ELROY, TX -- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel secured the pole position for the U.S. Grand Prix, putting him in the perfect spot to chase his third consecutive world championship.
Driving in the new $400 million Circuit of the Americas, Vettel dominated three practice sessions before securing the pole Saturday with a blistering round of qualifying. Vettel claimed the spot with a time of 1 minute, 35.657 seconds.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start eighth Sunday after running 1.643 seconds slower than Vettel. Alonso trails Vettel by 10 points in the drivers' championship.
If Vettel wins Sunday, Alonso must finish no worse than fourth to force the championship into the final race of the season next week in Brazil.
Sunday's race with be Formula One's first in the U.S. since racing at Indianapolis in 2007.