Sebastian Vettel may be pursuing an eighth straight victory in today’s United States Grand Prix (live on NBC from 1pm ET), but the German driver was made to work for pole position at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday. He proved just why he is a four-time world champion by pulling out an incredible final sector to pip teammate Mark Webber to pole, setting himself up to claim his first win on US soil in today’s race. However, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso ever-present in the top ten, the German driver will have to work if he is to check another race off of his list.
Following qualifying, there have been a few changes to the grid due to penalties (these are applied in order):
Jenson Button received a three-place grid penalty for overtaking Daniil Kvyat under red flags during FP1 on Friday morning.
Charles Pic received a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox on Saturday ahead of practice.
Esteban Gutierrez received a ten-place grid penalty for blocking Pastor Maldonado during yesterday’s qualifying session.
Max Chilton received a drive-through penalty for blocking Adrian Sutil during qualifying, and he will have to serve this during the first five laps of today’s race.
Starting grid for the United States Grand Prix
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
2 Mark Webber Red Bull
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus
4 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
7 Sergio Perez McLaren
8 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams
10 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso
11 Paul di Resta Force India
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
13 Felipe Massa Ferrari
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
15 Jenson Button McLaren
16 Adrian Sutil Force India
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams
18 Giedo van der Garde Caterham
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia
20 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
21 Max Chilton Marussia
22 Charles Pic Caterham
Mother Nature intervened heavily on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires both completed their second races of the weekend on a wet track.
Indy Lights saw Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward complete the weekend sweep – he won Race 1 on Saturday – while Pro Mazda had a wet and wild race of survival that saw a pair of leaders go off, giving way to another first-time winner in Pro Mazda at the end of the day.
Reports on both races are below.
Indy Lights: Race 2 Victory Completes Dominant Weekend for O’Ward
Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward completed a perfect weekend at Barber Motorsports Park by claiming victory in Indy Lights Race 2 on Sunday.
Officials were forced to move the race up to 10:45 a.m. local time (11:45 ET) due to weather, and Race 2 began under a rain shower.
However, it did not deter O’Ward one bit, who rocketed off into the lead from the pole, and was never headed on his way to winning by over five seconds.
In addition to winning both races, O’Ward led every lap in both races, completing a weekend of utter dominance for the 18-year-old native of Mexico.
Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni came home in second, his best finish since moving up to Indy Lights this year, with Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta rounding out the podium.
The Belardi Auto Racing duo of Aaron Telitz and Santi Urrutia finished fourth and fifth, with Telitz finally finishing a race after only completing a combined four corners in the first three races of the season.
Urrutia, meanwhile struggled somewhat and faded to fifth after starting third.
Andretti’s Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman and Juncos’ Alfonso Celis Jr. rounded out the field in sixth, seventh, and eighth.
Results are below.
Pro Mazda: Harrison Scott Survives the Rain to Take First Pro Mazda Win
RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott managed to survive a track that started out damp, began drying out, and then became very wet during a downpour in the final laps to win in Pro Mazda Race 2 from Barber.
Scott, who started second, was able to pass Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson, the polesitter and Race 1 winner, on the inside entering Turn 5 on Lap 2, with Thompson running slightly off track on corner exit and falling back to third, with Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez going through into second.
Scott, Gutierrez, and Thompson stayed close the rest of the way, and Gutierrez even managed to make a nifty outside pass on Scott in Turn 5 on Lap 9 to take the lead.
However, rain, which hit the track briefly and stopped about 30 minutes before the race started, returned in the second half of the race, and progressively got heavier.
It all came to a head on Lap 21, when the slick conditions sent Gutierrez off course in Turns 7 and 8. He rejoined the track, but fell back to seventh, allowing Scott back into the lead.
Race Control quickly threw a caution as a result of the conditions, and the race finished under yellow, with Scott taking the checkered flag for his first Pro Mazda win.
Behind Scott, Thompson came home in second, with Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunhas in third. Cunha’s teammate Rinus VeeKay was fourth, with BN Racing’s David Malukas rounding out the Top 5.
Of note: Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew was one of a couple drivers who pitted for rain tires under the late yellow, gambling that the race may go back to green – he was running tenth at the time. However, because the race never went back to green, Askew was relegated to 12th at the end.