Rosberg takes U.S. pole after rain-hit qualifying

Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:17pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton will have to get past Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg if he is to secure his third Formula One world championship at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday.

Rosberg took his third successive pole position, with Hamilton alongside on the front row, in a qualifying session postponed from Saturday and then cut short by further bad weather.

Hamilton will become a triple champion with three races to spare if he scores two points more than Rosberg and nine more than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who qualified fifth but has a 10-place grid penalty.

The grid places were decided by the positions in the second of the three qualifying sessions after the final phase was delayed and then canceled.

"Qualifying was cut short so I guess we didn't really get to battle it out," said Hamilton, who was fastest in Saturday's final practice and would have been on pole had qualifying been canceled altogether.

"But qualifying is just the beginning. The race is obviously a long battle and it's going to be hard out there today with those conditions varying throughout the race.

"There's no need to take any particular's not do or die this weekend," added the 30-year-old, who looks set to become the first Briton to win back-to-back titles.

Rosberg, who failed to convert his last two poles into victories and has won just three races to Hamilton's nine so far this season, was delighted to have repeated his 2014 pole and given himself the best shot.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany drives during qualifying for the U.S. F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas October 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Stone