Lewis Hamilton did what he had to do to keep the World Championship alive by winning the United States Grand Prix.
While the points gap to teammate Nico Rosberg is down to 26 points, he still needs to win the remaining three races to have a shot at a fourth title, but will either need Rosberg to strike trouble or the Red Bull Racing cars to play some running interference.
If the form guide at the Circuit of the Americas was any indication, the Bulls will not be quick enough to trouble the Silver Arrows. Ferrari once again shot itself in the foot with driver and pit crew errors, while rivals Force India and Williams couldn’t capitalise in their battle with each other after they each lost a car early on.
That left McLaren and Scuderia Toro Rosso to claim a nice helping of points, while the local Haas F1 Team also enjoyed some cheer.
So who were the winners and losers in Austin? Chandni Patel picks her list here:
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed his 50th Grand Prix win, with ten per cent of these now occurring on American soil. The three-time World Champion continued to smash records off the back of a faultless race to deliver a much-needed result to keep his championship hopes alive.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished third behind the two Mercedes’, with his team confirming it was the best possible result in the circumstances. Overtaking Rosberg in the closing stages was a tall order, even though Ricciardo ran ahead of the German in the first half of the race until a Virtual Safety Car interruption brought on by the retirement of his teammate Max Verstappen.
Fernando Alonso finished an eventful fifth in the race for McLaren Honda, which neither the team nor the Spaniard expected before the race. The two-time World Champion survived a post-race hearing with the FIA Stewards over contact with Felipe Massa in the closing stages of the race.
Carlos Sainz Jr finished just behind Alonso at the end of the race after an outstandingly strong and controlled performance. He battled hard and making great overtaking manoeuvres to give Scuderia Toro Rosso its biggest points haul since his home Grand Prix back in May.
Romain Grosjean celebrated his 100th Grand Prix start and the Haas F1 Team’s first home race by claiming tenth place and the final championship point for the American outfit.
After a promising qualifying session, Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg was the chief victim of the opening lap coming-together, squeezed between Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1. The German was out on the spot, while Bottas’ race was compromised thanks to a puncture stemming from the contact.
While Grosjean finished in the points once again, his teammate Esteban Gutiérrez was once again unlucky. The Mexican retired with a brake issue – a problem that has been hampering the team for several races now – leaving him out of the race at the Haas F1 Team’s home Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen was aiming to finish high up the order after cheekily claiming over the pit-to-car radio that he wasn’t racing in fourth place after being warned to protect his tyres. But his race came undone with an unscheduled visit to the pits, costing him valuable time and track position. His error ultimately became a moot point when he retired later in the race with a gearbox failure.
Kimi Räikkönen retired from the race after a botched pit stop in which a wheelnut cross-threaded and he was sent from the pits with his car in an unsafe condition. The team earned a €5,000 fine and lost more value points in their battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship with Red Bull Racing.
Image via Red Bull Content Pool