Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Vettel handed grid penalty

Vettel handed grid penalty

Another win on Sunday would be Hamilton's fifth in a row, and Vettel - also a four times world champion - would have to finish second to keep the championship alive to Mexico the following weekend.

Back-to-back Mercedes one-two victories at the last two races appear to have put the title beyond Vettel's grasp and Hamilton will secure the title at this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix if he outscores the Ferrari driver by eight points.

"The second lap was better and it enabled me to pull it out of the bag".

It was Hamilton's third successive pole at the Circuit of the Americas and the 81st pole of his career.

The German was slower only than Hamilton in a nail-biting qualifying session, but he will be demoted to fifth after incurring a grid penalty for his failure to slow sufficiently under red flags in Friday's practice. "I think there might have been an issue with the timing with the system, I don't know, so obviously I was aware, I slowed down, not much more to say".

Mercedes teammate Vallteri Bottas was second fastest on the day, 1.3 seconds behind Hamilton in the morning.

"For sure, I'll be in Vienna to visit him before the end of the season", said Hamilton. It was going to require solid laps.

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Esteban Ocon (Force India), Nico Huelkenberg (Renault), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Charles Leclerc (Sauber) and Sergio Perez (Force India) completed the top 10.

"That was pretty close and it is always a bit of a shame when you miss out by such a little time", said Vettel.

"I think it's pretty straight forward". We are close and I felt good with the vehicle.

Vettel was backed up by other drivers as well, with Gasly's Toro Rosso team-mate Brendon Hartley sympathising on the grounds that slowing down to make the delta can be hard to manage safely. On Thursday in Austin he admitted he will start taking an even more aggressive approach as part of an all-or-nothing attempt to close the gap to Hamilton.

Maurizio Arrivabene has hit back at Ferrari's critics, saying people have looked to "create controversy from nothing" as the Scuderia and Sebastian Vettel's title bids have faltered. I think you have to be aggressive to win, and of course you need to find the right balance.

Vettel is being investigated for speeding under red flag conditions during the opening practice session, which has the potential to carry a three-place penalty on Sunday's grid.

"I told him "you sound younger than ever".

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