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|
Nico Rosberg takes pole in shortened US GP F1 qualifying
Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the United States Grand Prix, after worsening rain caused the cancellation of the final segment of a postponed Formula 1 qualifying session.
Qualifying for the Austin race was delayed until Sunday morning after heavy rain washed out Saturday afternoon’s planned track action, but worsening conditions through Sunday morning meant the session had to be suspended after Q2.
Rosberg set the fastest time in that segment, a tenth clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who Rosberg must beat in the race if he is to prevent Hamilton clinching a third world championship at this event.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull was fastest of all in Q1, but he ended up third on the grid, over a second slower than the two Mercedes.
His team-mate Daniil Kvyat was fourth fastest, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who will receive a 10-place grid penalty for taking a fresh engine this weekend.
Sergio Perez beat Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg to the sixth fastest time by just over a tenth, while Kimi Raikkonen (who will also take a grid penalty), Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen rounded out the top 10.
Fernando Alonso’s predictions of a possible top-10 position in qualifying almost came true, as the McLaren driver missed out by less than a tenth of a second to Verstappen in Q2.
Several drivers, including reigning world champion Hamilton and 2007 title winner Raikkonen, survived lurid moments at Turn 10 as rain worsened in this segment of qualifying, and Alonso’s team-mate Jenson Button suggested over team radio that conditions were bordering on unsafe.
Splashing to 11th place on the grid for Alonso represented McLaren’s best qualifying result of the season so far, while the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas was 0.069s slower than Alonso in 12th, Bottas complaining of broken suspension on his FW37.
The second McLaren of Button split the two Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado in completing the top 15.
Carlos Sainz Jr joined the Saubers and Manor-Marussias in failing to escape Q1, after crashing heavily in the early stages of that session.
Sainz lost the rear of his Toro Rosso over the kerb at Turn 3, before crashing hard into the barriers on the outside of Turn 4 and causing the session to be stopped while marshals recovered his broken STR10.
The Spaniard will need permission to start the race from the back of the grid after failing to set a time fast enough to make the 107 per cent cut-off.
After the session resumed, Vettel’s Ferrari glanced the barriers following a spin at Turn 10, and the four-time world champion tumbled down the timesheet as others gradually improved their times.
The Saubers tried in vain to dislodge Vettel’s Ferrari from 15th spot as Q1 came to a close.
Marcus Ericsson was over a second adrift in the end, while team-mate Nasr was a further 0.9s shy, complaining of "zero rear grip" from his C34.
UNITED STATES GP GRID
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m57.969s||1.145s|
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m58.434s||1.610s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m59.210s||2.386s|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m59.333s||2.509s|
|8||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||2m00.199s||3.375s|
|20||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||2m07.304s||10.480s|
*10-place grid penalties for Vettel and Raikkonen