F1 US GP 2018: The day an F1 champion proved his doubters wrong
What is likely to be Kimi Raikkonen’s final Formula 1 victory at the 2018 US Grand Prix is being live-streamed by F1 today. The high point of a disappointing second spell at Ferrari, it nonetheless gave the 2007 world champion a chance to prove a point
When Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line to win the 2018 United States Grand Prix, even the Finn couldn’t help but note how long the wait had been. Raikkonen thanked his Ferrari team before quipping: "F**king finally…"
No less than 113 races after his 20th Formula 1 victory at the 2013 season-opening Australian GP, the man who remains Ferrari’s most recent world champion in 2007 was at last a race winner again.
Even if it came too late to save the his seat with Ferrari, it was a stark reminder to the F1 world that, just a couple of weeks after his 39th birthday, he still had what it took to fight with the very best.
Raikkonen’s second spell with Ferrari had been a largely difficult one. Effectively forced into a paid sabbatical in 2010 to make way for Fernando Alonso, Raikkonen had taken a two year break before shining on his return to F1 with the cash-strapped Lotus team, prompting a surprise return to Ferrari alongside Alonso.
But as Ferrari struggled in the early part of the V6 hybrid era, Raikkonen was unable to rekindle any of the impressive form seen in his first three-year stint with the Scuderia from 2007 to 2009. He slumped to 12th in the 2014 standings, and while he improved upon Sebastian Vettel’s arrival at the team the following season, he managed only seven podiums across his first three years of his second stint.
Nevertheless, he continued to get one-year contract extensions despite the recurring questions about his motivation that had been present throughout his F1 career.
Raikkonen’s form began to lift when the new regulations increasing the level of downforce came into force for 2017, most notably at Monaco, where he took his first pole position since the 2008 French GP. But a slow couple of laps in traffic after his one and only pit stop allowed championship-challenging Vettel to get the overcut, much to Raikkonen’s chagrin. He cut a perturbed figure on the podium afterwards, feeling he had been denied his first win with the team since 2009 at the Belgian GP.
Raikkonen continued to rack up podiums, scoring eight in the opening 12 races of 2018, but continued to miss out on victories. Another opportunity came and went at Monza, where he had taken pole after getting a tow from Vettel, who then spun early on. Raikkonen led the majority of the race, only for Valtteri Bottas to run a long first stint so he could back Raikkonen into the clutches of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The tactic worked, allowing Hamilton to pass with 10 laps to go and win the race.
Ferrari had informed Raikkonen on the eve of the Monza race weekend he would not be retained for 2019, taking the decision to promote Charles Leclerc from Alfa Romeo into the team alongside Vettel. But there was still a final chance for Raikkonen to roll back the years and end his Ferrari spell on a high.
Vettel’s title bid had unravelled in the second half of 2018, with the final blow being dealt at the Circuit of The Americas. After picking up a three-place grid penalty for speeding under a red flag in practice, Vettel started fifth, before a clash with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull on the opening lap sent him into a spin that dropped him to the rear of the field.
That left Raikkonen to fight alone – just as he had at Monza – for Ferrari at the front. From second on the grid, he had made a great start to muscle past pole-sitter Hamilton on the uphill run to Turn 1 and kept the Mercedes at bay through the opening stages.
Hamilton sat just 1.5 seconds shy of Raikkonen when electrical problems brought Ricciardo’s day to an early end on lap 11 and prompted the Virtual Safety Car. Mercedes rolled the dice and switched Hamilton onto a two-stop strategy while the field was slowed, but Ferrari stuck to its plan to pit just once and kept Raikkonen out.
The decision initially seemed like a masterstroke from Mercedes. Hamilton emerged just eight seconds behind Raikkonen on fresher tyres, and quickly closed up on the leader after being waved past team-mate Bottas. But Raikkonen was staunch in his defence, fending Hamilton off for three laps before eventually diving in to the pits.
Delaying Hamilton while he had a tyre advantage would prove crucial in Raikkonen’s victory bid. Although he was leading after the Ferrari’s stop, Hamilton’s lap times began to take a dip, while Raikkonen – armed with fresher rubber – carved into the open road ahead and whittled the gap down.
By the time Hamilton came in for a second time, Raikkonen had reduced the gap to just seven seconds, leaving the world champion-in-waiting with a huge gap to make up.
Complicating matters further for Hamilton was the sole remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who had also used a one-stop strategy to get ahead and was lurking in Raikkonen’s mirrors just a couple of seconds behind.
But Verstappen’s pressure on Raikkonen was eased with seven laps to go as Hamilton closed in, creating a potential three-way fight for the victory. If Hamilton passed both cars, his fifth world title would be confirmed.
Alas, Verstappen refused to back down, eager to make up for the penalty that had controversially robbed him of a podium in Austin 12 months earlier. He remained in second, even as Hamilton tried a move around the outside of the sweeping right-hand complex of corners in the final sector on the last lap.
The battle for second meant that Raikkonen could at last revel in the glory of another grand prix victory. Responding to his engineer’s congratulatory messages, he replied, "Yeah, thank you. F**king finally."
True to form, there was little show of emotion on the rostrum as Raikkonen kept his sunglasses on for everything bar the mandatory photo. He was, naturally, the first to start swigging his champagne before either Verstappen or Hamilton had even picked up their bottles.
After the race, Raikkonen’s victory drought was a natural topic for debate. While he said it "hadn’t really been a big deal", he was pleased to have changed perceptions of his second Ferrari spell.
"It’s been a much bigger deal for other people," he said. "If it comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t change my life one bit.
"I’m happy because we are here purely to try to win. The biggest difference is how people look at you. Obviously, I’m happy. [I] just proved some people wrong."
It would be the final victory for Ferrari in 2018 as Raikkonen ended his spell at Maranello in style. He outscored Vettel by 108 points to 104 in the final eight races of the season, doing enough to pip Verstappen to third in the standings.
It was his best championship finish since 2012, and famously led to his drunken appearance at the FIA gala, an event he had actively tried to avoid attending in the past.
Now 40 and settled in the midfield with Alfa Romeo, Raikkonen is unlikely to make a return to the top step of the podium before his time in F1 is up.
But that makes his COTA win all the more special, giving a driver who has beaten Alonso, Hamilton and Michael Schumacher in their primes the final hurrah that many F1 greats are so often denied.
Raikkonen: I might as well finish last if I’m 11th like in F1 US GP
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen says finishing 11th or last in Formula 1 "makes no difference" after he missed out on a points finish at the United States Grand Prix.
The 2007 world champion has not finished in the top 10 since the Hungarian GP before the summer break and, although he ran in the points in the opening part of the Austin race, he again came away without scoring.
When asked if Alfa’s struggles with tyres in the US event were masked in qualifying then exaggerated in the race, Raikkonen said: "If you take many previous races for sure I was strongest for a long time, but obviously when you finish 11th you get absolutely nothing so you [might] as well be last.
"It makes no difference, so that’s why it’s disappointing. Sure, there was a lot of positive, but the end result is still the same.
"I had quite an OK first lap but didn’t have the speed to stay in the position.
"I managed to pass [Kevin] Magnussen but it just feels like we’re lacking general speed a bit so we have to use the tyres more than others to hold onto them.
"And then obviously we run out of tyres a bit earlier. And then it multiplies during the race and it costs us a bit.
"But we’re just lacking a little [of] speed generally. We were at least in a fight, but it’s still a bit disappointing to finish 11th."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, who finished 14th at Austin and has since been confirmed for a second season at the squad, said the Alfa is "just missing grip", before adding "after that it is really difficult to drive".
"We were on different strategies with Kimi trying to finalise something," said Giovinazzi.
"But I think from my side, on mediums it was really difficult, on hards as well on the second stint.
"It was a little bit better on soft, but still too slow to be honest.
"We are still struggling on race pace. We tried to do something, but it’s still not enough. [We will] try to do something next, and try to make it better for Brazil."
US Grand Prix: Bottas beats Vettel to pole at Austin
Valtteri Bottas claimed his fifth pole position of the 2019 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix at Austin.
The Mercedes driver’s first run in Q3, during which he posted a lap of 1m32.029s, was good enough to be sure of pole.
Neither he nor Sebastian Vettel, who was just 0.012 seconds slower, were able to improve on their second attempts but the Ferrari driver’s first-run pace was also good enough for a place on the front row.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen did improve on the second attempt to consolidate third place, just 0.067s slower than Bottas, with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also finding time but ending up 0.108s down in fourth.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton abandoned his second lap after losing time in the second sector, meaning he ended up fifth and 0.292s down. He only requires an eighth place in Sunday’s race to wrap up the 2019 title.
Alex Albon was sixth in the second Red Bull, 0.519s off the pace.
Carlos Sainz Jr benefited from having two sets of fresh softs in Q3 thanks to completing only one run in Q1 to secure midfield honours in seventh place with a lap just three tenths slower than Albon.
Sainz’s McLaren team-mate, Lando Norris, also earned a place on the fourth row in eighth, almost three-and-a-half tenths slower.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, who completed his sole Q3 run on a clear track before the final flurry, was ninth fastest, 1.459s off the pace, and just over a tenth faster than Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly.
The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start on mediums having used that tyre compound for their Q2 time, along with Verstappen – with the rest of the top 10 using softs.
Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was quickest of those knocked out in 11th place after lapping one tenth slower than Gasly.
He briefly climbed into the top 10 as he finished his final lap, only to be knocked down a place by team-mate Ricciardo.
Kevin Magnussen was 12th for Haas having failed to improve on his second run, ending up 0.010s quicker than Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – who had a time that originally put him 11th deleted for a track-limits violation.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was 14th, just over half a tenth quicker than 15th-fastest Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
Alfa Romeo duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were both eliminated in Q1 in 16th and 17th places respectively.
The pair were both in the dropzone after the first runs, with Raikkonen briefly climbing to 15th ahead of Gasly before Giovinazzi leaped ahead thanks to his stronger pace in the middle sector.
But Gasly then posted a time good enough to shuffle both back into the bottom five, where they ended the session well clear of the lead Williams of George Russell.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez must start from the pits thanks to missing the weighbridge in practice two, so completed only one run and was 19th fastest.
That put him less than a tenth faster than the second Williams of Robert Kubica.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m32.096s||0.067s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m32.548s||0.519s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m32.847s||0.818s|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.601s||1.572s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.989s||–|
|14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.100s||–|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.226s||–|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.369s||–|
|20||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.808s||–|
US GP practice: Verstappen top, Norris stars, trouble for Leclerc
Max Verstappen topped final practice for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix, as Lando Norris posted a surprise third-best time for McLaren and Charles Leclerc stopped with a problem.
Red Bull driver Verstappen bested Sebastian Vettel by 0.218 seconds in Saturday morning’s session at Austin, but Vettel ended up the only Ferrari driver to set a lap time.
Twenty minutes into the session his team-mate Leclerc seemed to lose power towards the end of the lap and pulled over on the run-off before the penultimate corner.
Light smoke was emerging from the rear of his Ferrari as he came to a rest and continued to do so as the car was wheeled behind the barriers.
Ferrari later said the issue was an oil leak, and began work to change to a previously used engine in time for qualifying.
The recovery of Leclerc’s car, which was eventually returned to the Ferrari garage mid-way through the session, caused a brief virtual safety car period before the session resumed under green flag conditions.
Vettel and Verstappen duelled for the fastest time on the first runs before Valtteri Bottas kicked off the next new-tyre efforts and jumped to first with the first sub-1m34s lap, a 1m33.904s.
After having an earlier lap deleted for running too wide exiting the penultimate corner, Vettel found almost a second on new rubber and lapped almost four tenths quicker than Bottas.
Verstappen initially set a time within two tenths of Vettel’s 1m33.523s, and locked up at Turn 1 as he tried to improve.
He did eventually depose Vettel one final time, clocking a 1m33.305s to take the top spot for good with seven minutes to go.
Neither Mercedes driver seriously threatened to top the session and as Bottas and Lewis Hamilton ended up more than half a second adrift, Norris stole an unexpected third.
The rookie was just 0.533s slower than Vettel as his 1m33.818s beat Bottas by eight-hundredths of a second and Hamilton by just over a tenth.
Alex Albon completed the top six in the second Red Bull, 0.678s slower than team-mate Verstappen.
Carlos Sainz Jr was twice as far from the benchmark in seventh as his team-mate Norris, but shunned the soft tyre for most of the session.
He was 1.1s off the pace, but a tenth quicker than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen in eighth.
Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso and Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault completed the top 10.
At the back of the field, without a representative time in 19th, Sergio Perez’s Racing Point was fitted with a new engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K for final practice.
The engine changes and lack of qualifying simulation work were tactical decisions from the team as Perez will start from the pitlane because of a weighbridge infringement on Friday.
Perez will be hit with a grid penalty for the engine component changes but it will be an irrelevant formality for the Mexican, who now has the fresh components available to him for this weekend and rest of the season
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.305s||–||13|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.983s||0.678s||14|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m34.408s||1.103s||15|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.513s||1.208s||18|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.517s||1.212s||14|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.792s||1.487s||14|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.129s||1.824s||16|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.956s||2.651s||15|
|19||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m38.426s||5.121s||22|
US Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton leads Austin Friday F1 practice
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the United States Grand Prix, outpacing Charles Leclerc by 0.301 seconds.
Ferrari driver Leclerc was quickest in the early running, which was interrupted by a red flag caused by Romain Grosjean crashing his Haas after losing it at the downhill Turn 5 and nosing into the barrier, with a time of 1m34.434s using medium Pirellis.
That put Leclerc 0.158s quicker than Hamilton, who used the hard compound to set his time.
But Hamilton hit back once the drivers started to switch on to the soft Pirellis, setting a time of 1m33.232s to secure top spot.
This was despite lagging 0.317s behind Leclerc at the end of the first sector, with a significant tow from Robert Kubica’s Williams in the middle sector allowing him to take half a second out of Leclerc.
Hamilton ended up three tenths quicker than Leclerc having eked out a little more time in the final sector.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was the last of the frontrunners to set a time on mediums, lapping 0.315s off the pace and 0.343s ahead of fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.
This was still good enough to put Vettel, who had a spin late in the session while running hard Pirellis coming through the Turn 14 right-hander, well clear of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas questioned where he had lost time over the radio, and was informed it was down to a combination of not having a Hamilton-like tow and time lost on the straights – which he was also told was down to "something else probably".
He subsequently made a small improvement to his time, but was still 0.813s off the pace.
Alex Albon completed the top six in the second Red Bull, 1.202s down and just three quarters of a tenth ahead of the man he replaced – Pierre Gasly.
Gasly declared "that’s a good lap" after he jumped up to seventh place for Toro Rosso with a time good enough to keep him well-clear of eighth-fastest Carlos Sainz Jr’s McLaren.
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll was one of the last to set a time on softs, jumping into the top 10 with a lap of 1m34.744s with 37 minutes remaining and ending up ninth.
Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo having been shuffled from seventh after his quick lap down to 10th place, 1.607s off the pace.
Giovinazzi survived a spin earlier in the session when the rear stepped out coming through the Turn 6 right-hander, with his initial correction firing the car in the opposite direction to the original moment.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was 11th fastest despite a wide moment exiting Turn 9 on his lap, half-a-tenth quicker than the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Nico Hulkenberg put the second Renault 13th ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with Sergio Perez 15th.
Kimi Raikkonen was 16th fastest with a lap 2.155s off the pace, just ahead of the first driver to set a time on softs – Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
Grosjean’s pace on the mediums before going off and bringing his afternoon to a premature end on his fourth lap was good enough to secure 18th place, with the two Williams drivers 19th and 20th.
George Russell was the quicker of the pair, lapping just over half-a-second faster than Kubica.
Practice two times
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.547s||0.315s||28|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.434s||1.202s||32|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.509s||1.277s||31|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m34.667s||1.435s||34|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.744s||1.512s||29|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.839s||1.607s||29|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.975s||1.743s||36|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.109s||1.877s||26|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.387s||2.155s||34|
US Grand Prix F1 practice: Verstappen beats Vettel, Hamilton eighth
Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton was only eighth in the lead Mercedes.
Verstappen was 0.169 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the first 90-minute session on Friday, with Alex Albon backing up his Red Bull team-mate in third.
Red Bull showed table-topping pace throughout, with Albon quickest at the halfway stage on a 1m35.282s before times tumbled as the track improved and teams switched to the soft tyre.
After dropping Pirelli’s development 2020 tyres for a set of mediums and then softs, Verstappen posted a 1m34.057s.
Vettel’s own soft-tyre run yielded a 1m34.236s, with Albon ending up on a 1m34.336s.
As neither Mercedes driver or Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari sett a representative time, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly ended the session fourth, just under a second slower than Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Renault, a shade faster than Romain Grosjean’s Haas, with Leclerc only seventh, 1.3s off the pace.
Hamilton, who has regular race engineer Peter Bonnington back alongside him at Austin, ended up a few hundredths shy of Leclerc.
He vaulted into the top 10 with a late soft-tyre run after threatening to end the session 18th.
Lance Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10 in the second Haas.
Valtteri Bottas was down in 17th in the second Mercedes. He did complete a lengthy stint on softs but spent the rest of his session on development tyres and mediums.
Several drivers complained about bumps around the track and a jump at Turn 9, where there has been a mix of resurfacing and other parts being left alone and deteriorating.
Television replays even showed small parts being thrown off by at least one Haas over the bumps.
Carlos Sainz Jr suffered a major spin through the Esses after losing his McLaren on the bumpy entry to the corner, while many others ran wide and had lap times deleted for track limits.
Williams FP1 stand-in Nicholas Latifi stopped briefly on-track and only completed seven laps before returning to the garage.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.057s||–||26|
|3||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.316s||0.259s||28|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.008s||0.951s||32|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.586s||1.529s||31|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.661s||1.604s||31|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m35.723s||1.666s||26|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.854s||1.797s||22|
|14||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.971s||1.914s||29|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m36.037s||1.980s||26|
Kimi è un Iceman, Vettel no
Dopo 113 gare Kimi Raikkonen è tornato sul gradino più alto del podio in F1 esattamente nel giorno in cui undici anni fa si laureava campione del mondo a Interlagos in Brasile. Raikkonen ha così anche superato Patrese, che aveva atteso 99 gare per festeggiare un successo. La vittoria del finlandese ha rimandato la festa iridata di Lewis Hamilton, terzo alle spalle anche di uno strepitoso Max Verstappen. Ancora una volta insufficiente la prova di Sebastian Vettel, quarto e autore di un altro errore nel corso del primo giro. Ecco come i principali quotidiani nazionali sportivi e non hanno analizzato il bellissimo Gran Premio degli Stati Uniti.
Kimi is back
“Scrive Paulo Coelho che quando vuoi davvero qualcosa tutto l’Universo cospira perché tu possa ottenerlo. Ieri le stelle si sono mosse per aiutare Sebastian Vettel e hanno spinto Kimi Raikkonen e Max Verstappen a collaborare, rimandando la festa iridata di Lewis Hamilton e della Mercedes. L’inglese ci ha provato in tutti i modi a blindare il Mondiale con 4 gare di anticipo, ma sulla sua strada ha trovato due rivali imprevisti e una strategia infelice della squadra che l’ha costretto sempre a rimontare, dopo il sorpasso incassato in partenza da Kimi che ha cominciato a complicargli la vita. L’ultimo assalto per il secondo posto, quando mancavano due giri alla fine, ha visto andare in scena un duello magnifico con Verstappen, risolto a favore dell’olandesino volante. Mentre pochi metri più avanti Raikkonen si involava verso un trionfo atteso da cinque stagioni e oltre cento gran premi, il primo con la Ferrari fin dal suo ritorno a Maranello nel 2014. Del resto, solo un miracolo (in questo caso due) poteva salvare Vettel e allungare la speranza, anche se a Hamilton mancano 6 punti per l’aritmetica certezza del quinto titolo, e la logica dice che il sipario calerà domenica prossima in Messico. Per fortuna di Seb ci hanno pensato Kimi e Max a mettere i bastoni fra le ruote di Lewis. Perché, fosse stato per il tedesco, i conti sarebbero già chiusi. L’incidente al primo giro con Daniel Ricciardo ha infatti complicato per l’ennesima volta la corsa di Vettel, finito subito in testacoda e costretto a una rimonta furiosa dalla 15a posizione. Prima del contatto, il pilota della Ferrari aveva superato quello della Red Bull in fondo al rettilineo opposto di Austin, arrivando però lungo in frenata e consentendo la replica dell’australiano. In una delle curve successive, Seb ha provato a resistergli, ma ha perso il controllo (sottosterzo) toccando la fiancata di Daniel e girandosi. Una dinamica simile a quella dello scontro con Hamilton a Monza e conclusa allo stesso modo”.
Luigi Perna, La Gazzetta dello Sport
Un memorabile acuto nell’ora dei saluti
“L’aspettava, lo aspettavamo da cinque anni. Cinque anni della sua seconda giovinezza in rosso carichi di giorni amari, deludenti, grigi, nell’ombra di Alonso prima, di Vettel poi. Ma Kimi Raikkonen è un dadaista della velocità, un mattocchio amatissimo, capace di regalarsi e regalarci un memorabile acuto nel momento dell’addio. Come dire, beh, sono ancora qui, sulle note di Vasco Rossi, ad anni 39, ad un passo da un futuro (nel Team Sauber) che non gli permetterà giorni così carichi di smalto, così gonfi di una emozione che questo strano uomo, glaciale per finta, nasconde da una vita. Dunque, applausi. Meritati, in arrivo dall’intera platea, avversari compresi. Ma il volo magnifico di Kimi ad Austin contiene molti significati. […] La vittoria di Kimi dimostra ancora una volta quanto questo Mondiale avrebbe potuto offrirci tutt’altro finale. Perché la macchina, affanni compresi, reagisce e tiene testa anche in un epilogo dal destino scontato causa punti gettati dal suo primo pilota. Il quale fa ora tenerezza, schiacciato come pare da una serenità perduta. Anche perché Raikkonen, già dimesso e vincente, si trasforma adesso in un ennesimo, implicito, sghignazzante testimone dell’accusa”.
Giorgio Terruzzi, Il Corriere della Sera
È la festa rossa di Raikkonen, rinviata quella di Hamilton
“C’erano cheerleader, cantanti, vip e le bandierine già pronte ad Austin. Ma la festa di Lewis Hamilton è rinviata, con ogni probabilità solo di una settimana al Gp del Messico. Non aveva calcolato due «imbucati» il campione della Mercedes. Il primo è il «nonno» del paddock: Kimi Raikkonen torna a vincere dopo 5 anni e 113 Gp nel momento più inaspettato della sua lunghissima carriera. Il secondo è Max Verstappen, il predestinato della Red Bull: partiva 18° dopo una qualifica da incubo (per la rottura di una sospensione e per aver sostituito alcuni elementi del motore), ha evitato il far west del primo giro, ha rimontato furiosamente con sorpassi pazzeschi e poi a due tornate dalla fine ha chiuso la porta in faccia a Hamilton con coraggio e classe. Per l’inglese è un podio insapore dopo la pole conquistata al sabato con una delle sue magie sulla pista dove vinceva da 4 anni di fila. Ma non si dispera, ha il campionato in pugno e ha imparato che a volte conviene limitare i rischi. Chi, invece, non cambia mai è Sebastian Vettel: dopo il pasticcio del venerdì (-3 posizioni al via per non aver rallentato in regime di bandiere rosse nelle prove)ne combina un altro, anche peggiore. Nel tentativo di liberarsi di Daniel Ricciardo nelle prime curve perde la macchina, frana addosso all’australiano e va in testacoda. È condannato a una gara di rimessa, i commissari non puniscono nessuno dei due, ed è giusto così”.
Daniele Sparisci, Il Corriere della Sera
Colpo di coda di Raikkonen
“Gara divertente e incerta fino agli ultimi giri il Gran premio degli Stati Uniti. Hamilton è scattato (non benissimo) dalla pole position e alla prima curva ha ceduto la testa della corsa a Raikkonen. Avrebbe potuto chiudere lo stesso il campionato grazie all’errore di Sebastian Vettel, finito in testacoda nella fretta di superare Ricciardo. Ma stavolta nelle strategie la Ferrari è stata più astuta della Mercedes: ha chiesto a Kimi di resistere con le gomme che stavano andando in pappa e gli ha fatto fare un solo pit stop. Hamilton, invece, si è fermato due volte e non è riuscito a rimontare oltre il terzo posto, dietro a Verstappen e davanti a Vettel”.
Stefano Mancini, La Stampa
KR7, finalmente e dimmi che non vuoi morire
Hamilton è stato costretto a rinviare l’inevitabile festa iridata.
Vettel mai come ora ha bisogno di essere aiutato.
“E dimmi che non vuoi morire”, Vasco Rossi per Patty Pravo.
Ps. Scrivete quello che volete. Io scrissi.
Da Blog Turrini
Kimi Raikkonen feels he’s proved people wrong with US GP F1 win
United States Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen believes he has "proved some people wrong" after claiming his first Formula 1 victory in five and a half years.
Raikkonen had not won a race since the 2013 Australian GP with Lotus and having lost his Ferrari drive to Charles Leclerc for 2019 he was at risk of ending his second stint with the team without a win.
He jumped poleman Lewis Hamilton at the start of Sunday’s grand prix and then withstood late pressure from Max Verstappen and the Mercedes driver to end his victory drought.
"It hasn’t really been a big deal for me," he said "It’s been a much bigger deal for other people.
"If it comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t change my life one bit.
"I’m happy because we are here purely to try to win. The biggest difference is how people look at you.
"Obviously, I’m happy. [I] just proved some people wrong."
Raikkonen said he was also pleased for his team having had "a pretty rough few races".
Hamilton and Mercedes had won the previous four grands prix and six of the last seven races, with Ferrari only enjoying Sebastian Vettel’s Belgian GP success during that run.
Ferrari told Raikkonen he would not be driving for the team next season ahead of the Italian GP, and the Finn went on to claim his first pole of the year that weekend before signing a two-year deal with Sauber.
He made it clear his comments about proving people wrong were not aimed at the decision to drop him.
"I didn’t mean in that sense," he said. "People don’t understand I’m actually very happy with where I’m going.
"I have had my time with Ferrari, I won the championship with them and many races with them.
"For me, as a driver, I want different challenges. I want different things.
"I wasn’t really at any point disappointed with the decision. The only thing I was interested in was to know what would happen.
"The rest, I’ve been in F1 long enough to know it doesn’t matter if you have a contract or not, things happen for different reasons."
Q: Kimi Räikkönen, congratulations, you’ve made a lot of Formula 1 fans around the world very, very happy today, maybe not quite as happy as you are.
Kimi Raikkonen: Who knows, maybe they are happier even. No, honestly, it’s been a good weekend. I think the car has been pretty good all the time. I got a good start. I needed to push hard. It was tight a few times and in the end the tyres were not in the best shape but I think it was a bit similar for Max, obviously Lewis had more tyres left for the end. I had enough speed; we kept it consistent and just tried to keep the tyres alive until the end, so a long time, you know, but here we are.
Q: Your first victory since Australia 2013. It’s been a long time coming. You must be more pumped up than that?
KR: Obviously I’m much happier than finishing second. I’m happy but let’s see… later on. But great job.
Q: Three critical points: the start, then when you were running a very wide car… the second one actually was when you were pretending you coming into the pit lane and Lewis had to come in instead; he was going to do the opposite to you, and then obviously holding him up for about eight seconds. Everything put together, that’s what made you the victory.
KR: I think it was obviously coming in at the right time and having enough tyres both times. It was a bit of a balancing act but we did it pretty well, well enough to win it, so it was OK, and a good battle and I think that’s what we all want as drivers and also the people here.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Two questions for Kimi. How difficult was that balancing you were talking to Martin about, of pushing very hard at the start of your second stint to catch Lewis and to have enough of a gap to be in front and saving those tyres until the end of the race for the last 10 laps with the two guys behind?
KR: Yeah, I think it was already during the first stint, maybe one lap, two laps, and then you try to take of tyres, fuel, things like that, but it’s more guessing, obviously you kind of go by feeling. At a certain point the tyres are going to fall off and there is not a lot you can do. We had a pretty good battle. I tried to stay as far as I could. I could hold him back. And then once we did the pit stops obviously I just needed to keep the gap. I caught up a little bit and then keep the gap and aiming for certain lap times and looking after the tyres, because it will be an issue in the end. So you never know how it’s going to play out, especially after a Friday like we had. I was pretty confident after the first stint that it will be OK, but like we saw it got pretty close and 10 laps I was a bit probably not the most happiest guy in the world. But the closer we got to the end, the closer they got to me, it’s more dfificult for them and then it was OK.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) And the second question is what’s more satisfying: getting the win and, as you said, shutting your critics out; or knowing for now that for a long time none of us is going to ask you when is the next time you are going to win a race?
KR: (Laughs) it might be next weekend already! I don’t know. I’m happy with how it went. I’m happy for the team. Obviously we had a pretty rough two races and I’m proving people certain things. I might be getting older but it’s not too bad still. Maybe I’m OK to be [here] a few years more. I enjoy it, so we are here to try to win. I always try to do it, but obviously it’s not easy, otherwise anybody could do it. So, I think this weekend we have been pretty solid in many ways. I just had a good feeling with the car. We’ll see what happens in the next race, but so far it’s been OK. I don’t complain a lot. We’ll have for sure some fun tonight and we go next week to the next one.
Q: (Joey Barnes – Motorsports Tribune) Kimi, your last win, five years ago, you weren’t quite known as the family man. So, now that have this one, how special is this, that you get to share it with your family?
KR: They’ve been asking for a while, so more interested in the Pirelli cap than probably the win itself. I know that we can buy it also but I know it’s not fair play to bring them if I had to buy it. So yeah. I have a lovely wife and kids and I’m sure they’re happy. I’m not sure if the kids… they probably fall asleep during the race but the wife probably looked at it. I’m more than happy for all of us. It’s nice. Yeah… I don’t know. It’s nice to win again – but like I said, it doesn’t change my life or they don’t look at me differently. My son asked the previous race that he wants a new Pirelli – the same tyre from the qualifying – because he wants to play with it. Again, I’m sure they’re happy and I’m happy to help them, more than happy. We’ll have a nice talk when we get home.
Q: And similarly Kimi, with you, when you were defending from Lewis, I think you said on team radio about not doing anything silly.
KR: Yeah, for sure my purpose is not to be any more aggressive against him than anybody else. I don’t believe in doing crazy things. I want to do my race and do the best that I can do. If that impacts the championship then that’s how it is but I will not do any crazy stuff to be a part of it. My job is purely to try to do win, I’m here for that and I will play as fair as is possible and that’s how it’s going to be and how it’s always going to be. We know what is fair and what is not and I got a bit close once because I lost a bit of grip but there was nothing crazy going on.
Q: (Peter Windsor – Peterwindsor.com) The first question, Kimi, I’m asking on behalf of Heikki Kulta who I’ve just spoken to. He can barely talk he was so excited but he wanted me to ask you what you were thinking and what it felt like to be the listening to the Finnish national anthem?
KR: Obviously I wanted to win, that’s for sure. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen or not because sometimes it’s been close and something maybe happened. With five laps to go it was going to be OK because I knew my tyres were still OK and once they get close enough, it’s so difficult to follow. It’s nice to hear it, for sure, especially if you’ve won. Obviously that is what you always want, at any race we come to, all of us want to win, but like I said, I’m happy for that, it was a great day to prove some people wrong and having a good race but it doesn’t really change anything for me. It’s just a number. Life goes on.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Lewis, given you were told by the team that Seb had spun on the opening lap and you were in a good position, were you surprised that the title hasn’t been clinched in this race? And to Kimi, you mentioned about proving people wrong; do you think you’ve proved that you should still be in a Ferrari next season?
LH: I’m not surprised, I finished third. My job… I had to win the race today. I’m not really sure what happened in the race behind but obviously he did a good job to come back but as a team, we clearly struggled. Valtteri struggled to keep Seb behind, even when Seb was obviously… must have been quite far behind, so performance-wise we were definitely off this weekend but I think Kimi’s given me a lot of confidence, so that I can keep getting better. He’s 38? 39?
KR: 39. Next year 40, so… I’ll invite you to the party.
LH: Hope I get an invite for the 40th.
KR: We can call.
Q: And Kimi, do you think this result shows that you should still be in a Ferrari next year?
KR: No. For sure I didn’t mean on that side. I think people don’t understand I’m actually very happy where I’m going. I had my time with Ferrari, I won the championship with them. I won many races with them and for me, as a driver, I want different challenges, I want different things and I’m actually very happy to go there. It’s roughly 40 minutes from my home. For sure my family will be happy, I’m happy to be with my family. I think it’s probably the best thing. I wasn’t really disappointed with the decision at any point. The only thing that I was interested in was to know what was going to happen and that’s the only thing. The rest, I’ve been long enough in F1 to know that things… it doesn’t matter if you have contracts or not, things happen for different reasons but I think the end result is that I’m very excited about it.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Kimi, you’re now up to third in the championship and Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes. The Constructors championship is far more open than the Drivers’ championship. Are these two important goals for you, one more important than the other or do you just want to win more races until the end of the year?
KR: I can only do my best. Whatever the end result is, that’s how it’s going to play out. For sure, if we have a chance to fight for a championship I will do my job and that would be absolutely perfect for all of us but we can only do our best, I said that before the race and before many races and you know, whatever the end result is, that was our best and if today we would be second or third, it wouldn’t really feel too bad because I knew that I did the best I could and today was like this so I’m happy about it. We’ll go next weekend and try to do the best that we can. We keep fighting until the last race and then we see what happens after that.
Kimi Raikkonen wins thrilling F1 United States Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first Formula 1 win in five years in the United States Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton’s 2018 title celebrations were delayed despite a Sebastian Vettel spin.
Raikkonen overcame poleman Hamilton at the start and withstood late pressure from Max Verstappen, who started 18th, and the Mercedes driver to finally win in his second spell with Ferrari and clinch his first success since the 2013 Australian GP with Lotus.
Second place would have given Hamilton the title and he went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen with three laps to go, but could not make it stick, eventually running off-track at Turn 18.
Vettel’s fourth place, having passed Valtteri Bottas late on in his recovery drive, means Hamilton leads by 70 points with 75 on offer in the final three grands prix.
Hamilton went into the Austin race needing to outscore Vettel by eight points to clinch a fifth championship.
He erred at the start as Raikkonen muscled past on the inside into Turn 1, but half a lap later the pendulum swung in Hamilton’s favour when Vettel spun to 15th.
Vettel breezed past Daniel Ricciardo down the back straight but made a small mistake under braking for the next corner and Ricciardo cut back on the exit of the tight left-hander.
That gave Vettel the inside for the next right-hander, but the German had a small wobble, bumped into the Red Bull and ended up facing the wrong way.
Raikkonen kept Hamilton at bay until an early virtual safety car led to Ferrari and Mercedes adopting different strategies.
With the race neutralised as marshals tended to Ricciardo’s stricken Red Bull, which had stopped on the exit of the Turn 11 hairpin, Mercedes told Hamilton to do the opposite to Raikkonen under the VSC and so he dived into the pits, committing to a two-stop strategy.
Hamilton resumed in third place, just nine seconds behind the Finn, and within three laps had taken second from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who slowed down on the start-finish straight to let him by.
By lap 18 of 56 Hamilton was already on the back of Raikkonen again but Raikkonen somehow resisted three laps of relentless Hamilton pressure before pitting – which proved crucial later on.
Vettel stayed out until lap 26, ceding places to Raikkonen and Verstappen – who had charged through the field in a stunning first stint on softs – as he struggled with fading tyres.
Raikkonen’s task was to stay within one pitstop – roughly 20s – of Hamilton, while Vettel began to catch Bottas for fourth.
Hamilton’s 18-second lead was gradually eroded by Raikkonen and as the Mercedes’ ageing softs worsened, third-place man Verstappen and Bottas comfortably got inside Hamilton’s pitstop window.
He stopped on lap 37, which handed Raikkonen a 2.5-second lead over Verstappen, with Bottas 6.5s further back and Hamilton fourth, 12s behind the lead Ferrari and 4.1s clear of Vettel.
Armed with fresh softs, Hamilton raced onto the back of his team-mate and was let through within two laps.
That put Hamilton third, 8.8s off the lead, but with Vettel stuck in fifth Hamilton only needed to pass Verstappen – 6.7s ahead with 15 laps to go – to secure the title.
He closed onto the back of Verstappen with seven laps to go, but was not able to make a pass as their battle culminated in an epic run of four corners side-by-side.
Hamilton ran wide as he finally attempted to pass Verstappen on the outside of the fast double-right near the end of the lap.
Moments later, Vettel passed Bottas at the hairpin to lose only two points to Hamilton as the title fight continues.
Behind the leaders, Renault received a late boost in its quest for fourth in the constructors’ championship as Nico Hulkenberg led home team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr for a best-of-the-rest one-two.
Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Ocon’s team-mate Sergio Perez completed the points finishers.
There were four retirees from the grand prix.
Long before Ricciardo ground to a halt in his Red Bull, Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean had their races ruined on the opening lap.
Alonso stopped in the pits after being wiped out by Lance Stroll on the entry to the esses, while Grosjean locked up and clattered into Charles Leclerc’s Sauber at the tight left-hander at the end of the back straight.
Stroll was given a drivethrough penalty for spinning Alonso, while Grosjean’s incident – which sent Leclerc, who eventually retired much later, to the back of the pack – will be investigated after the race.
Grosjean faces an automatic one-race ban if the stewards award him three licence penalty points, having already picked up nine in the last 12 months.
Result – 56 laps
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1.281s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.288s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.080s|
|11||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap|
|15||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
Ferrari: Claims Monza defeat caused by Raikkonen exit ‘disrespectful’
Ferrari says suggestions its crucial defeat at the Italian Grand Prix was triggered by it telling Kimi Raikkonen he was being dropped are ‘disrespectful.’
The Monza weekend has been viewed as a defining one in the title battle, as Lewis Hamilton pulled off a shock win despite Ferrari having locked out the front row.
Vettel’s annoyance at Raikkonen taking pole having benefited from a tow, and then the two Ferrari drivers helping Hamilton by battling between themselves on the first lap, pointed to it being an uneasy weekend for the Maranello-based team.
When it emerged after the race weekend that Raikkonen had been told on the eve of the event he was not being retained for 2019, it prompted theories that he may have been extra motivated to gun for glory himself rather than automatically help his team-mate.
But Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says suggestions that the team got it wrong in telling Raikkonen of the bad news at Monza were wrong.
Arrivabene is clear that the impact of the decision made no difference to how either Raikkonen or Vettel behaved.
"Both Kimi and Sebastian are two great professionals with years of experience on their shoulders," he told Autosport.
"They are not two kart drivers who have just started hanging out at the track.
"What has been said about the timing of this situation are assessments which I find disrespectful against drivers who are great professionals.
"Then, let me say, if every time that Kimi receives news of this nature he responds with a pole position, then it would be worth doing it every weekend."
Asked to explain the decision to inform Raikkonen specifically in Monza of the news, Arrivabene added: "I think it is important to clarify two things. Kimi has always gone well at Spa and Monza, and so Kimi was anxious to get from us an answer about his future.
"I think that communicating a decision like that is more appropriate on the eve of a race weekend on a ‘friendly’ track, rather than at a weekend that promises to be more fraught.
"Ideally it would have been better to communicate during the summer break, but we were not yet ready to do so. And after Monza meant it would still be on the eve of the Singapore weekend."
Q: Kimi, happy 39th birthday during the week, still plenty of speed there isn’t there?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, a little bit too slow, but I can deal with it. No, it’s been a pretty positive day and for sure I think we got pretty close. It’s far from ideal but I feel good with the car. We’ll try tomorrow; it’s going to be a long race, and nobody really knows how the tyre will survive, because of yesterday’s rain, so it will be interesting.
Q: And of course you will start on the ultrasofts, unlike people around you?
KR: Yeah, not much to lose, so we’ll try to make a good start and go from there and see what we can do. I think it should be OK.
Q: Kimi, similar question to Sebastian really, with the gaps so close. Were you happy with your run, or do you feel you left anything out there?
KR: I think if you do a few more tries then for sure that amount you can improve. It’s just a very small difference somewhere, and you could be suddenly that much quicker – but this is what we got today. I think the last run was pretty good but the previous had very little grip, so then I was surprised how much on the last run I had, so obviously, when you have a bit more consistent grip it’s more easy to know how much you can actually push – but yeah, it was OK.
Q: And Kimi, you’ll be starting on the ultrasoft. Do you think the supersoft holds an advantage or are you confident?
KR: I have what I have and I’m happy about it so we will see how it works out tomorrow. It’s a bit impossible to say.
US Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton on pole, Sebastian Vettel fifth
Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth Formula 1 pole position of the season in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, while title rival Sebastian Vettel will start fifth.
Vettel was Hamilton’s closest challenger on pace in Austin qualifying, but has a three-place grid penalty for speeding under the safety car during Friday practice.
Hamilton had the advantage after the first runs in Q3, but came under attack from both Ferraris on his second run.
Kimi Raikkonen, who will start alongside Hamilton on the front row, briefly took top spot with a lap of 1m32.307s, only for Hamilton to retake it by 0.061 seconds.
Vettel then completed his lap, a 1m32.298s, to split the pair, subsequently saying over the radio that he tried everything he could to beat Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas was 0.379s off Hamilton in the second Mercedes and ended the session fourth fastest ahead of the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
Both Mercedes drivers, Vettel and Ricciardo will start the race on the supersoft Pirellis having used that compound to set their Q2 times – although Raikkonen used ultrasofts.
Esteban Ocon was best of the rest in sixth place for the Racing Point Force India team, just ahead of Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg.
Romain Grosjean was eighth ahead of Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, with Sergio Perez 10th in the second Force India.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr was the quickest of those eliminated in Q2 in 11th place after failing to capitalise on team-mate Hulkenberg, who had a lock up into Turn 1, not improving on his second run.
Sainz set his best time of 1m34.566s to close to just two-thousandths from Hulkenberg and complained of "oversteer in the last corner, I don’t know why" costing him.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 12th after also failing to improve on his second run thanks to losing time in the first sector.
Toro Rosso pairing Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who will both drop to the back of the grid thanks to Honda power unit change penalties, did not set times during Q2 and ended up 13th and 14th respectively.
Because both did at least take to the track, they were classified ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman could not run in Q2 after a failure in the right-rear corner when running over an exit kerb in the first segment of qualifying.
McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was 16th having been eliminated in Q1 by Hartley’s last gasp improvement.
Alonso was 0.441s up on Hartley after the first sectors of their final laps, but the Toro Rosso driver turned that deficit into a 0.088s advantage over sectors two and three to jump the McLaren.
Alonso will move back ahead of both Toro Rossos on the grid once the penalties are applied.
This put Alonso ahead of Williams pairing Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll in 17th and 18th respectively, with 0.118s separating the two.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson briefly elevated himself out of the dropzone in the final flurry of Q1 laps, only to be shuffled back down to 19th by the chequered flag.
Stoffel Vandoorne brought up the rear in the second McLaren, lapping two-tenths slower than Ericsson.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.494s||1.257s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.145s||1.908s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.594s||2.357s|
|18||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
|19||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||–||–|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||–||–|
Vettel heads Raikkonen in US GP FP3 at Austin, Hamilton takes third
Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the final Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix as the teams finally got some dry running.
Vettel outpaced Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by less than a tenth, while championship leader and Friday pacesetter Lewis Hamilton jumped to third late-on as Ferrari and Mercedes adopted different approaches to an unusually busy Saturday practice.
After both Friday sessions took place in wet conditions, there was a flurry of activity at the start of FP3 with qualifying and the race due to be held in the dry.
The Ferraris were alone in using the ultrasoft tyres at first as others focused on longer runs, with Raikkonen heading Vettel by just 0.04s after their first efforts.
Race preparations meant there was little of note in the first half an hour, although Raikkonen did improve to a 1m34.419s.
Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso engaged in an odd wheel-to-wheel scrap when Alonso dived inside the Mercedes heading into the uphill Turn 1 and Bottas repassed the McLaren around the outside going back down the incline into Turn 2.
Mercedes told Bottas Alonso was "playing games" as it continued to focus on long runs, but that changed in the second half-hour when a flurry of fast lap runs were carried out.
Bottas avoided the ultrasofts but did push on supersofts, setting a 1m34.446s, while Hamilton made a small mistake on his first push lap and then posted a time one tenth slower than his team-mate after a couple of laps at lower speed.
The Ferraris completed their third runs of the session on fresh ultrasofts, and Vettel used this to finally leapfrog Raikkonen into P1 by 0.046s with a 1m33.797s.
That remained the benchmark to the end, although a late effort from Hamilton got him ahead of team-mate Bottas.
Hamilton threatened to go fastest by setting the best middle sector of the session with two minutes to go, but he eventually wound up a tenth off Vettel after losing time at the end of the lap.
He managed to get within a tenth of his title rival and go 0.7s clear of Bottas, who set his best time on supersofts.
The Red Bulls trailed a few tenths behind Bottas, with Max Verstappen leading Daniel Ricciardo, while Charles Leclerc snuck to the front of the best-of-the-rest battle in a whirlwind of last-gasp improvement to take seventh.
Leclerc’s 1m35.365s put him half a tenth clear of Sergio Perez, as Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean lapped within and just outside a tenth of the Sauber driver’s effort respectively.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||1m33.797s||20|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||0.046s||21|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||0.073s||23|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||0.759s||21|
|5||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0.906s||21|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1.113s||20|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||1.568s||21|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Force India F1 Team||1.614s||21|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Renault Sport Formula One Team||1.653s||21|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||1.671s||19|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Racing Point Force India F1 Team||1.765s||22|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1.916s||27|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||1.973s||19|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport Formula One Team||2.085s||19|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||2.203s||21|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing||2.391s||21|
|17||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing||2.396s||20|
|18||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team||2.505s||23|
|19||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||2.533s||26|
|20||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team||2.535s||20|
“Oggi non è successo molto; le condizioni erano difficili, ma abbiamo cercato di girare il più possibile. Avevamo un solo set di gomme da utilizzare senza risentirne, perché è quello supplementare che dobbiamo restituire. Quelli che ci rimangono potrebbero servire per le qualifiche e la gara, per cui eravamo limitati nella disponibilità. Non ho fatto molta attenzione ai tempi perché verso la fine della sessione pomeridiana, dopo aver segnato il tempo con le coperture da bagnato, le Intermedie che avevamo erano molto consumate. Nel corso della sessione abbiamo fatto dei progressi e nel complesso è stato OK, ma non è facile avere un’idea chiara della situazione. Avevamo nuove soluzioni da provare ma date le condizioni non è stato possibile capire molto. Ora cercheremo di fare il meglio nelle prossime sessioni”.
Austin F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest again as rain continues
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the times in a rain-hit second Formula 1 practice session at Austin on Friday afternoon, ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
No running took place in the first 50 minutes of the session as heavy rain soaked the track, but as the rain eased more drivers took to the circuit in the final few minutes of the session.
A few hardy spectators had hung around at the track in the hope of seeing some running but they were not rewarded until Brendon Hartley took to the track in his Toro Rosso 47 minutes into the session, with more drivers soon following.
World champion-elect Hamilton emerged from his garage with just five minutes remaining and set a time 1.483 seconds quicker than Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in second place.
The Frenchman ran on a fresh set of intermediates and reduced the deficit to Hamilton to just 1.012s at the end of the session.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third quickest ahead of Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Brendon Hartley. The Toro Rosso driver ran more laps than anyone else – 19 in total.
Hamilton’s title-challenger Sebastian Vettel was only 10th quickest, nearly five seconds behind Hamilton.
Ahead of him were his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren and the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson in seventh.
Four drivers didn’t venture out at all in second practice – Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.
With more rain forecast for Saturday, teams preferred to save their wet and intermediate tyres for qualifying day.
|2||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m49.728s||1.012s||10|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.798s||1.082s||5|
|6||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m52.505s||3.789s||19|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m54.963s||6.247s||6|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m55.348s||6.632s||6|
US Grand Prix F1 practice: Lewis Hamilton fastest in wet FP1
Lewis Hamilton began his bid to secure a fifth Formula 1 title in perfect fashion by dominating a wet opening practice session for the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton outpaced Valtteri Bottas by 1.3s to comfortably lead a Mercedes one-two at a rainy Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo proved Mercedes’ nearest challengers as the Ferraris appeared to concentrate on longer runs and Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel wound up fifth and almost two seconds off the pace.
Most of the field completed installation laps in the first 10 minutes when the track was at its wettest after heavy morning rain, with Nico Hulkenberg the first to switch to intermediate tyres 17 minutes into the session.
It took a little longer for somebody to set a laptime but the Red Bulls ended the wait with Ricciardo leading Verstappen on a 1m50.642s.
Ricciardo lowered that to a 1m49.386s shortly after, before Bottas moved into top spot at the half-hour mark by setting a 1m48.806s in his Mercedes.
Several drivers got on the leaderboard before the midway point of the 90-minute session, but there was a break in track action at this point due to a red flag to clear gravel at Turn 9.
Charles Leclerc had spun his Sauber at the end of the fast esses sequence at the start of the lap, and had to drive through the gravel to rejoin.
He deposited a lot of stones onto the track just as it crests and falls away through the Turn 10 kink down to the tight left-hander.
That prompted a 10-minute stoppage while marshals cleaned the track.
Hamilton blitzed Bottas’s benchmark with just over a third of the session remaining, and his immediate challengers failed to improve before the end.
Vettel never troubled the top of the times as he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen conducted longer runs than their rivals, ending with 17 and 19 laps respectively – neither Mercedes or Red Bull got into double figures.
However, Vettel was able to get ahead of Raikkonen into fifth and eventually outpaced the Finn by half a second.
Carlos Sainz Jr emerged as best of the rest for Renault in seventh, while Haas driver Romain Grosjean finished eighth ahead of the Saubers of Leclerc, who made a late improvement, and Marcus Ericsson.
Two drivers were driving in FP1 in place of regulars, with Lando Norris driving Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren and Sean Gelael substituting at Toro Rosso in place of Brendon Hartley.
Norris finished the session 12th, one place and two tenths behind team-mate Fernando Alonso, while Gelael was slowest of the 20 runners and 1.4s off the pace of Pierre Gasly in the sister car.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.847s||1.345s||9|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.326s||1.824s||9|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m51.234s||3.732s||19|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.459s||3.957s||18|
|17||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.655s||4.153s||17|
|20||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m52.625s||5.123s||21|
“Mi piace Austin, è un bel posto. Nelle varie edizioni le condizioni meteo sono state diverse; lo scorso anno era bel tempo, mentre in precedenza aveva piovuto. Di certo il meteo avrà un ruolo importante nel corso del weekend ed oggi sembra di essere in pieno inverno. In generale non eravamo fortissimi sul bagnato, ma ultimamente siamo andati meglio; in Ungheria ad esempio eravamo piuttosto contenti. Ovviamente tutto dipende da molti fattori, dall’asfalto, dalle condizioni e dal fatto di risucire a far lavorare bene le gomme o meno. Senza dubbio vogliamo fare bene le ultime gare della stagione. Ci teniamo moltissimo. Ultimamente la nostra prestazione non è stata quella che volevamo e non è stato facile per noi. Ma sono sicuro che possiamo tornare come prima e fare qualcosa di buono. La velocità dovrebbe esserci; cercheremo di mettere tutto al posto giusto e fare una bella qualifica”.
Max Verstappen US GP penalty: Raikkonen had no idea what happened
Kimi Raikkonen says he had "no idea" why Max Verstappen was penalised for his overtaking move on the final lap of Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty after the race for having gone off track to overtake Raikkonen for third at Turn 17.
The penalty meant the Ferrari driver was promoted to a podium finish, while Verstappen dropped down to fourth, having started from 16th.
Raikkonen admitted he did not know how Verstappen had passed him.
"I have no idea what happened with Verstappen or why he got the penalty," said Raikkonen.
"I had no idea what happened to him apart from he got past me at the second last corner.
"Obviously I was disappointed just after the race when I thought I had finished fourth but there was some issue with Max.
"I got to go on the podium but didn’t see it, I don’t know where he went."
Raikkonen, who admitted Verstappen’s move surprised him, said he was angry he had let the Dutchman through.
"I was half surprised," said the Finn. "I saw him in my mirror and tried to slow down the whole thing before, the previous corners and I thought I had enough covering on the corner, and then suddenly he was there.
"I saw in my mirror and I was a bit surprised, at that speed – I was a bit pissed off he got past me but I didn’t have chance to slow down."
Lewis Hamilton wins United States Grand Prix ahead of Vettel
Lewis Hamilton moved closer to his fourth Formula 1 world championship with a commanding victory in the United States Grand Prix at Austin.
The Mercedes driver lost the lead to F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel at the start, but got back past the Ferrari driver early on to clinch his ninth win of the season and fifth in six attempts at the Circuit of Americas.
Vettel finished second, 10.1 seconds adrift, and now trails Hamilton by 66 points with only 75 remaining, with Max Verstappen snatching third from Kimi Raikkonen with a sensational pass on the final lap of the race.
However, Verstappen was given a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when completing that pass, which demoted him to fourth with Raikkonen promoted back to third.
Valtteri Bottas finished fifth as his Mercedes team clinched its fourth successive constructors’ championship with three grands prix still remaining.
Vettel made a great start from second on the grid to dive up the inside of Hamilton into Turn 1, despite the Briton’s efforts to defend the line.
Hamilton reported that his tyres felt good and after a couple of laps had got back within DRS range before launching an attack down the back straight.
The Mercedes nipped down the inside to take the position and though Vettel attacked through the twisty section that followed, Hamilton held him off.
Vettel pitted at the end of lap 16, swapping the ultra-softs for softs, but Hamilton chose to stay out three laps longer before pitting for fresh rubber.
Vettel set a series of fast laps, but ran wide at the penultimate corner as Hamilton pitted, with the Mercedes emerging from the pits just ahead into Turn 1 to stay ahead.
Max Verstappen ran a long first stint, having started 16th, and rose through the field to take the lead as others made their stops.
Hamilton quickly caught the Red Bull driver and used DRS to make the pass on cut back at Turn 14 to retake a lead he would not relinquish.
Verstappen pitted at the end of lap 24, taking the soft tyre and rejoining fifth. Red Bull then went aggressive by pitting him for a second time 13 laps later.
The Dutchman took the super-softs and stayed fifth, such was the gap to Esteban Ocon behind, with Vettel responding and taking the same compound, rejoining fourth having run second.
That promoted Bottas to second with Raikkonen third, but the Mercedes driver was struggling for pace and after a series of attacks, Raikkonen finally made one stick at the end of the back straight to snatch second.
Vettel used fresh tyres to close back up to Bottas, passing the Mercedes driver around the outside of Turn 1 to take third with five laps to go.
Raikkonen was informed by his team that Vettel was now the car behind and promptly moved over at Turn 1 to allow his team-mate to take second.
He then lost third in the final sequence of corners when Verstappen dived down the inside of the long right-hander on the final lap only to be given the position back following the Red Bull driver’s penalty.
It was a bad day for Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who retired early on, having had a great battle with Bottas for third, with a suspected engine problem.
Ocon absorbed pressure from Carlos Sainz Jr to hold on to sixth, with the latter scoring points on his first start for Renault in seventh.
Sergio Perez, who was frustrated with his Force India team when he felt he was being held up by Ocon midway through the race, ended up eighth with Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat completing the top 10.
Brendon Hartley finished 13th on his grand prix debut with Toro Rosso, 26 seconds behind Toro Rosso team-mate Kvyat.
Nico Hulkenberg retired after suffering a loss of oil pressure, while Fernando Alonso’s race was ended with an engine problem.
Pascal Wehrlein also failed to finish after contact with Kevin Magnussen at the start while his Sauber team-mate finished 15th, having incurred a five-second penalty for causing a separate collision with Magnussen.
US Grand Prix result
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||56||16.768s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||56||1m30.980s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|9||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||55||1 Lap|
|11||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|13||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||55||1 Lap|
|14||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||14||Engine|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||3||Oil pressure|
Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to United States GP F1 pole
Lewis Hamilton claimed his 72nd Formula 1 pole position with a dominant performance in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was fastest in all three segments of qualifying, ending up 0.239s clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
This was despite a poor final sector on his Hamilton’s second Q3 run preventing him from improving, meaning the 1m33.108s he set on his first attempt was good enough for pole.
Vettel was only fourth on the first runs in Q3, but he hooked up a strong second lap to jump ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who also lost time in the final sector and did not improve on his first run time.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest thanks to setting his laptime before Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the duo setting identical marks of 1m33.577s.
Max Verstappen, who has a 15-place grid penalty, was sixth fastest and is the only driver from the top 10 in qualifying who will start on super-softs rather than ultra-softs having used the slower Pirelli compound to set his Q2 time.
Esteban Ocon was seventh fastest, a second off Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz Jr completed only one run in Q3 thanks to only having one set of fresh ultra-softs, ending up eighth.
Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez – who only had used tyres for his first Q3 run – rounded out the top 10.
Felipe Massa was eliminated in Q2 after a late improvement from Perez, missing out by less than half-a-tenth and ending up 11th.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was 12th ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, who has a five-place grid penalty thanks to the upgraded Honda V6 engine that was introduced at the start of the weekend, and Romain Grosjean.
Nico Hulkenberg ended qualifying 15th having opted not to run in Q2 for what the team described as "strategic" reasons because of his 20-place grid penalty for engine component changes.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was the quickest of the drivers to be eliminated in Q1, missing out thanks to being just seven-thousandths slower than Grosjean.
That put him ahead of Lance Stroll, who complained over the radio of a deployment problem on his final run that he subsequently said cost him eight-tenths on the back straight.
The Williams driver is also being investigated by stewards for impeding Grosjean, having jinked to his right and off the track while the Haas driver was attempting to go around the outside of him near the end of the lap.
Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley, who has a 25-place grid penalty, was 18th fastest having briefly lifted himself out of the dropzone early in the final-run flurry before being shuffled back.
The New Zealander was ultimately only 0.054s off a place in Q2, having lapped eighth-tenths slower than team-mate Kvyat’s Q1 time.
Pascal Wehrlein was 19th for Sauber, with Kevin Magnussen slowest for Haas.
Magnussen is also being investigated by stewards for impeding Perez through Turns 13/14.
US GP starting grid
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.577s||0.469s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.647s||1.539s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.148s||2.040s|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.529s||2.421s|
|16||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.658s||0.550s|
|19||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.889s||3.781s|
US Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel by a tenth in final practice
Lewis Hamilton edged out Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to set the pace in final practice for the United States Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver clocked a 1m34.478s, which is a new track record, to beat Vettel by just 0.092 seconds with Valtteri Bottas two tenths off the pace in third.
Hamilton set the early pace, clocking a 1m35.125s on his second lap on the ultra-soft tyres, with Bottas 0.420s adrift in second.
Vettel, whose Ferrari team changed his chassis overnight, then slotted into second, 0.002s quicker than Bottas with Kimi Raikkonen 0.02s further back in fourth.
Daniel Ricciardo was another half a second further back in fifth, while team-mate Verstappen – who will have a 15-place grid penalty for engine component changes – ran wide at Turn 7 on his first lap on the ultra-soft tyres.
The Red Bull driver reported a "massive loss" of rear grip, which Red Bull suggested could be down to gusting wind at that corner.
Attention then turned to qualifying simulations with the field bolting on fresh sets of the ultra-soft tyres in the final third of the one-hour session.
Verstappen improved to second fastest, less than a tenth behind Hamilton, but then the times started to tumble as Vettel pumped in a 1m34.570s.
The Ferrari driver’s time at the top was short-lived, though, as Hamilton snuck back ahead.
Hamilton attempted a second flying lap on that set of tyres and though a 1m35.547s was fractionally slower, it did mean he clocked the two quickest laps of the session.
Bottas ended up third quickest, two tenths off the pace, with Raikkonen a fraction further back in fourth and Verstappen shuffled down to fifth despite a late improvement that reduced the deficit to 0.625s.
There were a flurry of low-fuel runs just minutes before the end of the session, with Felipe Massa popping into sixth, 0.868s off the pace in the Williams.
Nico Hulkenberg slotted into seventh, 1.130s off the pace and just 0.042s clear of Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ricciardo left his second run on the ultra-softs until the final moments of the session, but though he set a personal best in the first sector, he backed out of it after running wide at Turn 9 and ended up ninth.
Force India’s Sergio Perez completed the top 10, just over a tenth ahead of Esteban Ocon who was told by his team to abort his final run because of traffic.
McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne completed their low-fuel runs earlier than rivals, initially sitting in the top 10 before dropping down to 13th and 14th respectively.
Brendon Hartley, who is competing in his first grand prix weekend, ended up 15th quickest, 2.340s off the pace in the Toro Rosso.
His team-mate Daniil Kvyat, returning to the Italian team’s set-up after making way for Pierre Gasly in the last two races, managed just six laps after reporting something strange with the car and subsequently being recalled to the garage.
There was frustration for Romain Grosjean, who lost the rear of his Haas at Turn 7 midway through the session and ended up beached in the gravel.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.625s||14|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.245s||17|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.324s||16|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1.487s||17|
|15||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.340s||26|
|20||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||4.022s||6|
“In the morning the weather was a bit tricky to start with, but all in all it was an ok day,” said Kimi. “Just a normal Friday, in which we tried different things and learned as much as possible. Every circuit can be tricky when you’re trying to go fast, and for sure there can always be an improvement; but it was only the first day of practice. We don’t know what the other teams were doing and obviously it’s too early to make any predictions. All we know is that tonight we have some work to do for tomorrow”.
Lewis Hamilton fastest again in second practice for F1’s US GP
Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of Formula 1 Friday practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix by setting the pace in the second session.
The Mercedes F1 driver, who also topped the morning session, outpaced Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.397s to secure top spot with a best lap of 1m34.668s.
Hamilton was only third fastest after the early runs. During that phase, Daniel Ricciardo used super-softs to set the pace ahead of Verstappen, who like Hamilton used softs early on.
Hamilton had a brief off-track moment at the penultimate corner during that run, but made no mistake when he returned to the track on ultra-softs as he went quickest after 35 minutes.
By that stage, Valtteri Bottas had already knocked Ricciardo off top spot, but Mercedes driver Bottas ultimately had to settle for fourth fastest, just under a tenth slower than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel survived a spin into the gravel shortly before the 20-minute mark, when the rear snapped away on turn-in to the penultimate corner.
Vettel was able to dig himself out and recover to the pits, before returning for his performance run shortly before the halfway mark of the 90-minute session.
He later complained of a potential problem with the front axle, which he described as feeling "a bit like jelly", contributing to him completing only 11 laps.
Red Bull’s Ricciardo improved his first-run time by almost seven-tenths after switching to the ultra-softs, but it was only good enough for fifth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda was best-of-the rest in seventh, having briefly been as high as fourth thanks to putting in his quick lap in earlier than most.
Williams driver Felipe Massa was eighth, with Force India pairing Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10 – with the trio separated by just three-hundredths of a second.
Renault debutant Carlos Sainz Jr was the penultimate driver to complete his performance run on ultra-softs, taking 11th shortly before the one-hour mark.
The last driver to do so was team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who suffered an engine glitch that kept him in the garage after his first run and only posted his time just inside the final 20 minutes.
Daniil Kvyat, who sat out the first session to allow Sean Gelael some mileage despite this being the Russian’s first time in the Toro Rosso since September’s Singapore Grand Prix, was 13th fastest.
Kevin Magnussen, who had a high-speed spin early in the session, was the best of the Haas-Ferraris in 14th.
Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll were 15th and 16th, ahead of F1 debutant Brendon Hartley, who improved several times on his ultra-softs to end his first day in grand prix racing 17th fastest.
Pascal Wehrlein missed the first session, with Charles Leclerc taking his Sauber seat, but recovered well to post the 18th-fastest time, ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.065s||0.397s||30|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.463s||0.795s||24|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.481s||1.813s||28|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.490s||1.822s||34|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.761s||2.093s||40|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m37.987s||3.319s||41|
Lewis Hamilton fastest in first practice for Formula 1’s US GP
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 world championship rival Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time in first practice for the United States Grand Prix, in mixed conditions.
Mercedes F1 driver Hamilton clocked a 1m36.335s on the super-soft Pirelli compound tyres, 0.593 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Vettel with Valtteri Bottas half a tenth further back in third.
Early morning rain subsided before the start of the session, but the majority of the field headed out on the intermediate tyres for installation laps.
Hamilton set the early pace on the green-walled rubber, with a 1m50.146s, but that was usurped by Max Verstappen when the Red Bull driver fitted a fresh set of the same rubber.
Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was caught out when he ran wide out of the final part of the high-speed esses and lost the car on the kerbs, before catching it and continuing.
Felipe Massa then went quickest on the intermediates, before Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to try dry tyres, running a set of super-softs and going quickest with a 1m45.960s lap.
After a lull in the running, Ricciardo broke the silence and posted a flurry of quick laps to break the 1m40-barrier, his best being a 1m39.366s on the super-softs.
Verstappen demoted him briefly, before Hamilton sets his first time on dry weather tyres with a 1m36.935s to move to the top of the pile.
Hamilton improved again with a 1m36.335s to cement his place at the top of the timesheet, with his time unchallenged for the remainder of the 90-minute session.
Verstappen, whose Red Bull team announced he would stay with the team until the end of 2020 ahead of the session, was fourth quickest, one second off the pace.
Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren-Honda, running an upgraded engine, was fifth quickest on the ultra-softs, but his team-mate Fernando Alonso failed to set a timed lap and spent most of the session in the garage after the team discovered a hydraulic leak.
Massa ended up sixth in the leading Williams, with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari seventh and Force India’s Esteban Ocon eighth.
Sergio Perez’s Force India and Carlos Sainz Jr, competing in his first session for Renault, rounded out the top 10.
Sainz was three quarters of a second clear of new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who will take grid penalties this weekend after Renault fitted an upgraded engine featuring 2018 development parts.
Brendon Hartley, who is set to start his debut grand prix from the back of the grid because of similar engine component changes, set the 14th fastest time, 2.932s off the pace.
The New Zealander was just under 1.2s quicker than Seal Gelael, who was running in the other Toro Rosso for this session in place of Daniil Kvyat.
Charles Leclerc replaced Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber for first practice, clocking the 19th quickest time, just under fourth tenths adrift of team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.339s||1.004s||21|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.808s||1.473s||25|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.861s||1.526s||20|
|14||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.267s||2.932s||28|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.366s||3.031s||14|
|17||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.406s||4.071s||25|
Lewis Hamilton takes 50th F1 win in US Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton secured the 50th victory of his Formula 1 career, leading home championship rival Nico Rosberg in the United States Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion, who has won four times at Austin to add to his 2007 US GP success at Indianapolis, finished 4.5s ahead of Mercedes team-mate Rosberg, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo third.
Rosberg’s championship lead has been cut to 26 points over Hamilton, but it could have been more as Ricciardo and team-mate Max Verstappen had a shot at upsetting the Mercedes one-two.
Hamilton and Rosberg made clean starts, although Ricciardo took advantage of the wide first corner to get alongside Rosberg, ultimately completing the pass around the outside through Turn 2.
Verstappen, who passed Kimi Raikkonen on lap 12 to claim fourth, then began to push Rosberg who found himself sandwiched between the Red Bull duo.
But Verstappen’s race unravelled from lap 26 when he mistakenly thought he had been called into the pits, with his crew not ready when he arrived.
Three laps later Verstappen suffered a gearbox failure, and he tried to get his car back to the pits rather than stopping trackside.
When he eventually parked up, the virtual safety car was deployed, which gave Mercedes pair Hamilton and Rosberg what Ricciardo described as "a free stop".
Having stopped for a second time on lap 25, before the VSC, Ricciardo therefore found himself third, losing what Red Bull estimated to be 10 seconds to Rosberg thanks to the VSC.
From that point on the top three positions were sealed, with Ricciardo safe in third as Raikkonen was on a three-stop strategy and had another stop to make.
Raikkonen’s third stop led to the end of his race though, as he pulled away too quickly, with the right-rear tyre gun yanked off in the process.
As Raikkonen began to climb up the hill out of the pitlane he was forced to pull over after being told to stop, from where he rolled his car back down the slope and out of harm’s way.
Raikkonen was the fourth retirement of the race, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg first out after a Turn 1 collision with Valtteri Bottas in his Williams, sustaining trackrod damage with his car unable to turn left.
Bottas suffered a right-rear puncture that dropped him to the back of the field, and after an early pitstop he could only manage 16th at the end.
Along with Verstappen, Esteban Gutierrez was the other retiree after 18 laps with what appeared to be a brake problem that led to him going off at Turn 11.
Behind the leading trio, Vettel salvaged fourth for Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso fifth for McLaren after passing Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr on the penultimate lap of the 56.
Alonso, though, is under investigation for an incident with Williams’s Felipe Massa on lap 54 that led to a front-left puncture for the Brazilian, who managed to hang on to seventh ahead of Sergio Perez.
The Mexican suffered a lap one spin after being hit in the rear by Daniil Kvyat, which led to a 10-second time penalty for the Russian who finished 12th.
Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean were ninth and 10th, the latter claiming a point for Haas at the team’s maiden home race.
US GRAND PRIX RESULT
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||19.692s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||56||1m36.124s|
|7||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|9||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||55||1 Lap|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|15||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Manor/Mercedes||54||2 Laps|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||28||Gearbox|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1||Collision|
Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to US GP F1 pole position
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the United States Grand Prix, as Mercedes stretched out an advantage over the opposition in qualifying.
Red Bull looked fast in free practice, but it couldn’t live with Mercedes in qualifying, where Hamilton pumped in a stunning 1m34.999s lap to bag pole.
The reigning world champion did his damage through the first sector, where he was almost three tenths faster than Rosberg, who ran wide at Turn 1 on both of his Q3 laps.
Rosberg, who briefly held top spot due to finishing his lap before his team-mate, was still fast enough to set the second quickest time, almost three tenths clear of Daniel Ricciardo in the best of the Red Bulls.
Max Verstappen was fourth, ahead of Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
The Mercedes drivers and Verstappen will start the race on soft tyres after all making it through Q2 on that compound.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh fastest for Force India, well clear of the remaining top 10 runners.
Hulkenberg was in superb form, lapping inside the top six in the first two segments of the session.
He was also the only non-Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari driver to break into the 1m36s.
Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa headed an impressive performance from the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr in rounding out the top 10.
Hulkenberg’s Force India team-mate Sergio Perez missed out on making Q3 by just over a tenth of a second.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda was six hundredths of a second further back in 12th, ahead of the second Toro Rosso of newly re-signed Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas, and Jolyon Palmer’s Renault.
Marcus Ericsson completed a cursory run on old tyres in Q2 so wound up 16th fastest, after lapping quicker than both Gutierrez and Palmer in Q1.
Palmer complained about his final Q1 run being a "fucking disaster" as he held up Jenson Button’s McLaren on his out-lap, but the Renault still made it through to Q2.
Button was furious to drop out in Q1, after encountering the Renault entering the final corner of his best lap.
The 2009 world champion ended up a lowly 19th in his McLaren-Honda, fractionally behind Romain Grosjean’s Haas and Kevin Magnussen’s Renault, which both also missed the cut.
Pascal Wehrlein recovered from binning his Manor in the gravel in final practice to qualify 20th fastest, ahead of Felipe Nasr – who complained about his Sauber’s brakes – and Manor team-mate Esteban Ocon.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.509s||0.510s|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.747s||0.748s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.628s||1.629s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.326s||2.327s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.353s||2.354s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.480s||2.481s|
US GP FP3: Max Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two
Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two in the final Formula 1 practice session ahead of the United States Grand Prix as neither Mercedes driver completed a qualifying simulation lap.
With Red Bull on a pace comparable to Mercedes at Austin so far this weekend, Verstappen topped the timesheet with a lap of 1m36.766s to finish 0.266s clear of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, both on super-soft tyres.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third, just over half a second down on Verstappen on his super-soft outing, leaving Hamilton and Rosberg down in fourth and fifth.
Hamilton, whose team broke curfew overnight to change the fuel system on his car, set the quickest time on soft tyres with a lap of 1m37.483s prior to the late qualifying runs that remained his best outing.
Come his super-soft run Hamilton was sent out late, and only just crossed the line to start his flying lap as the chequered flag came out.
Hamilton, however, was held up by Felipe Nasr’s Sauber halfway through the lap and backed off, leaving him to tell his team on the radio it was "poor timing guys".
Rosberg, who was three tenths off of Hamilton on his best soft-tyre lap, opted to abort his super-soft run late on.
Rosberg had set a personal best in the first sector, which has proven to be Red Bull’s strong suit so far, but he was still 0.154s down on Verstappen at that point.
Rosberg then went quickest in the middle sector to close the gap to Verstappen’s best, but ultimately the championship leader failed to complete the lap, pulling into the pits instead after running slightly wide at the penultimate corner.
Sebastian Vettel was sixth quickest in his Ferrari, but he reported a potential gearbox problem and remained in the garage for the closing stages, finishing 1.128s down.
Vettel was followed by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas in his Williams and the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to complete the top 10.
Carlos Sainz Jr suffered two punctures during the session, initially to the right rear on only his second lap, and then half an hour later one to the left rear, leaving him down in 15th and unable to conduct his own qualifying simulation as the team checked over the car.
The hour-long session was red-flagged for 10 minutes early on after Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein lost his car under braking at Turn 19, beaching it in the gravel.
With only four laps to his name, Wehrlein finished bottom of the timesheet just over five seconds off the pace.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.766s||–||16|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.032s||0.266s||19|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.948s||1.182s||17|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.512s||1.746s||16|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m38.691s||1.925s||16|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m38.710s||1.944s||6|
Kimi Raikkonen now trusts Ferrari F1 team – Maurizio Arrivabene
Kimi Raikkonen now feels he has the trust and commitment of his mechanics and that has inspired his improved form, according to Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
Raikkonen was comfortably outperformed by team-mate Sebastian Vettel last season and Fernando Alonso the year before.
But after re-signing in July for next year, his results have improved and he now sits five points and two places ahead of Vettel in the 2016 drivers’ standings with four races to go.
Arrivabene has consistently praised Raikkonen’s performances this year, at one stage saying he is "not a world champion for nothing", but at Austin elaborated on why he thinks the Finn has got better.
"Everyone gets surprised when they are talking about Kimi’s performance but there is nothing to be surprised about," said Arrivabene.
"He’s been a world champion, with us actually, and he is quite fast.
"He was most probably suffering a bit the last few years.
"Now he can feel that the part of the team that is working with Kimi is committed to him.
"He has a very good relationship with Sebastian and that helps.
"It’s just a question for him to feel the trust of people around him and then he’s going to do his best.
"When he has to push with his feet, he’s pushing very hard."
ARRIVABENE RUBBISHES CLIMATE OF FEAR CLAIMS
Former Ferrari chief engineer Luca Baldisserri told the Italian media last week that the Scuderia is suffering from a "climate of fear" that is leaving staff afraid to take risks.
When asked for comment, Arrivabene rubbished the claims.
"The atmosphere inside the house is different to what people think about or what you are reading in the newspapers," he insisted.
"It’s an old story. Ferrari in Italy is like the Italian national football team.
"Having pressure is normal, having tension is normal, having criticism is normal so you have to live with that.
"Sometimes it’s going too far.
"Our job is to be concentrated in what we are doing, it is to follow our way.
"This is part of the job.
"If you working in Maranello, if you work for a brand like Ferrari, you have to accept all of this, like it or not."
Kimi: still work to do but no major issues
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a tricky day: in the first session, we struggled to find the right set up, and in the second practice I went off with new tires and couldn’t set a lap time. Apart from that it was a normal Friday, it looks worse than it is. We did a normal set up work and sometimes it goes like this. We did not have any major issue, we just tried to make a sense out of it and get the car exactly where we wanted. Now we have some work to do on the set up and make it correct for tomorrow. The Mercedes look very strong as they have been all year, but we’ll do our best.”
Kimi: “We keep improving to get the results we deserve”
I like the race in Austin: it’s a nice town and people are very polite. I think it’s good for F1 and for Ferrari that we come to the US, and hopefully we can have a good weekend. But it’s hard to say who is going to be the fastest here and what we are going to get on Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll start as any other race weekend, doing our things and we’ll see where we are. The circuit is interesting, quite a new one and the design is nice. Usually there’s quite a good racing here, which is good for us as drivers and also for the spectators. Last year it was a pity for the weather conditions, this year it looks ok so let’s see what happens. We keep working all the time and obviously in some races we have been strong and in others not as strong as we hoped. We are doing things right and we are improving, but we still have a lot of work to do, it’s a never-ending work in progress. Last race was good but did not give us the result we should have got, so we are there to try again.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen accepts blame for F1 US Grand Prix shunt
Kimi Raikkonen accepted the blame for the crash that ultimately forced him to retire from the United States Grand Prix with overheating brakes on his Ferrari Formula 1 car.
The Finn slid off the road shortly after switching to slick tyres on the drying track at Austin, hitting the barrier and getting tangled up with an advertising hoarding.
He returned to the race after pitting for a new front wing and to replace damaged tyres, but his team then ordered him to retire when it became clear a damaged brake duct was creating a terminal problem.
"It was my mistake unfortunately," said Raikkonen after the race.
"It was quite slippery there, and I didn’t see probably there was a little patch of water and I got loose on the rear.
"I didn’t have enough run-off area, so I thought I would be OK if I hit the wall sideways.
"But then I got stuck to that advertising board, so I had to try to work with the steering wheel to get the board off the front wheel and then I managed to pull out.
"The brake duct got damaged, so the front brake overheated when I went out and we had to stop before we ran out of brakes."
Raikkonen said his retirement was particularly disappointing given how strong the Ferrari was in dry conditions, as proved by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel finishing on the podium.
"We had a good car in these conditions and even with small damage the car felt good in the dry," he said.
"It’s not ideal in the end but I think we can be happy with the car as a team, so hopefully at the next race, no mistakes and we can get a result."
Raikkonen wants driving standards clarity after Verstappen battle
Kimi Raikkonen hopes Formula 1 officials remain consistent with their rulings on driving standards following his lively United States Grand Prix battle with Max Verstappen.
The 2007 world champion and the teenager fought each other aggressively at Austin, with Raikkonen becoming animated on the radio as Verstappen gave him little space on track.
However, post-race Raikkonen said he had no problem with Verstappen’s tactics, as long as other drivers are allowed to race in the same way in future.
"I just wanted to ask if it’s OK when you are next to another car, at some point on the exit of the corner are you allowed to always push the other car up on the kerbs," said Raikkonen.
"Apparently it’s fine. As long as everybody has the same rules that’s OK.
"There are so many rules in F1 these days: you should not move under braking, you should leave a car’s space when the other guy is next to you.
"When they defend the inside, you go to the outside. It’s not leaving anybody space if you push the other guy wide.
"It’s fine – I don’t complain he [Verstappen] is doing anything wrong, as long as it’s fine the next time someone else does it in the same way.
"You can do a lot of things, and then the next time, whoever it is, some other guy gets penalised. That’s not right.
"I don’t complain about what he did this time – but it should be more clear for everybody so we know what we can do."
Raikkonen said he and Verstappen made contact in their battle, but it was nothing to be concerned about.
"I think we touched once, just slightly," he said. "It’s tight, it’s racing in the end and I don’t mind.
"It was a very close one and we touched a little bit but it doesn’t matter."
Lewis Hamilton wins his third F1 world title in US Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton won his third Formula 1 world championship after claiming victory in a wild United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who finished 2.8s clear of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg come the conclusion to an astonishing 56 laps, also becomes the first Briton to win back-to-back titles.
From second on the grid and on the run up the hill into Turn 1, Hamilton had the inside line, and not for the first time this year he forced Rosberg wide and off track after they had bumped wheels, relegating the German to fifth.
When Sauber’s Felipe Nasr lost most of his front wing at Turn 1 on lap two after clipping the rear-left tyre of team-mate Marcus Ericsson – on the occasion of the team’s 400th grand prix – debris at that corner led to the virtual safety car being called.
On the restart, Hamilton backed up those behind him to such a degree that once the racing resumed Rosberg soon passed Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat.
Over the next few laps, on wearing intermediate tyres and on a circuit not quite ready for a switch to slicks, a titanic battle ensued between the leading quartet.
Ricciardo took the lead on lap 15 from Hamilton, with Rosberg through for second shortly after.
That forced Hamilton into the pits at the end of lap 18, taking on the softs, with the Briton setting the tone as the rest of the field followed him in either on that lap or the following one.
From fourth and second respectively, Hamilton and Rosberg made their way up to third and first with moves on Kvyat and Ricciardo, with the latter duo not as strong on slick rubber.
When Ericsson pulled his car out of the race at Turn 11 on lap 28, its positioning on the track brought the safety car out.
At that stage it wiped out a 10.6s lead for Rosberg over Hamilton, who had passed Ricciardo for second just before Ericsson’s exit.
All bar the leading four – Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Kvyat – pitted for another change of tyres, with fifth-placed Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari taking on a new set of mediums in an attempt to get to the end without another stop.
Once the safety car departed after five laps, the German soon cleared Kvyat and Ricciardo to move up to third before another incident on lap 37.
This time it was Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg retiring after running into the side of Ricciardo in a bid to claim fifth, leading to a second virtual safety car, under which Rosberg pitted, dropping to fourth, with Hamilton staying out.
Come lap 42, with Rosberg within six seconds of Hamilton, the safety car was deployed again when Kvyat lost his car on the approach to the final turn, sending him into a barrier.
That allowed Hamilton to make his second stop and come out behind Rosberg, whose hopes of extending the title race into Mexico next Sunday ended when he got out of shape at Turn 15 on the power and ran off track at Turn 16-17.
From there it was a smooth run to the finish for Hamilton, with Rosberg just holding off Vettel for second, followed by Toro Rosso’s Max Vertsappen in fourth after a long final stint on his tyres.
Just 12 drivers saw the flag, with eight retiring through mechanical failure or after on-track incidents.
US GRAND PRIX RESULT
|4||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||56||22.359s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||56||24.413s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||56||25.619s|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||53.371s|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||41||Spun off|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||35||Collision|