Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead by a further seven points after edging his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to the win at the 2014 United States Grand Prix. The win in Austin, Texas also makes Lewis the most successful British driver of all time with 32 career Formula One victories.
Rosberg started the race from pole position after out shining Hamilton in qualifying by four tenths of a second. This handed the German his ninth pole of the year and a clean run down to turn one. And once the five red lights were out, Rosberg was storming away unchallenged from his grid slot.
Some drivers were not as fortunate as Rosberg, with Bottas loosing third place to Massa. Ricciardo also lost a handful of places off the line after suffering a terrible start but soon recovered and began dragging his way back towards the front.
Unfortunately, the racing at the 2014 United States Grand Prix came to a temporary stop two-thirds of the way through the opening lap. This came as a result of Sergio Perez colliding with Adrian Sutil, leaving both out of the race and the safety car venturing out onto the track.
Perez had gone deep into turn 15 as he attempted an overtake on Sutil. However slight contact with the rear of Raikkonen left the Mexican with no were to go and collided with Sutil. The two sprayed debris across the track as the Sauber came to an immediate halt. On the other hand, Perez crawled back to the pits but the damage he had suffered was too severe to continue.
Once the debris was cleared and the safety car pulled into the pits, Rosberg resumed where he left off and floored the throttle. Meanwhile, Ricciardo was using the tightened up pack to his advantage as he attacked Alonso for P5 up at turn one.
Hamilton had stayed within touching distance of his team-mate from the restart but the gap back to the Williams pair began to appear clearer and clearer with every lap.
After a few laps, it was penalty time as far as the race stewards were concerned with three drivers all facing penalties. Maldonado, Gutierrez and Vergne all were deemed to have exceeded the speed limit behind the safety car, leaving them all with five-second stop/go penalties.
Meanwhile, after starting from the pit lane and pitting twice behind the safety car, Sebastian Vettel was complaining to the team that he had little grip remaining on his tyres. This was the first indicator that pit stops were coming, and on lap 15 the front runners began to hit the pits.
Ricciardo was one of the front runners hitting the pits first, which proved handy for the Australian who used the undercut to his advantage in order to move into P4 ahead of Bottas. At the same time, Hamilton was surrounding his car with Mercedes mechanics as he pitted for the medium tyres.
As Lewis concluded his out lap, he sat over two seconds behind Rosberg after Nico etched out a comfortable lead. However, this would not last long as within just four laps, Hamilton was back within DRS range. Then just two laps later, he was challenging for the lead.
Straight after his pit-stop Hamilton was surging around the Circuit of The Americas faster than Rosberg and obliterated the lead Nico had built up. Then on lap 24, down at turn 12, he made his move with a lunge down the inside and leapt into the lead after blistering down the back straight with his DRS open.
Moments before the lead switched hand, another enthralling battle came to its conclusion. Alonso had been chasing the rear of Button’s McLaren for a few laps but failed to find his way past the Brit for P8. Then as they started their 24th lap of the race, Alonso lunged down the inside of Jenson into turn one and despite locking up moved ahead.
Jenson had been slowing down due to his tyres degrading for some time in the build up to the overtake but in the end was forced into loosing more positions before he was handed a very welcomed pit stop.
As other drivers soon began to head for their next pit stops, the front runners were forced into covering the field in order not to slip up. But a little further back, Pastor Maldonado’s afternoon was becoming worse and worse after he received a second five-second stop/go penalty of the race. This time the penalty came for another speeding incident, except this time in the pit lane.
Following the second round of pit stops, the battle for the lead seemed all but over. With Rosberg running a few seconds behind Hamilton, the German was told to push and instantly took time out of Lewis’ lead. However it did not take the Briton long before he was responding with consecutive fastest laps of the race to extend his lead even more.
As the final laps of the race came into sight, the racing for the final points began to kick off. On lap 49 of 56, Vettel made a late pit stop in a bid for a feisty end to his race. Meanwhile Grosjean looked to overtake Button.
More solid defending by Jenson saw his McLaren stay ahead of the Lotus as Grosjean was forced into turning his attacking into defending as Vergne forced his Toro Rosso down the inside of T1.
Now with just a handful of laps remaining, Vettel’s late charge for a strong finish came into its own. First up on the hit list was his potential 2015 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for 12th place, followed up by Button and Maldonado. Unfortunately for Jenson, all his strong defending throughout the race came to nothing and he fell out of the top 10. But Vettel’s race was not over just yet and his attack continued.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was taking the chequered flag four seconds clear of Nico Rosberg. The 25 points compared to Nico’s 17 means Lewis carries a 24 point lead into Brazil next week. But with double points in Abu Dhabi, the championship is still far from over.
As Lewis began to celebrate his victory down the pit straight, Ricciardo came home in third place, a few seconds ahead of Massa and Bottas.
When Valtteri crossed the line in fifth place, the race was far from over with Alonso over a minute behind. This vast gap meant the F1 fans at the circuit could still pay witness to a relentless attack by Vettel as he picked off Vergne and Magnussen to secure P7. If the finish line was just a little further down the road, Sebastian may have even been able to take P6 from Fernando as the Spaniard only crossed the line 5 tenths of a second ahead of the reining world champion.
Maldonado and Vergne rounded off the point scoring positions in ninth and tenth after the duo had a late battle for P9. Pastor left it late, but on the final lap found his way around the Toro Rosso for ninth place, however his five second penalty for speeding in the pit lane meant he would only finish in tenth place.
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||56||+4.3 secs||1||18|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+25.5 secs||5||15|
|4||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||56||+26.9 secs||4||12|
|5||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||56||+30.9 secs||3||10|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||56||+95.2 secs||6||8|
|7||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+95.7 secs||18||6|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+ secs||7||4|
|9||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||56||+ secs||14||2|
|10||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||56||+ secs||10||1|
|11||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap||16|
|12||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||+1 Lap||12|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||+1 Lap||8|
|14||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||15|
|15||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||+1 Lap||17|
|Ret||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+40 Laps||13|
|Ret||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||+55 Laps||11|
|Ret||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||+ secs||9|