Hamilton bounces back with Austin victory
Lewis Hamilton boosted his Formula 1 title hopes by scoring a dominant victory in the United States Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver led almost every lap to clinch his 50th career win as he led home title rival and team-mate Nico Rosberg, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third.
Hamilton made no mistakes from pole position and was rarely threatened through the 56 lap journey at the Circuit of the Americas.
His fourth triumph at the venue has cut Rosberg’s championship lead to 26 points with races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi remaining.
While Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable run out front, Rosberg had to fight hard for his second place after initially losing the position to Ricciardo on the opening lap.
The championship leader remained in third after the first round of pitstops with the sister Red Bull of Max Verstappen in fourth.
However, a sequence of bad luck for Verstappen ultimately saw Ricciardo drop behind Rosberg.
Verstappen’s race unravelled by coming into the pits too earlier for his second stop, which caught his Red Bull crew by surprise.
In an unrelated incident, the Dutchman then suffered a gearbox failure and his stricken Red Bull triggered a Virtual Safety Car period.
Hamilton and Rosberg both chose to pit for an effectively ‘free’ stop allowing the latter to leapfrog Ricciardo, who had already completed his second stop under green flag conditions.
The top three remained in that order to the chequered flag.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came through to finish fourth on a disappointing day for the Italian squad that saw a three-stopping Kimi Raikkonen retire following a pitstop mix up.
The Finn left his pit bay with a loose right rear wheel and was told to stop at the end of the pitlane.
Ferrari was later fined €5000 ($7,100 AUD) for an unsafe release.
A late charge from Fernando Alonso saw the the double world championship finish fifth for McLaren.
However, Alonso was to be investigated by the stewards post-race for contact while passing Felipe Massa, which resulted in a puncture for the Williams driver.
Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing following a visit to the stewards.
Carlos Sainz finished sixth after losing out in his battle with Alonso on the penultimate lap as Massa recovered to seventh after his late stop.
The top 10 was completed by Sergio Perez (Force India), Jenson Button (McLaren) and Romain Grosjean, who scored a point for Haas F1 on home soil.
Perez was turned into a spin on the opening lap by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who received a 10 second penalty for his role in the clash, dropping him to 12th at the flag.
Esteban Gutierrez retired his Haas F1 after suffering a brake problem, while the list of non-finishers also featured Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who clashed with Valtteri Bottas on the first lap.
Bottas managed to recover from a puncture to claim 16th although trackrod damage ruled Hulkenberg out of the race.
*Renault’s Kevin Magnussen has been demoted to 12th after being handed a five second post-race penalty for gaining a position by leaving the track.
Result: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||56 Laps|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||+19.69|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||+1:36.12|
|7||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|9||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||+1 Lap|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||+1 Lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||+1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|15||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||+1 Lap|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||+2 Laps|
|DNF||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||Gearbox|
|DNF||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Collision|