Qualifying was postponed until Sunday morning due to torrential rain on Saturday, and the first two parts of the session were completed despite difficult conditions once again. However, after a number of spinners at Turn 10 due to aquaplaning, Q3 was initially delayed and eventually cancelled, meaning the results from Q2 were taken for the grid.
Rosberg was fastest in Q2 by just 0.1s from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, ensuring an all-Mercedes front row at Circuit of the Americas. Red Bull had been a threat in the wet and locked out the second row with Daniel Ricciardo set to start ahead of Daniil Kvyat.
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Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in Q2, but he will drop ten places having taken a new engine this weekend. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen has the same penalty and will drop from eighth place, leaving Force India's Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg to make up row three ahead of Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen.
Q2 took place in ever-worsening conditions and saw Rosberg set the pace from Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas the surprise to drop out. Bottas failed to get a clear lap in early on and with the Williams off the pace in the wet he dropped out in 12th place behind Fernando Alonso.
Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado also failed to make it through, with Button the only one of the five men who dropped out not to spin at Turn 10. A number of cars lost control exiting Turn 10 and heading downhill, with Button being joined by Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Kvyat, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel in having a moment.
While there were so many spinners in Q2, it was Q1 which saw the red flag required after Carlos Sainz crashed at Turn 4. Sainz lost control when he took too much kerb and hitting the barrier on the outside of the track. With the front left corner of the car ripped off, the red flag was brought out while the Toro Rosso was recovered, delaying the session by 10 minutes.
Vettel had a worrying moment when he caught a slide out of Turn 10 but hadn’t quite collected it fully before hitting the barrier on the inside of the track, sustaining light damage and not returning to the track. That left Vettel in danger but he just scraped through in 15th place as both Sauber drivers failed to improve significantly.
Felipe Nasr complained that the car had “no grip” in wet conditions, as he was 0.9s slower than team-mate Marcus Ericsson, with Vettel over a second quicker. Both Manors also dropped out, with Alexander Rossi out qualifying team-mate Will Stevens after both had moments exiting Turn 10 within a few seconds of each other.
With the weather forecast suggesting an improvement in conditions as the day goes on, the race is still set to start on schedule at 14:00 local time.
Reporting via Reuters
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