By finishing second in the FORMULA 1 EMIRATES UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 2019, Lewis Hamilton has clinched his sixth Formula 1 World Championship, an incredible achievement that now puts him just one title behind the all-time record holder Michael Schumacher.
He only needed to score four points today and he took the crown at the end of what was an almost perfect weekend for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team. They scored their ninth one-two finish of the season, their 53rd in total, with Valtteri Bottas winning from pole. The Finn did his best to delay his teammate’s celebrations, taking the win with a more aggressive strategy than Hamilton. Bottas and third placed Max Verstappen had opted to stop twice, going from Medium to Hard tyres before running a final stint on the Mediums again. It turned out to be the quickest way but Bottas not only had to find the pace to make it work, he also had to pass Hamilton on track, as happened last Sunday in Mexico, although that race was a onestopper.
The showdown between the two of them began on lap 50 when Bottas got within DRS range. His first attempt failed, but the Finn squeezed past Hamilton on lap 51, driving on to his seventh career win, the fourth this year, which means he cannot be beaten for second place in the championship.
No doubt Hamilton would have preferred to have clinched the title with a win, but what he has achieved today makes him even more of a global sports star and that is something from which he can derive great satisfaction.
Third was Verstappen, who chased Hamilton down right to the very end, having closed on him with two laps to go, but yellow flags waved when Magnussen went off the track meant the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver had to back off. One more lap and he might have done it, but there was cause for satisfaction as this was his first trip to the podium since the Singapore Grand Prix.
Overall, it was a good weekend for Red Bull who were the second best team overall. Alexander Albon delivered another strong drive to finish fifth and the Thai driver has never finished lower than sixth since he switched to the Milton Keynes squad after the summer break. He had a tough afternoon, as he dropped to last place when he had to pit for a new front wing after colliding with Carlos Sainz at the first corner after the start. He pulled off several passing moves and made the most of the Red Bull’s pace, which means that since Spa, he has actually scored more points than his team-mate, 68 to 54.
The biggest losers on the day were Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. For this first time since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May, one of its drivers was not on the podium. Charles Leclerc finished fourth and picked up an extra point for setting the fastest race lap and that has helped to ensure Ferrari cannot be beaten to second place in the Constructors’ championship. However, it does not match the team’s expectations going into this race.
Sebastian Vettel retired on lap 8 with a broken right rear suspension and he had been struggle right from the start of the race, after starting from the front row, possibly because the suspension problem was already making itself felt. In the first two laps, he had dropped down to seventh, before the failure on lap 8. Leclerc was inexplicably slow in the first stint, but picked up the pace in the second, but by then his podium aspirations had evaporated. At his second stop, he fitted Soft tyres which is how he was able to comfortably post the race fastest lap.
Best of the rest behind the top three teams was Daniel Ricciardo for sixth for Renault. The Australian beat Lando Norris by less than four tenths of a second as they crossed the line but the battle between the two Renault powered teams was a 10 – 10 draw as they both scored that number of points, thanks to Carlos Sainz’s eighth place ahead of ninth placed Nico Hulkenberg.
As was the case in last Sunday’s Mexican GP, tenth place was decided by a penalty after the chequered flag. And once again, Daniil Kvyat was the man who lost out, the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver given a five second penalty for the way he got past Sergio Perez in the SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team on the final lap. Perez took a well deserved point therefore, especially when considering he had to start from pit lane. The point could be crucial for his team given that it moves it into sixth place in the Constructors’ championship, one point ahead of Toro Rosso and the battle between them should add spice to the final two races of the year.
The fight for third in the Drivers’ classification is still ongoing, with Leclerc 14 ahead of Verstappen while Vettel now drops to fifth, 19 points behind his team-mate. Albon is up to sixth and should manage to stay there, given he has a competitive car, but his lead over Sainz is four points and over Gasly seven.
With the two back-to-back races in North American now completed, Formula 1 is back in action over the weekend of 15-17 November at Interlagos for the FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRANDE PREMIO DO BRASIL 2019.
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USA Grand Prix Final Classification
|1st||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||56||1:33.55.653|
|2nd||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||56||+4.148|
|3rd||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||56||+5.002|
|4th||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||56||+52.239|
|5th||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||56||+78.038|
|6th||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team||56||+90.366|
|7th||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||56||+90.764|
|8th||Carlos Sainz||McLaren F1 Team||55||+1 lap|
|9th||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1 Team||55||+1 lap|
|10th||Sergio Perez||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||55||+1 lap|
|11th||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||55||+1 lap|
|12th||Daniil Kvyat*||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||55||+1 lap|
|13th||Lance Stroll||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||55||+1 lap|
|14th||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||55||+1 lap|
|15th||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||55||+1 lap|
|16th||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||54||DNF|
|17th||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing||54||+2 laps|
|18th||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||52||DNF|
|NC||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing||31||DNF|
|NC||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||7||DNF|
Fastest lap: Charles Leclerc (1.36.169 on lap 44)
*5 second time penalty – Causing a collision.
|Drivers’ Championship||Constructors’ Championship|
|1||L. Hamilton||381||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||695|
|2||V. Bottas||314||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||479|
|3||C. Leclerc||249||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||366|
|4||M. Verstappen||235||McLaren F1 Team||121|
|5||S. Vettel||230||Renault F1 Team||83|
|6||A. Albon||84||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||65|
|7||C. Sainz||80||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||64|
|8||P. Gasly||77||Alfa Romeo Racing||35|
|9||D. Ricciardo||46||Haas F1 Team||28|
|10||S. Perez||44||ROKiT Williams Racing||1|
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