Bottas wins United States Grand Prix as Hamilton takes title number six

Lewis Hamilton won his sixth Formula 1 world championship despite being overtaken for victory late on by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton jumped both Ferrari drivers on the opening lap and was then only one among the leaders to opted for a one-stop strategy, which elevated him above Bottas and Max Verstappen.

However, poleman Bottas caught and passed Hamilton with five laps to the flag to take the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s sixth world title, his fifth with Mercedes, appeared a formality before the start of the Grand Prix as he only needed to finish eighth position to wipe Bottas out of mathematical contention.

However, race victory for Hamilton seemed less likely after a disappointing qualifying meant he started behind Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton was ahead of both Ferraris halfway round the first lap, clearing Leclerc immediately then pulling off a bold move on Vettel around the outside of Turn 8 at the end of the sweeping Esses sequence, that gave him the inside line into tighter left-hander of Turn 9.

Once in third position, Hamilton slowly started to build pressure on Verstappen, who had picked up minor front wing damage at the first corner.

Verstappen passed Vettel around the outside of Turn 1 at the start and though he backed off as race leader Bottas moved wide on the exit, there was a tiny amount of contact.

That gave Verstappen a balance offset throughout the race, and meant by the time he pit first on lap 13 – committing to a two-stop strategy – Bottas was several seconds clear and Hamilton was on his tail.

Mercedes responded by stopping Bottas one lap later to retain track position against the threat of the undercut, which was successful, while Hamilton continued until lap 24.

That set up a split of strategies that handed Hamilton track position once Bottas and Verstappen stopped for a second time, and the leaders only converged again in the final few laps.

Bottas moved within DRS range of his teammate with six laps remaining and the next time round Hamilton ran slightly wide into the hairpin, giving Bottas a better run onto the back straight.

Hamilton covered the inside line as Bottas drew alongside and briefly ahead on the outside, but Hamilton braked later and Bottas had to take to the run-off on the exit of the corner.

However, on the very next lap Bottas was able to move inside Hamilton with DRS at the same place, and completed the pass without trouble.

With no chance of responding to Bottas, Hamilton’s attentions turned to keeping Verstappen at bay for second.

Verstappen’s front wing issue meant he never quite got back on terms with Bottas after dropping back early in his second stint, but he caught the ailing Hamilton with three laps to go and was granted “full power” in his bid to steal second position.

However, a yellow flag – caused by Kevin Magnussen having what looked like a brake failure and ending up in the gravel – removed a key overtaking opportunity for Verstappen, who had to settle for third.

Charles Leclerc finished a distant fourth as Ferrari’s strong run of form came crashing to a halt in a dismal race.

Leclerc had a slow first stop as he wound up 52 seconds behind Bottas in fourth, but teammate Vettel failed to finish at all after a left-rear suspension failure early on.

Vettel had already drop down to seventh position from his front-row start after struggling with massive understeer in the early laps, then his car’s suspension broke on lap eight.

Alex Albon came through to finish fifth despite hefty contact with Carlos Sainz on the opening lap, having been squeezed between Leclerc and the McLaren.

Albon had to pit at the end of the first lap because of the damage his Red Bull suffered but he charged back through with two strong stints.

Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth and best-of-the-rest for Renault after overhauling the McLarens.

Lando Norris had a later second stop that allowed him to pick off his midfield rivals and clinch seventh, ahead of Sainz who lost ground early on thanks to his first-lap clash.

Nico Hulkenberg enjoyed a late-race charge to nick ninth in the second Renault, while Daniil Kvyat passed Sergio Perez for the final point on the last lap but is under investigation for the move that won him the place.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning the world championship for the sixth time. To achieve this level of success with such quality really showcase how great he is as a champion. Just one more title to equal Michael Schumacher and considering his determination to win, Hamilton has still got that drive to be a winner for a long time.

United States Grand Prix, race results:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:33:55.653
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +4.148s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda +5.002s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +52.239s
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda +78.038s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +90.366s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +90.764s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault +1 lap
9 Nico Huldenberg Renault +1 lap
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda +1 lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes +1 lap
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda DNF
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari DNF
– Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Sebastian Vettel Ferrari DNF

2 thoughts to “Bottas wins United States Grand Prix as Hamilton takes title number six”

  1. United States Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Valtteri Bottas’ fourth win of the season at the United States Grand Prix wasn’t enough to deny his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton from claiming a historic sixth world title, the Briton finishing the race in second, having fended off a late attack from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

    Bottas had to win at the Circuit of The Americas to keep his slim championship hopes alive. And while the Finn drove a fantastic race from pole position to do just that, Hamilton made a one-stop strategy work to secure a third consecutive drivers’ crown, and join Michael Schumacher as one of only two drivers to win as many as six F1 championship titles.

    A late charge from Max Verstappen, meanwhile, wasn’t enough to put the Dutchman in with a shot of victory, as he secured his second straight podium in Austin, finishing just 0.854s off Hamilton.

    Behind, a difficult day for Charles Leclerc saw the Monegasque finish a very distant fourth for Ferrari, while Alex Albon in the second Red Bull survived first lap contact with the McLaren of Carlos Sainz to three-stop his way to fifth place.

    Another fantastic race from Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo saw the Australian finishing sixth, keeping the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Sainz at bay, while the sister Renault of Nico Hulkenberg was ninth.

    Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat crossed the line in P10, but was almost immediately handed a five-second time penalty for a late collision with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, dropping him to 12th and lifting the Mexican into the final points slot.

    A scary moment for Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, saw him eliminated on Lap 8 of the race meanwhile, the Ferrari driver – who’d started P2 – suffering sudden suspension failure that turned his SF90 into a three-wheeler for a few corners before he was forced to retire.

    Bottas’ launch from pole was exemplary, the Finn pulling Verstappen with him, who made a fine start himself from third on the grid to get alongside P2 starter Vettel and then claim his second place. Bottas’ slowish formation lap round to the start, in fact, seemed to have hit the Scuderia runners hard, with both Vettel and Leclerc making poor getaways.

    Down in P5 on the grid, Hamilton neatly avoided any touching at Turn 1 to slot into fourth behind Vettel, while behind Albon found himself squeezed into the path of Sainz, the two making contact that forced Albon’s Red Bull up into the air.

    The Thai driver was able to carry on, albeit with reported aero damage on his RB15, but came in at the end of the first tour to change onto mediums – any advantage the Thai driver might have had from being the only frontrunner to start on the soft tyres up in smoke after just one corner. Behind, meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed a fantastic getaway on fresh softs to jump from P17 to P11 in his Alfa Romeo.

    So it was Bottas, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton and Leclerc as they headed into the esses for the first time. But Vettel looked to be struggling, and as they reached Turn 8, Hamilton launched a delightful move around the outside of the German to claim P3, as Vettel fell back even further into the clutches of Leclerc, who had passed him by Turn 9.

    Something, it appeared, was not right in the #5 Ferrari, however, his car appearing to jump up awkwardly at Turn 12 on Lap 1 when he was alongside Leclerc. Eight laps later, having been easily passed by McLaren’s Norris and Renault’s Ricciardo, Vettel appeared to suffer right-rear suspension failure after running over the exit kerb of Turn 9, his car rearing up frighteningly in a frenzied wheelie. His race was run…

    That left Bottas leading from Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc, with Ricciardo in fifth having nipped past Norris for the position on Lap 8.

    Lap 13 and 14 saw Verstappen and Bottas pit respectively, both drivers taking on hards. Such was the pace deficit shown by Leclerc early on that Bottas had then passed him for second place within two laps, with Verstappen getting through a lap later for third. Bottas, in fact, was showing blistering pace on his new hards, lapping consistently two seconds a lap faster than leader Hamilton, meaning that he’d closed up to the back of his team mate by Lap 23. Hamilton was called into the pits but demurred, asking to go longer and leaving his mechanics standing awkwardly in the pits holding his hard tyres.

    Bottas was left to “attack” (his engineer’s words) Hamilton on merit the following lap, with the Finn passing easily down the back straight, before Hamilton dived straight into the pits for those hards.

    The battle lines seemed drawn, then, Bottas and Verstappen in first and second apparently set for a two-stop while Hamilton in third, as in Mexico, would try and make a one-stop work. Leclerc was in fourth – but a 7.7s first stop, on top of his lack of pace, had effectively ruined any chance of the Monegasque giving Ferrari a second straight win at COTA.

    Verstappen’s second stop – for mediums – came on Lap 35, dropping the Dutchman into third, while Bottas again followed suit a lap later and emerged second, 10 seconds adrift of Hamilton with 20 laps to go, with Verstappen lurking with intent just behind.

    Further down the order, Albon was enjoying a fantastic recovery, making the pace advantage of his Red Bull over its midfield equivalents work for him to carve his way through the order, working his way up to fifth by Lap 38, after passing Ricciardo’s Renault.

    But all eyes were on the battle between the top three. As he was in Mexico, Hamilton appeared edgy about his chances of eking out the tyre life of his tyres, with his returning engineer Pete Bonnington admitting the team were “concerned” about whether they would last the distance, and suggesting Hamilton stopping again and settling for P2 might be a better idea. “We have to stay out then,” replied Hamilton.

    He did just that – and while the tyres could last, Hamilton’s hold on the lead could not. Bottas tried to pass him team mate on Lap 51 of 56, only to be rather rudely rebuffed. But a lap later, the Finn was clinical, sweeping into a lead down the back straight that he wouldn’t relinquish, eventually crossing the line four seconds up the road from Hamilton to claim his fourth win of the year.

  2. Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Daniel Kvyat has been denied a point-scoring finish by a post-race penalty for a second event straight in the United States Grand Prix.

    Kvyat had got past Racing Point driver Sergio Perez late on – making contact and pushing Perez wide after launching it down the inside of the sharp Turn 15 left-hander – too finish the race at the Circuit of the Americas 10th on the road.

    However, by then he had been placed under investigation by the stewards for causing a collision.

    He was assessed a five-second penalty shortly after the chequered flag, which dropped him down to 12th place.

    Perez thus inherited the final points-paying position, while Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was also classified ahead of Kvyat in 11th.

    The sanction comes a week after Kvyat was demoted from ninth to 11th due to a last-corner clash with Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg.

    That penalty decision had drawn criticism from the Russian, who felt that it was in violation of F1’s ‘let them race’ policy and blamed the stewards for “killing the sport”.

    Toro Rosso’s other driver Pierre Gasly retired with damage after having a clash with Perez while trying to hang on to ninth place.


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