Fan favorite Lewis Hamilton won his fifth consecutive Formula One race of the season Sunday at the 2014 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas to extend his points lead over his Mercedes AMG Petronas team mate and rival Nico Rosberg to 24.
After the race Hamilton said, “It’s been an incredible run. This whole season has been incredible, really. I have to say, my team did just an incredible job. Nico was very quick in qualifying, and I had a couple of problems out there, but thankfully I was able to correct them today. You never know exactly how the race is going to go, but I pushed as hard as I could, especially in the first stint. It seemed to be even quicker on that stint. Once I got past Nico, it was really just about controlling it. Coming here today, it was just about having the same determination and hunger to get that win that I had two years ago. And as I’ve said before, there’s not a better crowd in which to do that in front of, than the one here in Texas”.
While Hamilton posted the fastest lap times during all three practice sessions during the week, Rosberg managed to capture the pole position during Saturday’s qualifying when Hamilton experienced some excessive heating in one of his front brakes.
However, the win belonged to Hamilton. By taking the checkered flag, he notched his 10th win of the year and pushed his lead in the points total up to 316, compared with Rosberg’s new tally of 292. It was also Hamilton’s second win in three years at the new Texas track. Hamilton reprised his 2012 victory over Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel by passing Rosberg on the 26th lap on the same turn he’s used to overtake Vettel in that year’s race — Turn 12. Hamilton then coasted to a fairly easy win, keeping a comfortable distance between himself and the remainder of the field for the final 40 laps of the race.
Sharing the podium with the two Mercedes drivers and taking third in the race was another fan favorite, Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who managed to overtake two Williams’ cars that qualified ahead of his No. 3 Red Bull Renault on the starting grid – Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas – who finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The final five to receive points for Sunday’s race, in positions six through 10 included the following: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonzo in sixth, Sebastian Vettel in seventh, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in eighth, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in ninth, and Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado in 10th.
Bottas’ fifth-place finish helped secure his hold on fourth place in the point standings with 155, but well behind Ricciardo whose total now extends to 214, and just ahead of Vettel and Alonzo who are tied for fifth with 149 apiece. Likewise, by capturing the eighth spot, Magnussen secured his hold on that position of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who finished 13th on the day, and out of the points, as well as popular Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who was taken out of commission early, thanks to a Turn 12 run-in with Sauber’s Adrian Sutil. Both drivers ended their day without completing a single lap.
It was déjà vu all over again for Sutil. At last year’s 2013 USGP, his day also ended on the very first lap when he made contact with Williams’ driver Pastor Maldonado and lost control and crashed between Turns 9 and 10
Thanks to the first lap yellow caution which resulted, certain drivers pitted early, allowing some early shuffling of the field.The main beneficiaries were Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.Ricciardo moved up two spots to earn a spot on the podium, while Vergne moved up from 14th on the grid to a ninth-place finish, earning two points in the process. But perhaps the second best drive of the day was turned in by Ricciardo’s Red Bull team mate, Sebastian Vettel, who started last, from pit lane, but by keeping fresh tires on his car (by making 4 pits stops instead of 1 or 2) he managed to move up 11 spots and finish in seventh place, picking up six points to tie Alonzo for sixth in the points standing. Speaking of points, Venezuelan driver Maldonado captured his first point of the season with his 10th-place finish in Sunday’s race.
Two more races remain on the Formula One calendar for 2014 – the Brazilian Grand Prix being held next weekend, followed by the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on November 23 – at which double points will be awarded.