US GP: Hamilton wins from Vettel and Alonso, title battle goes to wire

Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to victory in an absorbing United States Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso's third place kept the Formula 1 championship battle alive

US GP: Hamilton wins from Vettel and Alonso, title battle goes to wire

Despite his defeat at Austin, Vettel remains title favourite, as he takes a 13-point lead over Alonso into next weekend's finale at Interlagos. The constructors' championship is settled though, with Red Bull beating it beyond its rivals' reach.

Hamilton's relentless pursuit of Vettel kept tension building throughout the race. The McLaren lost second to Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber at the start, but soon re-passed the Australian. Webber retired with alternator failure soon afterwards, no doubt prompting nerves in the Red Bull garage.

Vettel's car was still running smoothly, but it did not have the pace to escape from Hamilton.

The champion pulled out a little breathing space just before the first pitstops, only for Hamilton to come back with a vengeance once they were both on fresh hard tyres.

Hamilton spent most of the middle of the race tantalisingly close to Vettel, but was frustrated time and time again by the Red Bull's superior traction. The McLaren would close in through the fast first sector, then struggle to get near enough on the DRS zone straight.

Finally on lap 42 out of 57 Hamilton managed to pull the move off after Vettel lost time in traffic before the DRS area. Vettel moved to the inside, but the McLaren's straightline pace advantage was so great that McLaren was comfortably ahead before the next corner - prompting angry radio messages from Vettel about backmarker Narain Karthikeyan's HRT.

The race was far from over, as Hamilton never quite escaped from Vettel. The Red Bull did not manage to get within striking range and Hamilton was able to win in America for the second time in his career, crossing the line a mere six tenths ahead of Vettel, who at least wrapped up another teams' title for his employer.

Alonso's progress to third was mostly achieved via a superb start from his controversial grid slot. He then swept around the outside at the first corner to secure fourth, which became third after Webber's exit.

His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa recovered from his generously-accepted 11th place on the grid to fourth, showing great race pace throughout.

Massa came under slight threat from Jenson Button late on. The McLaren had fallen right back to 16th on lap one, before flying through the field as its tyres came to life. Button ran to lap 35 before pitting, and then battled past the two Lotuses to secure fifth.

Kimi Raikkonen looked like he might challenge Alonso at one stage. Both lost a few seconds at their pitstops, with Raikkonen falling back into traffic and then being overtaken by Massa and Button in the second stint.

Raikkonen finished just ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean, who recovered well from spinning on lap five then requiring a lap-nine pitstop. He fell right back to 22nd, but flew thereafter.

Nico Hulkenberg claimed eighth for Force India by fending off battling Williams duo Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna. The pair banged wheels at Turn 1 in the closing laps as Maldonado passed his team-mate.

Daniel Ricciardo starred in the first stint, rising from 18th on the grid to fifth by staying out until lap 30. But that tactic did not pay off for Toro Rosso as Ricciardo was only 12th in the end.

Mercedes had a terrible race. Michael Schumacher was overtaken by rival after rival in the opening stint, falling from fifth on the grid to 14th before his first pitstop. He would require more tyres later on too, leaving him 16th, three places behind team-mate Nico Rosberg.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The USA Grand Prix Circuit of the Americas, USA; 56 laps; 308.896km; Weather: Sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h35:55.269
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 0.675
3. Alonso Ferrari + 39.229
4. Massa Ferrari + 46.013
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 56.432
6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1:04.425
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1:10.313
8. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:13.792
9. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:14.525
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:15.133
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:24.341
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:24.871
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:25.510
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 15. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 16. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap 17. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps 22. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:39.347 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Webber Red Bull-Renault 17 Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15 World Championship standings, round 19: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 273 1. Red Bull-Renault 440 2. Alonso 260 2. Ferrari 367 3. Raikkonen 206 3. McLaren-Mercedes 353 4. Hamilton 190 4. Lotus-Renault 302 5. Webber 167 5. Mercedes 136 6. Button 163 6. Sauber-Ferrari 124 7. Massa 107 7. Force India-Mercedes 99 8. Grosjean 96 8. Williams-Renault 76 9. Rosberg 93 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 22 10. Perez 66 11. Kobayashi 58 12. Hulkenberg 53 13. Di Resta 46 14. Maldonado 45 15. Schumacher 43 16. Senna 31 17. Vergne 12 18. Ricciardo 10 All timing unofficial
shares
comments
United States GP: Ferrari says Massa supports penalty decision

Previous article

United States GP: Ferrari says Massa supports penalty decision

Next article

US GP: Webber admits alternator issues a real concern for Red Bull

US GP: Webber admits alternator issues a real concern for Red Bull
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel
Author Matt Beer
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021