Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole of the 2012 season in Austin beating Lewis Hamilton to set the fastest time as he looks to secure his third successive championship this weekend.
Mark Webber set the third fastest time and will line up on the second row. Romain Grosjean set the fourth fastest time but will start tomorrows Grand Prix from ninth after a five place grid penalty for a gear box change.
Grosjean’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen set the fifth fastest time but will start alongside Webber after Grosjean’s penalty. Behind Raikkonen the third row will be made up of Michael Schumacher in fifth and Felipe Massa in sixth after they set the sixth and seventh fastest times respectively.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg set the eighth fastest time and will start tomorrow’s race from seventh. Fernando Alonso’s chances of challenging Vettel for the title could be in trouble after he only set the ninth fastest time but he will benefit from Grosjean’s penalty and start eighth.
Pastor Maldonado had looked impressive in FP3 but couldn’t replicate that form and finished the session tenth, his teammate Bruno Senna will start behind him in 11th.
One of the big surprises of the session was Jenson Button failing to make Q3 after losing power in his McLaren, he will start tomorrows race from 12th. Behind him Paul di Resta lines up 13th in the second Force India ahead of Jean Eric Vergne.
The Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi will start tomorrows race 15th and 16th after a disappointing qualifying session for them both. Behind them Nico Rosberg had a contrasting session to teammate Schumacher and could only set the 17th fastest time.
Daniel Ricciardo failed to make Q1 after only setting the 18th fastest time in the Toro Rosso. Behind him the Marussia drivers set the 19th and 20th times beating both Caterhams and HRTs.
Vettel will go into tomorrows race knowing that he has the potential to win the 2012 championship. If Vettel wins and Alonso fails to recover to within the top four then Vettel will win his third successive championship. This will no doubt be the only incentive Alonso needs to make up for his disappointing Saturday.