Lewis Hamilton produced an Austin masterclass to score his 72nd Formula 1 pole with a dominant performance in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
'This is such a fantastic circuit'
Lewis topped all three parts of qualifying, ending the final shootout 0.239s clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel.
The three-time World Champ failed to improve on his final run, losing time in the third sector, but his record breaking lap of 1:33.108 from his opening attempt was good enough to secure his 11th pole of 2017 - and move him into first on the al-time leader board for most front row starts with 117.
"The team have done an exceptional job all weekend to filter the data that we have gathered and put the car in the right place," said Lewis.
"This is such a fantastic circuit - it's really challenging, you're constantly dancing with the car. I'm really happy to be on pole, but we know we're often strong through practice and qualifying and have found the races tougher this year.
"I'm looking forward to a nice race tomorrow with Sebastian and Valtteri. This is a track where you can follow and overtake. I remember the race in 2012 when I passed Sebastian for the win - I hope he's not that close tomorrow, but let's see."
'Our race pace looked promising'
Valtteri looked set for second in qualifying until Vettel knocked him off the front run with a late flier. Like Lewis, the Finn had a scruffy final sector on his final run and did not improve.
"It was quite a tricky session; each lap was different because of the wind," said Valtteri. "Otherwise, it was a pretty straightforward day.
"We've made quite a few set-up changes over the weekend as we work to make the car quicker. There were no big mistakes; I was just lacking that extra bit of pace. I was losing most of the time in the last sector, but that's not a big surprise as that's where the slow-speed corners and technical sections are.
"However, anything is still possible tomorrow. Our race pace looked promising, so it should be a good fight. Three teams can win tomorrow, so we really need to give it everything we've got."
'P1 and P3 are very good starting positions'
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was pleased with P1 and P3 on the grid and is expecting a strong showing come Sunday.
"That was an unusual end to the qualifying session, with neither driver improving on the final run, but we must be very happy with that pole position," said Toto.
"Lewis has been faultless in the past few races and this was another great lap - it's a strong circuit for him and he has enjoyed a healthy advantage all weekend.
"Valtteri made good progress with the car overnight and was much closer in qualifying than yesterday in practice; but he couldn't make another step on the final lap, so was beaten to the front row by Vettel.
"This just shows the fine margins that we are working with when it comes to putting every piece of the puzzle together. However, P1 and P3 are very good starting positions to have a strong race tomorrow."
'I am delighted for Lewis to have secured pole position'
Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison is looking forward to Sunday's US Grand Prix, even if there was a slight sense of disappointment that the team failed to convert its qualifying pace into a front-row lockout.
"I am delighted for Lewis to have secured pole position - and the team's fourth in a row at this circuit," said James.
"Any day when you start a Grand Prix from P1 and P3 is a good one. But after the metronomic progression through each round of qualifying, we were left with the feeling that there was perhaps a tenth or two more in the car on that final run, and that the front row was within our grasp.
"However, it would be churlish to be anything other than delighted with the result. Looking forward to the race, the combination of good grid positions and our high fuel running on Friday shows that we have a good opportunity for both cars to have a strong race."