Lewis Hamilton has become a triple world champion after winning the United States Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
In a race that was action-packed from start to finish, Hamilton took advantage of Rosberg’s late mistake on Lap 49 when the German lit up the rear tyres and went off the track at Turn Three, gifting Hamilton a third world Drivers’ Championship.
The race began with all drivers starting on the intermediate tyres as the track was still damp after heavy rain intruded most of the race weekend.
Hamilton received the better start initially and challenged Rosberg up the hill into the first corner, edging his team-mate wide and off the track to take the lead of the race while Rosberg dropped down to fifth position.
Further back in the pack, there was contact between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso which saw the McLaren driver facing the wrong way at the first corner.
One lap later and there was more contact, this time between Sauber team-mates Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Ericsson had attempted to pass Nasr on the inside of Turn 1 although had braked too late which saw the Swede lose his half of his front wing after hitting Nasr’s rear wheel.
This left debris on the track and the first Virtual Safety Car of the race was activated. The intermission lasted three laps and upon the resumption of the race, Hamilton backed up the front runners to such a point where Rosberg was able to pass the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and then Daniil Kvyat on the same lap.
On the end of the ninth lap Romain Grosjean had put on the soft compound tyres to attempt an early switch, however, this didn’t pay off as he was well over 10-seconds slower a lap than the rest of the field on intermediates.
The Red Bull’s clearly had more pace on the intermediate tyres and the Mercedes pair seemed to struggle for front end grip. Kvyat made an ambitious dive on Rosberg into Turn 20 and ran wide on the exit, allowing Ricciardo to take third position. Rosberg then ran wide himself into Turn One and Ricciardo found himself in second chasing down Hamilton for the lead of the race.
Ricciardo then made his move on Hamilton at the first corner on lap 15, then made the move stick a few corners later at Turn 18 and pulled a gap over the Briton, setting two fastest laps of the race in the process.
With Hamilton struggled with pace, Rosberg made a move on his team-mate for second in the race on lap 18 as Hamilton dove into the pits to make the change from intermediates to slicks.
Ricciardo and Rosberg followed a lap later and managed to re-join the track ahead of Hamilton and Kvyat, who had also pitted for slicks the previous lap.
The Red Bull duo lost the pace advantage they enjoyed on the intermediate tyres, and Rosberg and Hamilton were able to pass Ricciardo and Kvyat for first and third respectively.
When Ericsson parked his Sauber on track on the exit of Turn 11 on lap 28, the safety was brought out to bunch the field up again.
Vettel, who was at this point in fifth position after starting 14th, pitted under the safety car to gamble on the medium compound tyre and try to race to the end of the race.
Another driver on a charge through the field was Max Verstappen who started eighth on the grid. The young Toro Rosso driver again demonstrated his overtaking prowess by making a move stick on Ricciardo for fourth place.
Nico Hulkenberg then attempted to follow Verstappen through at Turn 12 but instead ran too deep into the corner and crashed into Ricciardo, which caused terminal damage for Hulkenberg’s Force India.
The incident brought out another virtual safety car on lap 37. Rosberg took the opportunity to make another pit stop which saw him drop to fourth position while Hamilton stayed out and took the lead.
A few laps later, Hamilton was gifted a chance to pit for a fresher set of soft tyres as Kvyat brought out the second safety car of the race when he lost control of his car on the approach to the final corner and crashed into the Armco barrier on lap 47.
Rosberg inherited the lead of the race after Hamilton’s pitstop, although it was short-lived as he made a mistake by getting on the throttle too early which sent him off the track and allowing Hamilton to retake the lead.
Vettel then made a late charge and challenged Rosberg for second position to try and take the championship to Mexico, although he wasn’t able to make a move stick with one lap left in the race.
Alexander Rossi benefited from the eight retirements of the race to equal Manor Marussia’s best result of 2015 by finishing 12th in his home race.
|2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix – Final Classification (56 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||56||1:50:52.703|
|2.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||56||+ 2.850|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||56||+ 3.381|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||56||+ 22.359|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||56||+ 24.413|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||56||+ 28.058|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr.^||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||56||+ 30.619|
|8.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||56||+ 32.273|
|9.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||56||+ 40.257|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||56||+ 53.371|
|11.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||56||+ 54.816|
|12.||Alexander Rossi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||56||+ 1:15.277|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||41||Accident|
|DNF.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B||36||Collision|
|DNF.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||25||Power Loss|
|DNF.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||25||Damage|
|DNF.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||23||Damage|
|DNF.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||10||Brakes|
|DNF.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||5||Collision|
|DNF.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B||1||Collision|
^ Post-Race penalties:
Calor Sainz Jr, who was originally classified in sixth place, was awarded a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Images via XPB Images