Hamilton makes more F1 qualifying history at COTA, breaks front-row record

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Lewis Hamilton’s charge to pole position for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday may have been crucial in his bid for a fourth Formula 1 world championship in 2017, but it also saw him make yet more history in the sport’s qualifying record books.

Hamilton edged out title rival Sebastian Vettel by two-tenths of a second in Q3 to claim his 72nd F1 pole, extending his lead in the all-time record books.

Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher’s record of 68 F1 poles at the Italian Grand Prix in September, and shows few signs of slowing down in a push that could see him reach triple-figures before his career is over.

However, another F1 qualifying record fell Hamilton’s way on Saturday in Austin, with the Briton taking his 117th front-row start in F1, moving clear of Schumacher’s tally of 116.

Hamilton has broken Schumacher’s record in 85 fewer races, with the German’s final front-row start coming at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, also with Mercedes.

Most front-row starts in Formula 1

1. Lewis Hamilton 117
2. Michael Schumacher 116
3. Ayrton Senna 87
4. Alain Prost 86
5. Sebastian Vettel 82
6. Nico Rosberg 60
7. Nigel Mansell 56
8= Juan Manuel Fangio 48
8= Jim Clark 48
10. Damon Hill 47

“I feel fantastic. I feel very fresh and happy and naturally always wish that qualifying would go longer because it’s the most fun session of the weekend,” Hamilton said after the session.

“In general, very happy with all of qualifying. The last was not spectacular but up until then generally very, very strong.

“The team have done an exceptional job all weekend in filtering all of the data that we’ve got to really put the car in the right place and enable me, again, have the opportunity to exploit that.”

Hamilton will go in search of his sixth United States Grand Prix victory at COTA on Sunday and could be crowned world champion if results go his way.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.