23 October 2017Hot off the Press
Lewis Hamilton has maintained his Formula 1 World Driver’s Championship lead after winning the United States Grand Prix, and the 35 points earned by him and teammate Valtteri Bottas at Austin has secured the 2017 Constructor’s Championship for Mercedes, with three races left in the season. The battle for the Driver’s Championship continues, however, as Sebastian Vettel’s second-place finish for Ferrari keeps him in the running for the title.
Despite starting in pole position, a great start from Vettel saw Hamilton lose a place at the first corner, however the Mercedes’ pace was evidently superior, and Hamilton was able to reclaim the lead on the sixth lap with a spectacular overtake at turn 12. A pitstop on lap 20 for Hamilton almost cost the British driver the win again, but he just managed to stay ahead of Vettel and did not need to stop again during the race while Vettel was stuck trying to overtake Bottas. Eventually the Ferrari driver passed the Mercedes into turn one on lap 51, and was let through by his Ferrari teammate to get back into second.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen started in fifth and crossed the finish line in fourth after Max Verstappen lunged his Red Bull past on the final lap. However Verstappen — who started 17th — was deemed to have taken the place by leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The illegal overtake incurred a five-second time penalty, effectively swapping the drivers back around. Verstappen was already in the cool-down room waiting to take his place on the podium before he was informed, and left with Räikkönen taking his place.
Bottas and Verstappen had a fierce battle for fourth, but the Mercedes driver eventually lost out and finished fifth despite starting third. Behind Bottas was the Force India of Esteban Ocon who held onto sixth throughout the race, even getting the jump on Räikkönen on the first lap, and fending off Carlos Sainz Jr, who also held onto his place, starting and finishing seventh in his first outing for Renault after switching from Toro Rosso.
Ocon’s Force India teammate Sergio Pérez lost out to Sainz, but still finished in eighth ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams. Returning from his two-race sabbatical, Daniil Kvyat brought his Toro Rosso across the finishing line in tenth. This is the first time the Russian has scored a point since the Spanish Grand Prix in May and, while doubts remain as to his future in Formula One, any points he can score before the end of the season may swing things in his favour.
Finishing just outside the points were the Williams of Lance Stroll in 11th and the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne in 12th. Brendon Hartley finished 13th in the second Toro Rosso, having started 19th. This was the first time a New Zealander had entered a Formula One Grand Prix in 33 years, and an impressive result for a debut race. Romain Grosjean (Haas) finished 14th ahead of Marcus Ericcson (Sauber), who was given a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with the 16th-placed Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
Pascal Wehrlein retired his Sauber following a first-lap racing incident with Magnussen. Three drivers retired due to power unit problems: Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) on lap four, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) on lap 16 and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) on lap 25.