Austin – World championship leader Lewis Hamilton roared to the 72nd pole position of his record-breaking career on Saturday and then forecast that he is unlikely to clinch his fourth world title in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Briton, who can take the championship if he wins for Mercedes and title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari fails to finish in the top five, claimed his 11th pole of the season with a crushing display of pure speed.
“The track was very difficult today, with the wind picking up you’ve got a head-wind into turn one, a tailwind out of turn one, the whole of sector one is tail-wind and then a head-wind into turn 9, so it’s shifting the whole way through the lap.
As Hamilton purred with pleasure after securing a record 117th front row start, passing seven-time champion German Michael Schumacher’s record of 116, Vettel said he and Ferrari are working day to day in pursuit.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth for Red Bull ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull, but the Dutchman will start from the back of the grid after being given a 15-place penalty for taking new power unit parts.