Lewis Hamilton has won the United States Grand Prix, going from pole to victory ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, the closest man to him in the Drivers Championship. Hamilton needed to finish 16 points clear of Vettel to clinch the championship on Sunday but did not do that, so Vettel will still be in the running going into the next race.
Hamilton finished first, with Vettel behind him and Max Verstappen of Red Bull rounding out the podium spots. Verstappen went from 16th on the grid due to grid-place penalties all the way to third, passing Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari on the final lap of the race.
At the beginning, Vettel got a great start and actually took the lead in the race. Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas scrapped back and forth but ultimately kept their places. Nico Hulkenberg became the first player to retire shortly after, and after a few laps, Hamilton overtook Vettel just before the start of Lap 7, regaining the lead in the race.
Pascal Wehrlein and Kevin Magnussen also had some contact early, and it resulted in the former becoming the second driver to retire.
On Lap 13, Ricciardo went into the pits after he started to be caught by Raikkonen behind him. He rejoined the race in ninth position, the first of the front-runners to go into the pits.
Ricciardo, unfortunately, only went for a few more laps before his engine gave out, and he became the third driver to retire. By Lap 21, the front-runners had all gone into the pits, with Hamilton barely coming out in front. He was asking his team why Vettel was so close to him over the radio.
At that point, Verstappen was in the lead of the race, but he had yet to stop thanks to starting on the super soft tires. He wound up stopping on Lap 25, just as Hamilton started to catch him. He fit the soft tires and came out in fifth place.
Vettel came over the team radio asking about a change of plans. They elected to run a two-stop with him, bringing him in on Lap 37 to fit the ultra soft tires. He came out in fourth, just ahead of Verstappen, and Vettel from there was hoping he could make some serious gains on the ultra soft tires.
Raikkonen managed to get past Bottas on Lap 43, catching the Mercedes driver napping a little bit. Vettel eventually made his way up to Raikkonen, and he was allowed to pass his teammate to take second. But Vettel was still well behind Hamilton — too far back to fight for a spot.
There were some serious driver changes for this race, for a number of reasons. Jolyon Palmer is done at Renault, with Carlos Sainz Jr. of Toro Rosso moving over and taking his seat. Sainz is replaced by Daniil Kvyat, who himself was replaced earlier in the season by Pierre Gasly.
Gasly wasn’t on the track on Sunday though, as he was racing in a different discipline. Instead, Brendon Hartley made the start for Toro Rosso, beginning the race at the back of the grid.
Below is the full finishing order for Sunday’s race.
United States Grand Prix Finishing Order
|Carlos Sainz Jr.