. 1859: 

    Lewis Hamilton is second ahead of Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. Fernando Alonso is down in seventh, after a mistake on his last lap at Turn 19, ahead of Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.

  27. 1857: 

    As we approach the final two minutes of this session, Sebastian Vettel clicks into top gear and goes quickest by three tenths of a second. It's not as quick as he went in Q2, though, so there's more to come.

  28. 1856: 

    Mark Webber goes fastest with a 1:36.845, four tenths clear of Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. But that lap is beaten by Lewis Hamilton who slices six tenths off the Australian's time.

  29. 1855: 

    Nice opening lap from Romain Grosjean there. The Frenchman clocks a 1:37.2 to go comfortably quickest. The rest of the field, including Hamilton, Alonso and Massa, look content to ease their tyres into this session.

  30. 1854: 

    Michael Schumacher clocks a rather disappointing 1:51.627 to get things started. Fernando Alonso easily eclipses that with a 1:42.411, one second quicker than Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa manages on the first attempt.

  31. 1852: 

    Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber head out together in their Red Bulls, leaving just Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg in the pits.

  32. 1851: 

    Michael Schumacher is first out of the box, closely followed by the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

  33. 1850: 

    This is it. Ten drivers, one pole position. Time to get it on.


    Ian Carbo on Twitter: "Vettel and Red Bull are in another league in this GP. McLaren's MP4-27 reliability is worrying."

  35. 1847: 

    Sebastian Vettel has been on top in all three practice sessions as well as both parts of qualifying. It's all looking very good for the championship leader. Decent performance from Michael Schumacher, too. The seven-time world champion made it into the top 10, lapping 1.4 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  36. 1846: 

    Bruno Senna, Jenson Button, Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg.

  37. 1845: 

    Terrible scenes for Jenson Button as a mechanical gremlins resurface at his McLaren team. The 2009 world champion will start down in 12th in tomorrow's race. To make matters worse, he's on the dirty side of the track - which is the place no one wants to be.

  38. 1844: 


  39. 1844: 


  40. 1843: 

    Felipe Massa goes second fastest in the Ferrari, but he's still seven tenths slower than Sebastian Vettel. Bruno Senna can't quite do enough and goes 11th quickest to just miss out on the top 10 shoot-out.

  41. 1841: 

    Raikkonen is on the bubble in 10th and now has one more lap to push himself up the timesheets and into relative safety. Less than a minute to go, folks.

  42. 1840: 

    Button has now been pushed into the drop zone, with Paul di Resta, Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez.

  43. 1839: 

    Oh dear. More reliability misery for McLaren. Jenson Button manages to get his ailing car back to the pits. The 2009 world champion pulls up in his box and is soon surrounded by mechanics who get to work on his car.


    Jenson Button over team radio: "Loss of power, guys, loss of power."

  45. 1838: 

    Guess who has just gone quickest. Yep, that man Sebastian Vettel. The German is simply mighty in all three sectors, clocking a lap that is eight tenths faster than anyone else. The lap even brings a smile to Red Bull boss Christian Horner's face.

  46. 1836: 

    So Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi, Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez are currently in the drop zone.


    Yash Agarwal on Twitter:‏ "Is Ferrari on strategy to send Alonso as P11 saving his tyres?"

  48. 1835: 

    Jenson Button goes second quickest, two tenths off the pace. Fernando Alonso goes fourth quickest, one second down on the leading time, after he has his first lap ruined by a slowing Michael Schumacher.

  49. 1833: 

    Kimi Raikkonen sets the early pace, a decent 1:37.672. Bruno Senna goes second, but his effort is 2.5 seconds off the Finn's leading lap time. McLaren's Jenson Button has headed out on what we believe is a five-lap timed run.


    Sauber on Twitter: "We are waiting a few more minutes. Only one run in Q2."

  51. 1831: 

    Hold an F1 race and they will come. Star Wars director George Lucas has been spotted in the hospitality area, tucking into a sandwich.

  52. 1830: 

    Pastor Maldonado gets out and about nice and early, and he's soon joined by Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen.

  53. 1829: 

    It's time for another seven drivers to get the boot as we begin the second part of qualifying.

  54. 1828: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says that he expects the drivers to head out on the softer tyres straight away. He adds that he thinks drivers will need to go under 1m37.5 to feel comfortable about making it into the top 10 shoot-out.

  55. 1825: 

    Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Grosjean, Senna, Maldonado, Button, Massa, Hulkenberg, Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Vergne, Perez and Rosberg.

  56. 1824: 

    It's an impressive performance from the Marussia team who manage to get both cars in front of the Caterhams in 19th and 20th place. There's also good news for both HRTs who look to have achieved a time good enough to start the race on Sunday.

  57. 1823: 

    Daniel Ricciardo, Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan

  58. 1822: 


  59. 1821: 

    No sweat. Rosberg feeds off the pressure to go 17th quickest and scrape into Q2. That pushes Daniel Ricciardo down into the drop zone and I don't think he'll have enough time to improve.

  60. 1820: 

    Nico Rosberg is in a spot of bother here. The German is 18th and in the drop zone but the yellow flags are out as Narain Karthikeyan has ground to a halt out on track. That means he'll have to back off in that portion of the track.


    BBC Radio 5 live analyst John Watson: "Vettel's 1.36.5 is just mega."

  62. 1819: 

    Hmmmm. Well that didn't last long. Sebastian Vettel goes purple (fastest of all) in the first sector, sets a personal best in the second, and purple in the final sector to go quickest by a dominant half a second. The man is a machine.

  63. 1818: 

    Boom. Lewis Hamilton sinks a beauty of a lap to go one tenth quicker than anyone else. Sebastian Vettel has been shunted down to second, ahead of Mark Webber.


    Marussia on Twitter:‏ "Woaaah those lap times are such a moving feast."

  65. 1817: 

    Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo is currently in the drop zone along with Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Heikki Kovalainen, Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan and Vitaly Petrov.

  66. 1816: 

    It's a Red Bull one-two at the moment, with Sebastian Vettel one tenth ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. Romain Grosjean is a strong third, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa. Four minutes remaining.


    Joe Sturdy on Twitter: "Hope that HRT don't fold at the end of season, or sooner. They've done little more than prop up the back, but 24 cars is good to see."


    BBC Radio 5 live analyst John Watson: "I've never seen a Q1 that's so intense. Nobody is safe."

  69. 1814: 

    Lewis Hamilton has slotted himself into eighth on his first committed flying lap, but he's bumped down a position when Sebastian Vettel shows his hand and goes quickest by three tenths of a second.

  70. 1813: 

    Bruno Senna is our new leader in the Williams. He inches ahead of Romain Grosjean by a couple of thousandths. Sebastian Vettel is third, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Paul di Resta.

  71. 1812: 

    Mark Webber's first effort is good enough for second overall, six tenths off the pace set by Romain Grosjean. All 24 cars are out on track now, so traffic could become an issue.

  72. 1810: 

    Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean have already plumped for the faster medium tyre. Grosjean makes good use of them and goes quickest, just under a second quicker than Felipe Massa in second. Fernando Alonso goes third, pushing Kimi Raikkonen down to fourth.


    Tim Ball on Twitter: "Please don't let it be a Red Bull walkover!"

  74. 1807: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says Ferrari scrubbed two sets of the medium tyre and two sets of the harder tyre in final practice ready for qualifying. That process takes the shine off the fresh tyre and means they should be able to get a lap time out of them straight away.

  75. 1805: 

    Kimi Raikkonen sets the early pace, clocking a 1:41.058, six tenths clear of Timo Glock in the Marussia. Both Red Bulls and McLarens look content to wait in the garage but the Ferraris have just ventured out.


    Matt Collingwood on Twitter: "Hoping that tyre management plays a part tomorrow - that could spice up the championship challenge nicely!"

  77. 1803: 

    Sebastian Vettel has his headphones on at the back of the garage and is bopping his head with his eyes closed. The German is in the zone. Will Vettel dominate qualifying like he has done practice?

  78. 1801: 

    The two HRT cars are the first two cars out on track. Both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan are under pressure to qualify for this race. They have struggled for grip all weekend and will find it difficult to achieve the qualifying time that's no more than 107% slower than the fastest time which will allow them to start Sunday's race.

  79. 1800: 

    Qualifying for the first United States Grand Prix to take place at the Circuit of the Americas is go, go, go. Let's get it on.

  80. 1757: 

    For those of you who were with me during final practice, you'll know that Sergio Perez and Charles Pic collided on track. The duo were summoned to the stewards during the break, but the decision was to take no further action. It was a lucky break for Perez who is on two reprimands - a third would trigger an automatic penalty. In other news, Romain Grosjean changed his gearbox after FP3 and has therefore picked up a five-place grid penalty.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "We've played with hosting a race in the USA in the past but this looks like a purpose-built circuit which can really be a success this time."

  82. 1755: 

    James Allen and John Watson are chatting away on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online via the link at the top right of this page for desktop users. Some of you might need to refresh your page.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Qualifying is going to be all about tyre temperature. It was no surprise that the fastest four drivers in final practice were the four drivers who are among the best at throwing a car into a corner and correcting any ensuing drama - Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso. And the Mercedes was quick simply because of its fundamental failing this year - it overheats its tyres which, at a track where getting heat into them is a problem, can be a benefit, at least in qualifying. Pole looks set to be fought out between Vettel and Hamilton. Can Alonso get on to the second row and give himself a shout of having a go at beating Vettel in the race and keeping his title hopes properly alive?"

  84. 1750: 

    This is your 10-minute warning. Qualifying is about to get under way so now is the time to refresh your food and drink supply and settle in for one hour of fast and furious action. The time is almost here and I one for am buzzing with excitement.

  85. 1748: 

    American sprinting legend Michael Johnson is rocking the sunglasses in the paddock. The Olympic gold medallist is working with the Williams team to try and improve their performance on and off track. The four-time Olympic champion focuses on providing an intensive training programme for the team's pit crew, as well as conducting an evaluation of the team's training regime.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "The drivers will be looking for two things in qualifying - not only to be as fast as they can, but ideally to have an odd-numbered starting position. The track is very slippery off line, so those starting on the inside of the track expect to lose places at the start. Red Bull's Mark Webber said: 'The left-hand side of the grid will be a joke, so you want to be on the right-hand side if you could. The first corner is a bit like La Source in Spa, so we all know that.' At La Source this year, of course, there was a huge pile-up."

  87. 1744: 

    Matt Le Blanc - or Joey from Friends to you and me - is in the Austin paddock and has been indulging in, what I can only assume is, tyre chat with Pirelli chief Paul Hembery.

  88. 1742: 

    For this week's Lawro's Pole Position prediction, I'm playing it nice and safe and going for Sebastian Vettel. Despite a water leak issue in second practice, which limited his running, the German has been blindingly quick all weekend. Lewis Hamilton will push him close, but I think the reigning world champion has enough in the tank to hold off the flying Brit. What do you think? Tweet me using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only). Don't be shy - get involved.

  89. 1739: 

    The action gets under way at 1800 GMT, with the hour-long session split into three sections. The slowest seven drivers will be elimated after 20 minutes. The times are then reset and they go again, with another seven given their marching orders after 15 minutes. That leaves 10 to fight it out in a 10-minute shoot-out.

  90. 1736: 

    Welcome, one and all, to our live coverage of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel has been dominant in practice, topping the times in all three sessions but crucially, his advantage has gradually been whittled down. Fernando Alonso, both McLarens and even Williams's Pastor Maldonado look to have pace on Austin's brand new, but very slippery, 20-turn track. All that means qualifying is set up rather nicely.

  91. 1733: 

    Of course, the good turnout may have something to do with the fact the locals are just nosy and want to see what all the fuss is about.

    It also helps that the championship battle is alive with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso split by 10 points with 50 remaining. To keep the fight alive until next weekend's race in Brazil, Alonso must finish ahead of Vettel or score no fewer than 15 points less than his German rival.

  92. 1730: 

    The good people of Austin appear to have taken Formula 1 to their hearts for the debut United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. It would be fair to say that the sport has failed to catch on in a country which is obsessed with Nascar. But early signs suggest this venue - the 10th to host an F1 race - looks like a keeper. The fans are turning out in force, the track looks good and while it may be chilly, the sun is still shining...

  93. 1615: 

    It's time for a quick pit stop for a fresh cuppa and a mince pie. I'll be back at 1730 GMT to build up to the all-important qualifying hour. Sebastian Vettel looks convincing out there, but I reckon the McLarens and Fernando Alonso will still be in the mix. Join me in just over an hour to find out. See ya.

  94. 1612: 

    So here's Andrew Benson's third and final practice report which will get you up to speed. I also wanted to draw your attention to our preview of the United States Grand Prix which should have everything you wanted to know about the race and the track. There's also a story about America's last F1 world champion - Mario Andretti - thinks the Austin race will be a long-term success.

  95. 1608: 

    And here's 13-24:

    13) Raikkonen 14) Kobayashi 15) Ricciardo 16) Di Resta 17) Grosjean 18) Vergne 19) Glock 20) Petrov 21) Kovalainen 22) Pic 23) De la Rosa 24) Karthikeyan

  96. 1606: 

    Here's how they finished 1-12:

    1) Vettel 2) Hamilton 3) Maldonado 4) Alonso 5) Rosberg 6) Massa 7) Webber 8) Perez 9) Hulkenberg 10) Button 11) Senna 12) Schumacher

  97. 1603: 

    Vettel maintains his grip on the top of the timesheets, but his advantage has been whittled down from 1.4 seconds in the first practice, 0.7 in second practice and 0.2 in Friday practice. Hamilton is his nearest challenger, but Alonso isn't too far off the pace while Maldonado also looks quick.

  98. 1601: 


  99. 1600: 

    Lewis Hamilton is absolutely flying, but he has a little wobble in the middle of Turn 19 and crosses the line two tenths off the pace set by Sebastian Vettel. It's not P1, but at least it shows Vettel that he's not too far off the pace.

  100. 1559: 

    Pastor Maldonado is pushing that Williams to the limit and gets his reward with the second quickest lap of the session, half a second off the pace. Good stuff from the Venezuelan.

  101. 1558: 

    A decent effort from Fernando Alonso who goes second, just under seven tenths of a second slower than Sebastian Vettel.

  102. 1556: 

    Just when it looked like Lewis Hamilton was set to finish fastest, Sebastian Vettel does what he does best and pulls a stunning lap out of the bushes. The reigning world champion clocks a 1:36.490 - the fastest of the weekend - to go over a second quicker than anyone else. Stunning. Just stunning.

  103. 1553: 

    Rubens Barrichello is in the Austin paddock. The Brazilian, who is the most experienced F1 racer of all time, is competing in IndyCar this season, but he has taken the opportunity to come and say hello to some old friends. First stop is the Ferrari garage, with his old friend and KV Racing Technology team-mate Tony Kannan.

  104. 1550: 

    With 10 minutes remaining, Lewis Hamilton leads Jenson Button from Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "It remains to be seen whether the US Grand Prix will be a success but this first event definitely is. There were a surprising number of people here for Friday practice and the race is a 125,000 sell-out. Many of the fans making the trip to Austin are Mexicans - it is estimated there will be 35-40,000 attending the race, if you include those resident in the US. Many have come to cheer on Sauber's Sergio Perez. Indeed, there was an interesting little vignette on Friday. Perez was walking away from the paddock with world champion Sebastian Vettel and a group of fans started cheering 'Checo, Checo' and mobbed him for autographs. Vettel was ignored. You don't see that very often."

  106. 1547: 

    Back to the track action and the yellow flags have been withdrawn after the marshals speedily removed Jean-Eric Vergne's stricken Toro Rosso. Felipe Massa will be pleased as he got on the radio not once, but twice, to ask his race engineer whether they want to abort the run because he has to lift. He was promptly told to get on with it, because they've not got time to stop and lose the run.

  107. 1544: 

    I have a feeling this race will attract celebrities in their dozens. My colleague thought he saw Tom Hanks, but it turns out it wasn't. However, Patrick Dempsey - or McDreamy as I'm told he's known - who stars in Grey's Anatomy, is in Austin and is currently having a snoop in the Lotus garage.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "There are many question marks about the driver line-ups at some of the less illustrious teams next year - and even, in the case of HRT, whether the team will be around at all - but one seems to be decided, even if the team in question will not admit it. Sauber sponsor Carlos Slim has told the Mexican magazine Cancha that Esteban Gutierrez will definitely be the second driver at the Swiss team next year, and it is just a question of when the team decide to announce it. That means Kamui Kobayashi is looking for a seat."

  109. 1540: 

    Jean-Eric Vergne is out of the session after breaking the front suspension of his Toro Rosso. The Frenchman tries to turn the wheels, but they're facing inwards and no responding. That's the session over and leaves his mechanics facing a frantic couple of hours to get his car ready for qualifying.

  110. 1536: 

    The McLarens continue to fight among themselves out on track, with Lewis Hamilton creeping ahead of Jenson Button by just 0.046 seconds at the top of the timesheets. Sebastian Vettel, who is just one of many to make a mistake at Turn 19, goes third quickest - half a second off the McLarens's pace.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "There was both encouragement and discouragement for Fernando Alonso on Friday. He was the quickest non-Red Bull driver and there were promising signs from Ferrari's latest upgrades, but the Spaniard was three-quarters of a second slower than title rival Sebastian Vettel. Alonso, as ever, was remaining optimistically realistic. 'They have the fastest package, they do first and second in all the practice and in all qualfiyings and if everything goes normal first and second in the race,' he said, 'but in the race sometimes everything is not going normal and we put more pressure on them on Sundays. We will take our opportunities and we will fight every lap in the race.' He admitted it was 'possible we [will] have a tough qualifying' but insisted he could still produce a strong result in the race - and perhaps even beat Vettel."

  112. 1534: 

    Neither Ferrari, nor Charles Pic, has set a time yet but out on track, Jenson Button is flying, shaving another tenth off his previous best.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Looking at Ferrari, they're actually scrubbing tyres, doing one lap on them and them coming in again. They're preparing for qualifying. If you take the shine off the tyres, they can come in for you a bit faster."

  114. 1532: 

    Jenson Button has gone purple in all three sectors to zip to the top of the charts in his McLaren. The 2009 world champion looked mighty as he lapped the 5.516km track in 1:37.659, three tenths quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the harder compound tyres.

  115. 1530: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes fourth fastest, but Mark Webber can only manage 12th and Sebastian Vettel 17th.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "That incident between Sergio Perez and Charles Pic was symptomatic of Sergio Perez's driving since it was announced he will be joining McLaren next year. He's had incidents in every race and has not scored a point, and it's almost as if he's switched his brain off. He has to be careful, too, because he earned a reprimand for an incident on Friday. One more and he will get an automatic penalty. If you were McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, you might be a bit worried about Perez's recent form."

  117. 1526: 

    Jenson Button clocks his first timed lap of the day, slotting his McLaren into second on the charts, three tenths off the pace set by Nico Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton has just headed out on track, as have both the Red Bulls.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Sebastian Vettel laid down a pretty forbidding gauntlet to title rival Fernando Alonso and the rest of his rivals in Friday practice. Vettel was 1.4 seconds quicker than anyone else in first practice and 0.7secs ahead in second. But Jenson Button said appearances could be deceptive. 'I don't think many people got a good lap in on low fuel,' the McLaren driver said. 'But the Red Bull's a quick car and Seb's very quick in it so they are going to be the people to beat in qualifying but the gap isn't as big as it looks I don't think.' This morning's final practice session will give a big hint as to whether Button is right."


    BBC Radio 5 live analyst John Watson: "Perez had just established the fastest first sector time, he was on a charge and he literally charged into the back of Pic. Pic won't be happy about that at all."

  120. 1522: 

    A bizarre collision between Sergio Perez and Charles Pic out on track. The Sauber driver was flying after going purple in the first sector and tried to dive inside the slower Marussia driver. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough space and Perez clipped the back of Marussia, spinning Pic round and breaking his own front wing.

  121. 1519: 

    Nico Rosberg is our new leader on the timesheets, dropping down into the low 1m38s. The Mercedes driver is 0.4 seconds clear of Kamui Kobayashi with only seven times on the board after nearly 20 minutes.

  122. 1516: 

    Remember, the United States Grand Prix is live here online and on 5 live this weekend, with TV highlights for qualifying and the race.

    Qualifying is online and on 5 live sports extra at 1755 GMT, with TV highlights on BBC One at 2100. The race is live online and on 5 live at 1855, with TV highlights at 2225 to 0025.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "There's a bit of work going on with Fernando Alonso's car - they've got the sidepod off and there is a bit of a panic. Not sure what that's about yet. It took a while to get it off so I would imagine it will take a while to get it back on. Both cars have the new front wing on with the six elements near the end-plate but they also have the old one here should they want it. They keep messing about with that."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Things are not looking good for HRT. Last week their owners, the investment group Thesan Capital, said they were up for sale, and the team members have been told that if a new buyer cannot be found HRT will be closed. The team are buckling down to the final two races of the season but it's far from clear the drivers will be competing here on Sunday. Running was limited on Friday for financial reasons and the drivers found the same problem as most of their rivals - they could not get heat into the tyres. It seems worse for HRT than most because of their lack of downforce and Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan realise they may struggle to get within 107% of the fastest time in first qualifying, which they need to do be allowed to race."

  125. 1513: 

    The grandstands and grass verges are rammed with fans, albeit shivering in the chilly morning conditions. Most are wrapped up in big padded jackets, but plenty are still sporting cowboy hats rather than the warmer, woolly variety. Nice touch.

  126. 1511: 

    Michael Schumacher hooks it up nicely to put his Mercedes top of the charts with a 1:40.580, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

  127. 1508: 

    Nico Rosberg is the early pacesetter, clocking a 1:43.300, ahead of the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. Both McLarens, Red Bulls and Ferraris are content to stay in the garages for now.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "I didn't notice it yesterday but Red Bull have a new front wing on the car here. It has six elements to it in the outside area near the end-plate where the previous one has five. Sebastian Vettel's car has flo-viz paint on it so we'll see how that goes."

  129. 1505: 

    Turn 19 caused the drivers a fair few problems on Friday as they struggled to keep the car on track - and it's business as usual on Saturday as Timo Glock gets caught out in the Marussia and runs well wide.

  130. 1502: 

    Kamui Kobayashi, as is so often the case, is the first man out on track in his Sauber. Just an installation lap with no dramas for the Japanese driver before he dives back into the pits.

  131. 1500: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    We're go, go, go in third and final practice for the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

  132. 1458: 

    Plenty of smiles in the Ferrari garage as the start of final practice approaches. Fernando Alonso spins his baseball cap on his finger for the camera before neatly placing his earpieces in place and pulling on his helmet. Important session for the Spaniard who must get his car set up correctly for qualifying to ensure he's close to the Red Bull on the grid tomorrow.


    ZK Goh on Twitter: "Think the first corner has the potential to be dangerous, especially if there's a crash on lap one. drivers near blind going into it."

  134. 1455: 

    James Allen is back in the commentary box alongside John Watson for today's action. You can listen to their dulcet tones via the link at the top right-hand side of this live text page.

  135. 1450: 

    So we've got one hour of practice coming up for you which provides the teams with one last chance to gain valuable data on this brand new track. Expect plenty of action from the start of the session, with a focus on one-lap speed to prepare for qualifying later on today.


    Jonathan Dixon on Twitter: "It's going to be tough but I can see Alonso can fight back in FP3 today after yesterday and get close to if not ahead of Vettel before quali."

  137. 1445: 

    So what do you think of the Circuit of the Americas? Are you a fan of the uphill Turn One? Do you think Sebastian Vettel has got the title in the bag? Or do you think Fernando Alonso will fight back? And whichever one of them wins, can either be considered to be one of the greatest as three-time winners?

    Tweet me using the hashtag #bbcf1 or text us using 81111 (UK only). Make sure you PUT YOUR NAMES on those texts, though, otherwise I can't use them. Don't hold back. I want to hear from you.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "The fast swerves through Turns Two to Nine also won praise, Hamilton saying the circuit designer had succeeded with the aim of making it like the famous Becketts section at Silverstone. 'It's a little bit tighter so it's faster in terms of switching side to side so it's like a mini-Maggotts/Becketts.' And plenty of other places on the track - particularly the tricky downhill left-hander at Turn 19 - were providing entertainment as drivers fought for control on the slippery surface."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "There was near-unanimous praise for the new Circuit of the Americas from the drivers and teams on Friday and while it is true that, desperate for this race to be a success, everyone is on their best behaviour, it seemed genuine. Lewis Hamilton, who loves America, said: 'Generally the track is cool all round, it's good to see a lot of people here. Turn One is pretty unique with it going uphill. It's not the most challenging of corners but it's definitely not that easy, you come in it's so wide and you don't know which line to approach it in and the car comes over the little hump and starts oversteering a little, so I think lots of people are going to have trouble there this weekend.'"

  140. 1440: 

    Friday was also the first chance for fans to see a Formula 1 car tackle the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas - and it certainly didn't disappoint. The dauntingly steep Turn One is just one of a handful of corners which has drawn high praise from the drivers.

  141. 1438: 

    So Sebastian Vettel headed a Red Bull 1-2 in second practice on Friday, but the German's only title rival Fernando Alonso was not too far off in third, ahead of the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

    If you missed any of the action, we have highlights packages of both sessions on the F1 pages.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Austin:

    "Saturday morning dawned beautiful and brisk, clear and cold. Texas' famous big skies are stunning but it seems strange to come here and see people wearing gloves, huddled down against the cold. The low temperatures and early start to the action - practice begins at 0900 local time - mean the drivers will inevitably be complaining about low tyre temperatures and a lack of grip in first practice. That means grumpy F1 drivers but probably plenty of action. No prizes for guessing who is struggling least with getting heat into those tyres. Yep, those Red Bulls look formidable once more."


    McLaren's Jenson Button on Twitter: "Morning from a chilly but sunny #Cota. Looking forward to getting out on to the track and hammering it through turn 2-9! Love that section."

  144. 1434: 

    Welcome, one and all, to our live coverage of final practice and qualifying for the United States Grand Prix in the Lone Star state of Texas at Austin's Circuit of the Americas. Qualifying begins at 1800 GMT but before that, we've still got one hour of final practice to enjoy at 1500. Gentlemen, start your engines.

  145. 1430: 

    Sebastian Vettel isn't one to mess around. The reigning champion holds a 10-point lead over Fernando Alonso with two races remaining and is clearly determined to try and seal his third successive title at this weekend's United States Grand Prix.

    The German was immense in first practice on Friday, finishing 1.4 second clear of the field. In the second, he suffered a water leak and missed much of the session but that didn't faze him. He simply pulled down his visor, hit the gas and nailed the quickest time by seven tenths. Alonso has it all to do.

FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 25
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 18
3 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 15
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 12
5 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
6 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 8
7 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
8 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
9 C Sainz Toro Rosso 2
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
11 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 0
13 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 0
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
15 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
16 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 0
18 Finland V Bottas Williams 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham