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Hamilton Drops The Hammer On His Third World Championship

Drafting the Circuits

Formula 1 Report

United States Grand Prix

By Steve Aibel/Drafting The Circuits/F1Racing Plus

@steveaibel

Lewis Hamilton collected his 3rd World Driver’s Championship and took his 10th victory of the season at the United States Grand Pix on Sunday. Hamilton became the first British driver to win back-to-back titles in what might have been the most exciting Grand Prix of the 2015 season. The win was also his 43rd in Formula 1, breaking a tie with Sebastian Vettel and placing him behind only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost in all time Formula 1 wins.

Lewis Hamilton Burnout in Turn 15

Lewis Hamilton Burnout in Turn 15

That the Grand Prix was run was almost a miracle in and of itself. Torrential rain dominated the weekend with FP2 cancelled on Friday, Qualifying postponed from Saturday to Sunday, and Q3 cancelled Sunday morning. The grid was set from Q2 times resulting in Nico Rosberg taking pole position for the race.

3 Time World Champion Lewis Hamilton

3 Time World Champion Lewis Hamilton

In a sign of good things to come, the clouds parted and the rain subsided about an hour before the green flag. On what was a muddy and wet track, the grid took the lights on green banded intermediate Pirelli’s and the Grand Prix was calmly underway…until turn 1.

With the track still damp, Hamilton took the inside lane from Rosberg into the steep braking area of turn 1. Hamilton took a wide approach, running Rosberg from the track limits and taking the early lead in the Grand Prix. An understandably angry Rosberg said that Hamilton had been “extremely aggressive” and had gone “one step too far.” In a little reported instance, Hamilton used similar tactics exiting turn 12, again pushing Rosberg wide of the track to maintain his position.

Much was made of the early battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, but in truth, Rosberg recovered and was leading the Grand Prix in the later stages of the race.   It was an odd mistake by Rosberg running off after losing grip between Turn 15 and the Turn 16 entry to the carousel. Rosberg mentioned that this type of wheel spin had never happened to him so it was something he was going to be looking into before the next race in Mexico. The slip allowed Hamilton to motor by and grab the victory.

Once again, we have friction between the two Mercedes drivers which could create a firestorm in the final 3 races. With both championships secure, there is nothing at stake for Mercedes other than unity and pride. Rosberg is rapidly falling into the role of the teams second tier driver. He needs to send a strong message by outperforming Hamilton in the final three races.

Sebastian Vettel took third position and it was this that decided the Driver’s Championship for Hamilton. Had Vettel been able to muscle by Rosberg, the championship battle would have moved to Mexico, but with Rosberg handling Vettel, the points fell in favor of Hamilton and the 3rd championship was settled in Texas.

Vettel with another strong run for the Scuderia

Vettel with another strong run for the Scuderia

Fourth position went to young Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso in another strong drive. Teammate Carlos Sainz finished in 7th place after crashing in qualifying and having to start in 20th position. Another strong race for the junior Red Bull team!

Daniel Ricciardo ran well and even led when the track was damp

Daniel Ricciardo ran well and even led when the track was damp

Red Bull, on the other hand, looked very impressive early in the race on intermediate tires. Daniel Ricciardo led the early laps but once the track dried enough for slicks, the Red Bull racers did not have the pace to keep up with the faster Mercedes cars. Daniil Kvyat spun off in a big crash exiting turn 19 after putting two wheels on the astro-turf and impacting the inner barrier hard. The Kvyat crash was the final chip the allowed Hamilton back into contention for the victory at COTA.

Kvyat has yet to fully harness his speedy nature

Kvyat has yet to fully harness his speedy nature

Sergio Perez placed in 5th position for his second top 5 finish in a row while teammate Nico Hulkenberg was forced to retire after rear wing damage caused him to collide with Daniel Ricciardo exiting Turn 12.

Rossi had fans all over the track supporting his effort

Rossi had fans all over the track supporting his effort

Alexander Rossi of Manor Racing finished in 12th position making his 3rd F1 start in front of the home crowd for Manor Racing. Rossi came home in 12th position which brought Manor their best finish of the season. Fan support of Rossi was huge in the grandstands with American flags waving in support of the first American driver to compete in Formula 1 in 8 years. Rossi continues to make a statement that he not only belongs in F1, but is in fact a hugely talented driver that can compete in the highest level of racing.

In only his 3rd F1 outing, Rossi brought Manor its best season result

In only his 3rd F1 outing, Rossi brought Manor its best season result

By far, this race at Circuit of the Americas was the most exciting and competitive at the new track. To crown Lewis Hamilton as a 3 time world champion will add to the growing legacy of this great venue.

The paddock heads south to Mexico City next week for the revival of the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The redone track is in its last phase of completion and should be ready to host the eagerly anticipated event. The track is rumored to be very fast and should line up with Monza in terms of speed.   With the competitive championships decided, the racing will be back in the pack as teams vie for points in the final constrcutors standings.

Drivers’ Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 327
  2. Sebastian Vettel 251
  3. Nico Rosberg 247
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 123
  5. Valtteri Bottas 111
  6. Felipe Massa 109
  7. Daniil Kvyat 76
  8. Daniel Ricciardo 74
  9. Sergio Perez 64
  10. Max Verstappen 45
  11. Romain Grosjean 44
  12. Nico Hulkenberg 38
  13. Felipe Nasr 27
  14. Pastor Maldonado 26
  15. Carlos Sainz Jr. 18
  16. Jenson Button 16
  17. Fernando Alonso 11
  18. Marcus Ericsson 9

 

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Mercedes 574
  2. Ferrari 374
  3. Williams 220
  4. Red Bull 150
  5. Force India 102
  6. Lotus 70
  7. Toro Rosso 63
  8. Sauber 36
  9. McLaren 27
  10. Manor/Marussia 0

 

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