At the US Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton drove like a world champion to record his fifth straight victory of the season and one that takes him 24 points clear of Nico Rosberg in the drivers standings. Roberg, in turn, did everything right till the first round of pitstops. It was the perfect opportunity for him to swing the pendulum but in the end he had to concede defeat to his British rival. Behind the Mercedes duo came the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who once again executed a great strategy to perfection to beat the Williams duo for the final spot on the rostrum.
Having trailed Nico Rosberg by over four seconds, Lewis Hamilton put the hammer down after the first round of pitstops, overtaking the German on lap 25 to take the lead of the race. The 29 year old dived down the inside of Rosberg at turn 12, forcing him wide on the rumble strip and into the runners up spot.
Despite completing a practice sweep over, it was Rosberg who took pole position on Saturday, leaving Hamilton to play catch up in the race. But once again, Hamilton rose to the occasion and didn’t allow the Rosberg to turn the tables towards his favour.
His 10th victory of the season was also 32nd of his career, making him the most successful British driver of all times by grand prix wins.
After making a silly mistake in Sochi last month, Nico Rosberg had to fight his way on the other side of the Atlantic. He took the first step in swinging the pendulum towards his favour by snatching pole position from Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, regarded by many as the best driver on a single lap. On race day too, he got a clean start and maintained a healthy advantage over the championship leader until the first round of pitstops.
But on the medium tyres, Rosberg was no match to Hamilton who decreased his advantage lapped by lap, eventually finding a way past on lap 25. A ERS setting problem hindered Rosberg’s unsuccessful attempt to safeguard the P1 spot.
It was a big blow for Rosberg who now finds himself 24 points behind Hamilton with two rounds to go. Of course, with double points, Rosberg might well take the title in Abu Dhabi but will people call him a worthy world champion, if he didn’t beat Hamilton in a one-on-one fight all season long?
Daniel Ricciardo has been one of the stars of the season and his drive at Austin again proves that he’s the perfect guy to lead Red Bull Racing following Sebastian Vettel’s departure from the Austrian outfit.
After losing places left and right at the start, Ricciardo started clawing lost places, passing the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen on the first lap before reeling in Fernando Alonso after the safety car restart.
He undercut both Williams drivers in each of his two stops to take the final spot on the podium. But his strong result wasn’t entirely down to the Red Bull strategist at the pit wall. The Australian posted his personal best time right after his second visit to the pits, allowing him to be ahead on the road when Massa pitted for fresh rubber a lap later.
It was a race of two halves for four time world champion Sebastian Vettel who at one point sounded like that he’d wish to retire from the race. Little did he knew his race would come so alive in the latter part of the event.
Having started from the pitlane, Vettel had little pace in his RB10 for the first part of the race. But after his third stop(effectively second, he pitted twice under the safety car), he was lapping two seconds quicker than he did previously, allowing him to make his way in the top 10.
After making a late stop on 48, he breezed past his rivals who struggled for grip, overtaking seven cars on the last four laps to finish in 7th place, less than half a second behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Pastor Maldonado might have scored multiple penalty points this season, but his actual points tally account opened at Sunday’s US Grand Prix where he took his Lotus E22 to a ninth place finish.
The result came despite the Venezuelan being slapped with two separate five seconds stop go penalty for speeding behind the safety car and in the pitlane. Without those penalties, he would have finished ahead of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in eighth place.
The 29 year old put some good overtaking manoeuvres, including one on Jean Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso on the final lap to finish in the points for the first time since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.