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Hamilton takes tenth win of season with smash and grab on Rosberg in Texas

Hamilton takes tenth win of season with smash and grab on Rosberg in Texas
Nov 2, 2014, 11:39 PM

Lewis Hamilton's ongoing love affair with the United States shows no sign of diminishing after the Englishman scored his 10th victory of the seaso...

Lewis Hamilton's ongoing love affair with the United States shows no sign of diminishing after the Englishman scored his 10th victory of the season in Austin to extend his lead in the world championship to 24 points.

There were none of the brake issues that hampered his qualifying efforts as Hamilton surprised his team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg with an overtaking move from a long way back, just before half distance, to secure his fifth win in succession and with it make it two wins from three races in Austin, watched by a race day crowd of 107,000 fans.

It made it three out of four wins for Hamilton in his US F1 appearances and with it he became the most successful British F1 driver of all time in terms of wins, his 32nd career victory eclipsing Nigel Mansell.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Race Day - Austin, USA

The final podium position went to Daniel Ricciardo who shrugged off a tardy getaway to show a clean pair of heels to the chasing Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

What an incredible place this is to go racing," said Hamilton afterwards. "It's a very special feeling to have such an amazing car, an amazing team and to be on this incredible run. It's been an unbelievable job from the team all year so a big thanks to everyone here at the track and at the factories back home.

"We managed to correct the problems from qualifying today which was great and I pushed as hard as I could. For the overtake, I just stayed as close as possible to Nico and waited for the moment to be just close enough to throw it up the inside. This is a good circuit to be able to follow another car but it's still not easy.

"You have to judge the risk in these situations but I felt confident I could pull it off. Once I got past Nico, it was just about controlling the race. I'm very, very proud to now hold the record for the most Formula One wins for a British driver. I have to say, though, it's all thanks to the team and the car we have this year that I've been able to reach that landmark so quickly. Ten wins in a season is just... well, wow! 

The tenth Mercedes one-two finish of the year ties the all time record held by McLaren from 1988 and never looked seriously in doubt as they silver arrows winched themselves up the hill to turn one unmolested by the chasers

Polesitter Rosberg made a perfect getaway from the clean side of the track while Hamilton held onto second through turn one as Felipe Massa muscled his way past Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas for third.

Sauber's hopes of a first points finish of the year were substantially dashed when Adrian Sutil was harpooned by Sergio Perez's Force India on the first lap bringing out the safety car.

Sutil was out on the spot while Perez limped around to retire at his team garage leaving just 16 cars running when the safety car pulled back into pitlane at the end of the fourth lap.

Rosberg made another clean escape at the restart and controlled a narrow advantage through to the first scheduled stops on lap 16. He then retained his lead when Hamilton also took medium tyres at his first stop a lap later.

Hamilton was 2.5 seconds after the first stops with Felipe Massa best of the rest just over six seconds behind the Englishman who was soon on a charge, slicing the margin to title rival Rosberg to bring himself into DRS range.

The 2012 winner in Austin took over the lead with a lunge down the inside at turn 12 on lap 24 and further demonstrated how much more comfortable he was on his second set of tyres as he extended his advantage with a series of times up to half a second faster than Rosberg.

The gap extended to 3.6s before Hamilton dived into pitlane for the second time and he enjoyed a similar advantage after Rosberg stopped for the final time a lap later.

As the two leaders settled into their final stint it briefly looked as Rosberg might reprise his qualifying form but it was a false dawn as Hamilton quickly responded and by the flag after 56 laps Hamilton had 4.3 seconds in hand.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Race Day - Austin, USA

Rosberg's second place at least assures him of a final race decider in Abu Dhabi, and the driver's title is now a match race between the Mercedes drivers after Ricciardo's slim hopes were finally extinguished despite his heroic run to the podium.

Afterwards he admitted that he had no answer to Hamilton's pace after the first pit stop.

"It was a tough day for me and it feels horrible to finish second after starting from pole," Rosberg said. "The conditions were very different compared to yesterday and it took me too long to find my rhythm at the beginning.

"In Formula One it is all about adapting quickly, but it just took me too long. Only 10 laps after Lewis passed me, I got it right and was able to push much more. Lewis just did a better job today, so congratulations to him.

"It's getting tougher but there is still a chance for the title and everything can happen. I'm still going to be pushing flat out just as I always have. I never give up." 

Having slipped to seventh on the first lap after a slow start from fifth, Ricciardo showed the value of Red Bull's race package as he soon dispensed with Kevin Magnussen's McLaren and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in emphatic style.

He settled down to chase the Williams drivers, passing Valtteri Bottas at turn one after the first round of stops and edging clear of Felipe Massa after a slowish stop for the Brazilian sealed his fate.

"I’m happy with that," said Ricciardo of his 15th consecutive points finish. "I could see the Mercedes for the first part of the race which was really cool, I don’t know if they were just chilling, but we seemed to have good pace.

"It was great to get ahead of the Williams and to get onto the podium. The start wasn’t very good, I have to put my hand up to that one, but the recovery was good so we didn’t really lose out. The pit stops were really good, Red Bull is known for being awesome in the pits and they showed it today."

While the Williams cars had kept Mercedes honest through the first stint Ricciardo had no answer to the pace of the leaders and ultimately had a quiet run to the podium which certainly couldn't be said of his team mate Sebatsian Vettel's fraught fight to finish seventh.

Last year's winner chose the road less travelled on strategy. After starting from pitlane on the medium tyre that only Hulkenberg and Kvyat also opted for, Vettel stopped twice behind the safety car taking soft and medium tyres respectively.

He had stopped three times and raced up through the field to Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. A titanic scrap went in favour of Vettel before a late stop for soft tyres looked to have dashed his hoped of a strong points finish.

However, Vettel absolutely flew back up through the ranks, helped in part by Jenson Button backing up a terrific scrap for the minor points position, and edged clear of Kevin Magnussen's McLaren in the closing stages to secure a hard won seventh.

Jean Eric Vergne was one of many drivers engaged in that frenetic battle late on and was caught and passed by Pastor Maldonado's Lotus on the final lap. Both drivers would shuffle position after the race, however. Maldonado was set to take a five-second penalty for a pit-lane speeding infringement and so when the duo crossed the line he dropped behind Vergne.

The Frenchman, however, was investigated after the race a do-or-die move on Grosjean in the closing laps in which he banged wheels with the Lotus driver and he too was handed a five-second penalty which eventually meant that Maldonado finished ninth and Vergne tenth.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - United States Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Austin, USA

Lotus had two cars running in the points early on as Maldonado made use of the Sutil-Perez incident to vault up to eighth in the early running while Romain Grosjean hustled up to 10th from 16th.

However, it started to go wrong when Maldonado, along with Jean Eric Vergne and Esteban Guttierez was given a five-second stop go penalty for speeding behind the safety car, dropping to 14th when the first round of scheduled stops were completed.

Maldonado fought his way back up through the field onto the tail of the battle for tenth. When team-mate Romain Grosjean was clouted out of the way by Vergne, Maldonado capitalised and after the various penalties were tallied he scored his first points finish of the year.

Grosjean's manhandled his hobbled Lotus to the line in a frustrated 11th ahead of an equally irritated Jenson Button who defended his eighth place for lap after lap before the dam eventually burst and he slipped back to 12th by the line.

Kimi Raikkonen had a terrific late race scrap with Kvyat but ultimately had to make do with 13th just ahead of Guttierez whose progress was hampered slightly by his safety car speeding penalty.

The final classified finisher was Kvyat in 15th who lost out in the frantic battle for the points positions.

It was a day to forget for Force India who failed to finish a car after Perez's first lap accident and Nico Hulkenberg's 18th lap retirement with suspected engine failure.

USGP, Austin

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h40m04.785s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 4.314s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 25.560s
4 Felipe Massa Williams 26.924s
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 30.992s
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.231s
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m35.734s
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m40.682s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m43.863s
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m47.870s
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1 Lap
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1 Lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 Lap
- Nico Hulkenberg Force India Retirement
- Sergio Perez Force India Retirement
- Adrian Sutil Sauber Retirement
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