November 16th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Nico Rosberg qualified 14th for the United States Grand Prix after struggling to get his tyres working in Q2 today. He will start 13th as a result of a three-place grid penalty for Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton in the leading Mercedes qualified fifth.
Based on their Friday qualifying pace, Mercedes were expected to feature on the second row of the grid. But they did not quite have the pace to achieve that in the final part of qualifying. The big surprise, however, was the elimination of Rosberg in Q2 after setting just the 14th fastest time of the session.
Rosberg explained his qualfiying woes:
"I had real problems getting my tyres into the right working window today and it's so disappointing to have not gone through to Q3. It was all about finding the right compromise in the conditions which saw very hard tyres on a very soft track surface, and we saw a lot of surprises today as a result."
Despite his qualifying troubles, Rosberg remains optimistic about his chances in Sunday's race. He said, "Tomorrow should be warmer which will improve the situation for us but starting so far back is not ideal. We've worked a lot on our race pace so the car should be strong tomorrow and I'll be pushing really hard to move forward, overtake some guys and score good points."
Hamilton had a more successful qualifying session than Rosberg, but was not quite as far up the grid as he had hoped to be. He described his afternoon in Austin:
"That was a really tricky session this afternoon so I have to be pleased with fifth place although, of course, I'd rather have been fighting for a position on the first two rows. The car was quick out there and I had a good balance but we just couldn't get the tyres to work.
"The track was completely different from the final practice session this morning and it was really gusty round the back which affected our car quite a lot. In practice, the car has felt really strong this weekend so I hope we have a good set-up for tomorrow. I need to have a good start in the race and, if we can achieve that, then there is still a lot to play for."