On a day when Lewis Hamilton was all set to seal his fifth world title, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen decided to delay Lewis' and Mercedes' wait as Kimi's Ferrari broke a 112-race winless streak. Securing the podium for the 50th time, the US F1 Grand Prix also saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finishing second and enroute for his driver's championship Lewis Hamilton completing the top-three spot at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas. Kimi Raikkonen won the race for the 21st time and at the age of 39 becomes the oldest F1 race winner since Nigel Mansell in 1994. Ferrari's in-team radio ended with Kimi screaming 'Finally!'.
Max Verstappen finished the race 1.2 seconds behind Kimi starting all the way from 18th in the grid, while Lewis - who started from the pole position and led the race during the middle phase of the race was forced for the third spot after needing to make a pit stop linger than his rival. Sebastian Vettel started the race at 5th place but saw himself at 15th place as early as in the first lap after another first-lap spin after a collision with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo while battling for the fourth place. The German driver finished the race at fourth place after overtaking Bottas in his Mercedes.
Highlights from the 2018 US Grand Prix:
The race started with Kimi making the full use of his top spot using his ultrasoft tyres giving him the jump over Hamilton's ultrasoft tyres into turn 1. Ferrar's Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene celebrated this move with joy on the Ferrari pit wall. However, the joy was shortlived as Vettel's Ferrari saw some huge smoke and bought back the memories from the first lap of Italian GP. Vettel launched an attack against Red Bull's Daniel on the inside and the two banged wheels and saw him spinning and going down to 15th place. Charles Lecrec also locked his wheels with Romain Grosjean's Sauber at the hairpin and spun off the track. This also resulted in both te cars to retire very soon after the contact. Daniel Ricciardo's fifth place saw his car halting down with a huge issue with his power unit. This was Daniel Ricciardo's 7th retirement this season and also saw Virtual Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to clear his car from RB14. Lewis Hamilton was instructed to pit, provided Raikkonen didn’t dive in ahead of him.
Kimi stayed out and in comes Hamilton, swapping onto soft tyres, it seemed a good move as the VSC saw him losing just nine seconds to Raikkonen, as opposed to the 20 or so seconds. While Mercedes' fan applauded the move, it was still advantaged Ferrari with so many laps to run, Lewis needed another pit stop making things easy for Ferrari. Lewis rejoined behind Max Verstappen at second place and Bottas at third. Sebastian Vettel kept improving his position and made his first pit stop on lap 27 and rejoining at fifth place. Fresh tyres and aggression saw Vettel catching up and then eventually overtaking Bottas on lap 55.
After the race Kimi, Ferrari was quoted saying that it's not a big deal for him and a bigger deal for a lot of people. "If it comes, it comes; if it doesn’t, it really doesn’t change my life one bit. I’m happy we are here and that we win but I think the biggest difference is the way people look at you. If you look at people in a different way if they win or not, it doesn’t make a lot of difference in my mind. But obviously, I’m happy, just proving some people wrong it’s enough fun for me." Many might say that Kimi was being Kimi here.
All eyes are in Mexico this weekend as Lewis Hamilton will now look to close his championship here. The gap between Hamilton and Vettel is a maximum of 70 points. The 2018 US GP was all about Kimi and as he's set to end his stint in Ferrari this race will be going down in history for both Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen.