Hamilton on pole in Austin, Vettel starts fifth


AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton took a big step toward clinching his fifth Formula One world championship after putting his Mercedes on pole position at the U.S. Grand Prix on Saturday with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel starting fifth.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One World Champion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks ahead of the United States Grand Prix during an interview with Reuters at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City, New York, U.S., October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The Briton, who will take the title if he scores eight points more than Vettel, will share the front row with the German’s Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Vettel, who qualified second on Saturday and just 0.061 slower than Hamilton, has a three-place grid drop after failing to slow sufficiently while red flags were being waved in Friday practice.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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