Raikkonen wins U.S. Grand Prix as Hamilton F1 title bid denied

Raikkonen wins U.S. Grand Prix as Hamilton F1 title bid denied

Javier Howell
October 22, 2018

The victory was the 21st of the 39-year-old Finn's career and the first since the Australian Grand Prix of March 2013, a gap of 113 races dating back to when he was racing for Lotus.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen also beat Hamilton, who will have to wait until the race in Mexico next weekend to have another chance of clinching the title.

Seconds later, Vettel - who had been demoted to fifth position on the grid - went past Daniel Ricciardo, which would have put just one auto between himself and Hamilton, but touched wheels with the Red Bull and spun out, dropping down to 15th place.

If Hamilton wins, Vettel must finish no longer than second to keep the championship alive next week into the Mexican Grand Prix.

But Ricciardo caused more drama when he lost power and was forced to retire, bringing out a virtual safety auto, and Hamilton opted to pit while Raikkonen stayed out - a decision that had a huge effect on the race.

Stroll was handed a drive-through penalty as a result but the damage on Alonso's auto was too severe for him to continue, leaving the Spaniard understandably irate.

The reigning champion was quicker than Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen (+0.070s) and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (+0.379s) at the Circuit of the Americas. Raikkonen, who has started the race in P2, bolstered from the line and passed the pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

Surprisingly, the 1997 world champion admitted that Schumacher wouldn't even make his top-five list of all-time F1 greats on which he puts Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart and Hamilton.

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"It was a good race, pretty happy with that, did some really good passes, great first lap, did everything I could with the pace and P 10 (10th place) was a bit far away". They said I took 27.7 seconds to slow down. "We've got to push hard for the next race".

But, on lap 11 and during a Virtual Safety Car period, Mercedes called Hamilton in for tyres, the only front-running driver to do so.

"I thought we'd be able to do better, but this is the best we could do in the end", he conceded.

"Once we went into that last run, I knew it was quite edgy between us".

Hamilton, meanwhile, bore down on Raikkonen, applying maximum pressure to relieve the Ferrari driver of the lead. Vettel was just.061 seconds behind.

He then staged a late charge over the final 19 laps from fourth with 12 seconds to make up.

Hamilton refused to get into predictions about Sunday's outcome.

With his auto now intact, Hamilton will start the US Grand Prix in pole position after coming out on top in qualifying.