Lewis Hamilton feels 'amazing' after securing pole position in Austin
Lewis Hamilton believes the championship is still all to play for after he surged to pole position for Sunday's United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who is 33 points behind Nico Rosberg in the title race, punched the air as he crossed the line and secured what could be a decisive pole as he wrestles to turn the championship tide back in his favour.
Rosberg will join Hamilton on the front row for Sunday's race, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen third and fourth respectively for Red Bull.
Hamilton, a winner on three of the four occasions the race has been staged in Austin, can win on Sunday, next week in Mexico, and the final two rounds of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and still fall short in his quest for a fourth championship.
But, after beating his Mercedes team-mate Rosberg to pole by two tenths of a second, a smiling Hamilton refused to entertain the idea that his return to form could yet prove fruitless.
"Of course [the championship is all to play for]," said Hamilton. "We have worked hard over the last couple of weeks - understanding and improving a lot of areas - and it is a great feeling to be back up here.
"I feel amazing. This is my first pole here. It has been many years of trying and a lot of great people have tried to help me get that. So I am very, very happy with today."
Hamilton will be starting from the top slot on the grid for the ninth time this season, but he has converted only three of those poles into victories.
"I will try the best I can tomorrow," Hamilton, who was cheered on by American tennis ace Venus Williams on Saturday, added. "I have been practising the starts all weekend, so I feel positive about it."
Rosberg can finish second in each of the four remaining grand prix and seal his maiden championship. But the German insists he will not be content to play second fiddle to Hamilton on Sunday.
"I'm not thinking about that, and I just want to win the race tomorrow," said Rosberg, who banged wheels with Hamilton at turn one on the opening lap here last year. "That is all I am going to do, full stop.
"As we have seen this year, qualifying isn't all-important. I am in P2, so I have a great chance tomorrow."
While Hamilton punched the air upon crossing the line, there was little cause for celebration for his former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.
The 2009 world champion, whose American model girlfriend Brittny Ward watched on from the McLaren garage, fell at the first hurdle of qualifying, and he will start only 19th. His team-mate Fernando Alonso lines up in 12th.