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Published: 00:12 | 22/10/17

Hamilton takes US GP pole

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton claims pole at the US Grand Prix in Austin with Sebastian Vettel joining him on the front row.

The three-time world champion clocked a lap record of 1 min 33.108 secs in his first lap in Q3 to record his 11th pole of the season.

Vettel had been fifth behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen after his first run in Q3 but recovered to qualify second just 0.239 behind the Englishman.

Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes will be third on the grid 0.460 down on his team-mate with Red Bull's Daniel Riccardo pipping Raikkonen for fourth.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was sixth quickest but will have a 15-place grid penalty after taking extra engine parts.

Hamilton, who claimed a record 117th front row start, can claim the drivers' title if he wins in Austin and Vettel is lower than fifth.

He said:"The team have done a great job, the track was very difficult with the wind picking up.

"But I love this track it is such a fantastic track to drive, I love it. It is always hot in the car, it is just the right temperature today. It is going to be a great race, a tough one, but I'm the best prepared I can be."

It was crucial for Vettel to split the Mercedes on the grid to exert some pressure on Hamilton.

The German said: "I was happy in the end with the car. We lacked the rhythm in the first sector going into the second, but came good when it mattered.

"I believe our race pace has been good, especially in qualifying, but well done to Lewis today.

"It would be good to win the other races as well as this one, but we'll take each day as it comes."

Elsewhere on the grid, Carlos Sainz, driving his first race for Renault, out-qualified team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, while Fernando Alonso's McLaren was a respectable ninth.

The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas will be shown live over the weekend of 20-22 October on eir Sport in Ireland. The race is live on eir Sport 1 on Sunday, 22 October [race time 8pm]

Image: Getty/ Clive Rose

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