Leading the first five laps of 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did not manage to sustain the lead as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton went on to dominate the rest of the race and also secured the constructor’s championship for Mercedes. Hamilton went on to cross the finishing line with a lead of ten seconds over his title rival Sebastian Vettel, whose team mate and the other driver of team Ferrari finished third after a last-lap pass on him by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was announced illegal. With Daniel Ricciardo retiring early with issues on his Red Bull’s engine, Verstappen was given a five-second tome penalty for leaving the track while passing Kimi Raikkonen. He started the race at 16th place and lost the podium by 0.9 seconds. Valtteri Bottas in Mercedes finished the race at credible fifth place. The two Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were split by the new driver Carlos Sainz in Renault, after Nico Hulkenberg retired.
After Sebastian Vettel got the lead in the opening lap ahead of Hamilton at the start, it looked like it would be Ferrari’s day at the Circuit of The Americas, but soon in fifth lap it was clear that the silver car behind him had better pace. 20th lap saw some excitement as Lewis took his sole pit stop of the race and Vettel quickly managed to wipe out a 4.4 seconds deficit and almost had Lewis but Lewis quickly throttled back to extend his lead and when Vettel could never take him on again in his race after another pit stop on the 39th lap. By then Vettel had dropped to fourth plac, as Bottas and Raikkonen raced a single-stop duel for second place. Eventually the older Finn driver let his younger team mate pass and Vettel came on to Bottas quickly as Ferrari sensed the chance to make of it. Hamilton now has 331 championship points and is very close to winning the title. But with Vettel on 265, he will have to wait.
Kimi, meanwhile, had a tough fight with Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s sole runner after Ricciardo’s attack early on Bottas had ended with a possible engine problem. The Dutchman drove brilliantly from 16th on the grid (due to engine penalties), and almost snatched the third place, with an aggressive move on the last lap. Raikkonen, who had already been in fuel-saving mode, dropped back four seconds immediately, but for Verstappen that would not be enough. He was gathered with Hamilton and Vettel in the green room when the news came that a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits to make the pass had dropped him behind Raikkonen. He was not amused.
With Bottas coming in fifth, there was some excellent racing las weeking among the top-five drivers.
Like Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso also suffered mechanical faliures, while Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber suffered damage after a first-lap collision with Magnussen.
A minimum fifth finish at the next race in Mexico will allow Lewis Hamilton to secure his 2017 championship. He still requires nine championship points with three more races to go in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
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