Vettel pleased to secure second pole at COTA

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Sebastian Vettel is pleased to have secured his second pole position at the Circuit of the Americas today ahead of the United States Grand Prix (live on NBC tomorrow from 1pm ET).

The German driver appeared to be lacking the pace of teammate Mark Webber in the final part of qualifying, falling over two-tenths behind the Australian’s time through the first two sectors of his final lap. However, a scintillating final sector from Vettel meant that he finished 0.103 seconds ahead of Webber to secure his forty-fourth pole position.

“It’s obviously great for the team to have both cars on the front row for tomorrow,” Vettel said after qualifying. “It was very close with Mark, he seemed to get closer and closer as the weekend went on, so fortunately I was just able to stay ahead. I think he might have had a mistake on his final run.

“I’m very happy with pole position today, I like this place and the circuit and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s important to start on the clean side, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Vettel said that his efforts were not aided by the tricky conditions, with a strong wind making life more difficult for many of the drivers throughout the session on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a tricky session as the wind had picked up quite a bit since this morning; it does influence the behaviour of the car and it’s not that easy, especially in the corners, I wasn’t that happy with my first run in Q3, but I think I had a solid run at the end which was enough.”

It was a brilliant display from Vettel at the last to deny his teammate. He will be hoping to continue this form in the race tomorrow to claim his first grand prix victory on American soil and his eighth in a row.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”