Hamilton Wins U.S. Grand Prix; Closes in on Championship
AUSTIN, Texas- R.I.S.- Lewis Hamilton began the United States Grand Prix Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas behind rival Sebastian Vettel, but recovered, passing the German on the seventh lap for the lead, and later Max Verstappen to win the race by 10.1 seconds over second place Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen took third.
“We had a beautiful day today, I think this track is my favorite track.” Hamilton later stated. “I love the swing of the corners and because the wind is going that way (he points east) we had forms to work with. I would like to thank the team for working so hard, the guys at the factory and the guys here, they really deserve it and they are the best team this year.”
Hamilton could not really get into the race until lap seven, when Vettel led for the first six laps after Hamilton tried in vain to block his Ferrari opponent at the start before the first corner. Hamilton finally took the lead just turns away from the start/finish line and gained a considerable amount of time until his first stop of the race. Vettel had made a gamble to change tires late in the race, hoping that he would be able to get better grip and move up the grid and force Hamilton to pit himself after being in the lead.. But the attempt failed to catch Hamilton, but gave Vettel a chance to move up the grid to third, before overtaking Raikkonen for second in a team move.
However, while the Ferraris seemed comfortable with the situation, Verstappen, who had been lingering in fourth, began to catch Raikkonen for third after starting 17th and continued to move up the grid. The Dutchman after many attempts, finally caught Raikkonen with laps to go and crossed the line into third. It seemed like a great effort, but only minutes later, F.I.A. officials gave Verstappen a five second penalty for going off the track following his pass of Raikkonen. This gave Raikkonen the last step on the podium and Verstappen ended up fourth.
Valterri Bottas was the main loser in this battle, having worn his tires down after being passed by Raikkonen, Vettel and Verstappen, ending up in a disappointing fifth. Esteban Ocon won the battle for sixth over the new Renault driver, Carlos Sainz Jr., after the duo had been battling for the last ten laps of the race. Sergio Perez finished eighth, while Felipe Massa and Dani Kvyat occupied the last two-point positions, respectively.
Four cars retired from the race as Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, and Daniel Ricciardo all had engine issues along with Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein.
Even with Hamilton winning the race and Bottas finishing fifth, the AMG Mercedes Team have clinched their fourth consecutive constructor’s team title. All now remains is for Hamilton is to take the driver’s championship, which is now a 66-point gap from the Briton to Vettel, which could be done if Vettel does not win the race next week in Mexico. But for Hamilton so far, it is a year he probably won’t forget.
“It has been an incredible year so far, and I have really enjoyed the car.” He continued. “The pace we have had on Sebastian (Vettel) this year and today, the car feels fantastic and there is still three to go, let’s go guys.”
UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
At the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
Final Race Results
1Lewis Hamilton (GBR) AMG Mercedes
2Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari- 10.1 seconds behind
3Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
4Max Verrstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
5Valterri Bottas (FIN) AMG Mercedes
6Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
7Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
8Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
9Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams Martini Racing
10Dani Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso
11Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams Martini Racing
12Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren-Honda
13Brian Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
14Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
15Markus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
16Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
17Fernando Alonso(SPA)- Mclaren-Honda- lap 26- engine
18 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing- lap 21- engine
19Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber- lap 8- suspension
20 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault – lap 5-Engine
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.