Austin, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth pole of the season and the 13th of his Formula One career by topping Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Saturday's qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
Rosberg, who trails Hamilton by 17 points in the F1 world championship standings, made a lap around the 3.426-mile, 20-turn Circuit of the Americas in 1 minute, 36.067 seconds. His lap was 0.376 seconds quicker than Hamilton.
"It worked out really well," Rosberg said. "Together with my engineers, I really arrived at a car in the end in qualifying that I was happy with. The balance was good. It was quite a challenge because the wind was changing and then this morning the conditions were quite different, a lot colder, so the track was changing all the time and it wasn't that easy to get everything right.
"In the end, we got to a great setup, a great car, so I'm pleased with that. So, first place of course today is awesome, but you know the race is what counts, so I still need to focus fully on tomorrow and to bring it home."
There are three grand prix remaining. After Sunday's 56-lap USGP, F1 moves on to Sao Paulo for the Nov. 9 Brazilian Grand Prix. The season will concluded with the Nov. 23 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a race where drivers and teams will score double the amount of points.
Hamilton has won the last four grand prix -- Italy, Singapore, Japan and Russia. He also scored the victory in the first USGP held at COTA in 2012.
"Nico did a great job today," Hamilton said. "I really struggled with braking, yeah. When you look at the brake temperatures, the left brake was always around 100 degrees less than the right front brake. It just kept catching. No matter what I did, even if I braked earlier and tried to save it, it would still lock. So that was perhaps where I was losing a lot of the time. But even if that wasn't the case, I think Nico was perhaps too quick today."
The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified third and fourth, respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull took the fifth spot.
Ricciardo's teammate, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion and winner of last year's USGP, will start the race from pit lane due to a penalty he received for using a sixth power unit (engine) this season. According to the new technical rules this year, drivers are only allowed to use five power units before incurring a penalty.
Vettel did not make it out of the first round of qualifying (Q1). He finished 17th in the 18-car field. Vettel had won the pole for the first two USGPS at this circuit.
"In the race tomorrow, I think we can move up since our race pace seems okay, but it will be tight," Vettel said. "It will be difficult to overtake, as we don't have the ideal straight line speed. Hopefully, we can get some points tomorrow. Seventh would be a good result."
Fernando Alonso from Ferrari qualified sixth, followed by McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Button, though, received a five-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil from Sauber completed the top-10.
This race is featuring an 18-car field since Caterham and Marussia are both missing the event due to their current financial issues.