Mercedes has thrilled the crowds at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, with Valtteri Bottas winning the United States Grand Prix from pole position - Lewis Hamilton his sixth F1 World Championship, rising up from fifth on the grid to finish second for another Silver Arrows one-two result.
Bottas again showed his speed, out-performing his teammate on an alternate strategy - the Finn proving two-stops was the way to go, with Hamilton unable to stretch his hard tyres far enough on a one-stop. Bottas stopped on Lap 35, 11 laps after Hamilton - and hunted down the Brit in the closing stages, passing him for the lead four laps from home.
“Yeah, it’s a nice win,” Bottas said. “Feels good. Just felt very good since yesterday in the car and we had strong pace so very happy with the win. Only thing I could really focus on and do this weekend to win the championship but obviously it was not enough and Lewis got the title.”
The 2019 F1 World Drivers’ Champion, who now has six crowns to his name, was naturally elated.
“It’s really overwhelming, to be honest,” Hamilton said. “It was such a tough race. It was really a difficult day for us, Valtteri did a fantastic job. So today I really wanted to recover and deliver the one-two for the team. I didn’t think the one-stop was going to be possible but I worked the tyres as I could. And I just feel so much emotion here.”
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen completed the podium, finishing less than a second behind Hamilton at the chequered flag. There’s now a two-week break before the penultimate race in Brazil.
|3||33||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+5.002s||15|
|5||23||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+78.038s||10|
Here’s how the 2019 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:
The excitement is up at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton able to clinch a sixth F1 World Championship if he scores just four points in today’s race - but he starts from fifth on the grid, putting him in dangerous territory for first corner carnage with turn one an uphill monster. Hamilton needs eighth place, or ninth and the fastest lap to secure the silverware. It’s 11 years since his first title in 2008, and he last won a crown in the USA in 2015, his third world championship.
At the front of the grid is Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, the Finn taking his first pole in the United States, his fifth for 2019 and 11th overall. The 30-year-old making Mercedes’ 200th front row start, going for his seventh win - which he needs for a chance to keep the title race going to Brazil, for if Bottas fails to do so today the 2019 title will go to Hamilton.
Alongside Bottas on the front row is Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who has only taken one win this year in Singapore. He’ll be desperate to take another one, but last took victory here in 2013 for Red Bull Racing. Verstappen starts third, the Dutchman has never won in the USA - his best result second last year behind Kimi Raikkonen. Verstappen starts with a new rear wing, with a hairline crack in the main plane discovered pre-race. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is fourth, just ahead of Hamilton who has a championship to win. The top-five are all starting on the medium tyres.
Red Bull Racing’s Alex Albon is sixth, on the softs, ahead of the two McLarens, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly completing the top-10. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez starts from the pit lane after failing to stop at the FIA weigh bridge in practice, incurring an immediate penalty.
Strategically, a one-stop strategy remains the fastest way through the race - with a medium/hard selection around 10-seconds quicker than starting on softs. Those using that strategy are expected to stop between laps 14-24, but those on the softs will stop a little sooner between laps 10-20. But while a one-stop race is faster, with tyre performance standard, a bumpy track may cause higher degradation and more stops.
Of course, anything can happen - with 14 Safety Car/Virtual Safety Car deployments from 2015-2018 meaning 71 per cent of past races have been affected. A stop takes 20-seconds under green flag conditions so the teams will be thinking on their feet. Could an early stop from Hamilton force him to go for a second stop on the softs later in the race?
The majority of the grid starts on the medium, including the top-five - with the remainder of the top-10 on softs. Beyond the top-10, the only drivers not on the mediums are Hulkenberg (P11) and Kvyat (P13) on the hards. Raikkonen in P17 starts on the softs.
Polesitter Bottas has a good start, Vettel bogging down as Verstappen gets past for second. Sainz and Albon make contact. Bottas leads Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton up to fourth from Leclerc. Vettel struggling, he’s back behind Leclerc. And tries to retake him into Turn 13. Vettel locks up and Norris gets past for fifth. Ferrari struggling with the mediums.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 1.1 seconds. Ricciardo passes Vettel into Turn 1 and passes him for P6. Vettel says he has damage and bad understeer. Albon pits after contact with Sainz at Turn 1, boxed in against Leclerc. Vettel down to P7.
Hamilton in P3 sets the fastest lap, a 1:41.043 - he’s 1.1 seconds behind Verstappen - the top-three covered by 2.5 seconds. Raikkonen is up to P11 ahead of Hulkenberg. Sainz and Albon are under investigation by the stewards. Ricciardo in P6 is chasing down Norris, half a second the gap.
Bottas leads, sets the fastest lap, a 1:40.986. He’s 1.4 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Hamilton keeping in touch, 1.3 seconds behind in P3. Then it’s Leclerc, Norris, Ricciardo, Vettel, Gasly, Sainz and Magnussen.
So Bottas continues to lead, 1.5 seconds the gap to Verstappen. Vettel still reporting understeer, locking up into Turn 1. Albon is last in P20, 10.1 seconds behind Kubica. Ricciardo in P6 continues to chase Norris, the pair doing 1:42.3s on that last lap. Hamilton being told where he can make up time on Verstappen.
Bottas stretching his legs, 1.8 seconds the gap over Verstappen - he was two tenths faster on that last lap. Norris told pace is good, just find the rhythm now. He’s now 0.9 seconds ahead of Ricciardo in P5. Leclerc in P4 told Plan B, code for a two-stop race, but need to close the gap to Hamilton.
Bottas leads, now 2-seconds ahead of Verstappen. Then it’s Hamilton, Leclerc, Norris, Ricciardo, Vettel, Gasly, Sainz, Magnussen, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Grosjean, Giovinazzi, Stroll, Perez, Russell, Kubica and Albon. Albon has had a time deleted for going wide at Turn 19.
Ricciardo is closing on Norris, 0.4 seconds the gap in the fight for P5. Vettel is 0.7 behind the Australian, his former teammate. Vettel has broken rear suspension, his front left in the air. He’s limping back to the pits. He’s stopped out on track. Could we see a safety car to recover that car? Vettel’s right rear suspension breaking explosively over Turn 9. Double waved yellow flags in sector 2.
Ricciardo has passed Norris for P5 at Turn 12.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 2-seconds. Hamilton is now with DRS range of the Dutchman in P3. Kvyat passes Magnussen for P11 into Turn 1. The Dane fights back but the Russian stays ahead into Turn 7.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 2.2 seconds. Hamilton 1.1 seconds behind in P3. Leclerc in P4 is 9.1 seconds adrift. Perez passes Giovinazzi into Turn 11, as the pair lock up. He stays ahead into Turn 12.
Bottas now 2.4 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Vettel has arrived back in the pits, a DNF for the first time in the USA. Hamilton is all over the back of Verstappen.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 3-seconds. Hamilton is right on the back of the Dutchman, 0.6s the gap. Albon has passed Giovinazzi for P15 down the back straight. Leclerc told to avoid apex kerb at Turn 8.
Verstappen has stopped, onto the hard tyre - 2.6 second stop, so a very early stop here. He’s down to P4. So it’s Bottas, Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen now. Hamilton has set the fastest first sector. So now what will Mercedes do to respond to Verstappen’s stop? Mercedes in the pit lane.
Bottas pits from the lead, he’s onto the hards. 3.2 second stop, so slower than Verstappen. He exits behind Leclerc. So it’s now Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas and Verstappen. Hamilton has set a personal best lap, 1.5 seconds faster than Leclerc behind. Verstappen told just to be sensible behind Bottas.
Bottas passes Leclerc around the outside of Turn 1 and is up to P2. Verstappen in P4 set the fastest lap, a 1:39.604. Verstappen passes Leclerc for P3 into Turn 12.
Bottas in P2 sets the fastest lap, a 1:39.201 - he’s 12.8 seconds behind his teammate who is yet to stop. Albon, in P13, is told the team does see some damage to the car. Hamilton into the 1:41.1s, so almost two seconds slower than his teammate - and told he’s sticking to the original plan, with rivals two-stopping.
Hamilton leads, with Bottas in P2 setting the fastest lap again - a 1:38.943. The Finn on a charge, setting fastest sectors. Verstappen in P3 is 4.2 seconds behind the Mercedes.
Leader Hamilton much slower on his mediums, Bottas now 7.7 seconds behind - but could be on a two-stop. Should Hamilton stop now, he will come out in third ahead of Leclerc.
Another fastest lap for Bottas in P2, a 1:38.916. The Finn and Verstappen on expected two-stops. Albon is up to P9. Raikkonen gets past Grosjean for P13 into Turn 11.
Leclerc pits from P4, a very slow stop - 7.7 second stop. He’s onto the hards and exits in P6. Two Renaults in the top-five, with Hamilton leading Bottas, then Verstappen, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. Replay shows Leclerc’s left rear struggled to go on.
Perez passes Kvyat into Turn 12 for P7. Ricciardo pits from P4, moving from soft to hard. Hamilton leads, but is doing 1:41.4s, 1.5 seconds slower than Bottas.
Leclerc passes Hulkenberg for P4 into Turn 12. Kvyat has a right rear tyre issue at his stop, a slow stop there. Hamilton remains the only one yet to sit in P4. Ricciardo passes Perez for P6 into Turn 1. Mercedes mechanics are in the pit lane. Hamilton told to pit, but he says he wants to go longer.
Hamilton will start to hold up Bottas behind now, 0.4 seconds the gap there. Bottas told to attack him down the back straight, and goes past into Turn 12. Hamilton pits.
Hamilton stops from second, he’s onto the hards. 2.4 seconds the stop time. He comes out in P3, 17.3 seconds behind Verstappen. The two drivers ahead of him set to stop again. Perez stops. Norris has passed Hulkenberg into Turn 1 for P6.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 5.8 seconds. Hamilton in P3 is 14.8 seconds, told he is going until the end of the race - but will be fighting at the end of the race. Replay shows Albon going over the kerb at Turn 19, potentially causing damage.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:38.446. He’s 2-seconds faster than Verstappen and Bottas ahead. Hamilton told tyre management is critical to doing a one-stop, so can’t pull out the fastest laps.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 6.4 seconds. Then it’s Hamilton, Leclerc and Ricciardo closing out the top-five. Hulkenberg stops for mediums, but started on the hards.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 6.4 seconds. Hamilton is 11.8 seconds behind in P3. Hamilton told he needs to have tyres at the end of the race to make his strategy work. Everyone in the race has stopped.
Norris in P6 is 0.9 seconds behind Ricciardo. Stroll in P11 is defending hard against Kvyat. Perez passes Kvyat into turn 15 for P12, as Stroll stops from P11.
Stroll carrying damage, front left side of front wing damaged. Verstappen struggling in P2 on the hards.
Bottas leads Verstappen by 7.1 seconds, the Finn three tenths quicker on that last lap. Hamilton is in the 1:39.4s, more than one second quicker.
Giovinazzi in P15 is half a second behind Magnussen. Verstappen complaining wind is horrible through Turn 16/17. Robert Kubica retires from the Grand Prix.
Only the top-14 are on the lead lap. Bottas into the 1:41.4, going through traffic. Verstappen is now 6.6 seconds adrift in P2. Leclerc shown going wide at Turn 19.
Verstappen pits from P2, and is back on the mediums. He’s back in P3 now behind Hamilton. Albon in P7 is chasing down his former F2 rival Norris and gets past to take P6 at Turn 1. Bottas told to pit.
Bottas pits from the lead, he’s onto the mediums - 2.4 second stop. He drops behind Hamilton, who is one-stopping. But Hamilton is doubting whether he can make his tyres last, as Bottas and Verstappen behind hunt him down.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 9.2 seconds, then it’s Verstappen 4.8 seconds adrift in P3. The Dutchman setting a personal best lap, with the fastest first sector.
Bottas sets the fastest lap, a 1:36.957 - he’s 5.7 seconds behind, and was three seconds quicker on that last lap. Albon passes Ricciardo for P5. Verstappen told he needs 0.8s every lap on Hamilton to catch him at the final lap.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 5.3 seconds. Verstappen is 11.5 seconds behind the leader, 6.2 seconds behind Bottas, in P3. The top-13 are on the lead lap.
It’s Hamilton leading Bottas, 5.8 seconds the gap. Hulkenberg passes Kvyat for P12 into Turn 12, the Russian going off-track. The pair pitting after their battle.
Top-11 are only on the lead lap. Hamilton leads Bottas by 4.7 seconds, but is not sure how long these tyres will last. Albon pits from P5 to take on the softs, drops to P9 after his third stop.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 4.3 seconds, with more traffic between them. The team tells Hamilton they are concerned he may not make it and they have the option to pit again and finish third. Top-10 are on the lead lap now. Vettel the only retirement so far.
Hamilton happy to keep going on with these tyres. Kubica’s retirement was a hydraulic issue. Leclerc pits from P4, he’s onto the softs with a 2.5 second stop. Norris also pits for the mediums, sticky wheel nut on front left costing him - 4.6 second stop.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 3.7 seconds, but not closing at the speed he would have hoped. Leclerc in P4 asks is going for the fastest lap, he asks what it is. Hulkenberg and Raikkonen going wheel-to-wheel from Turn 14-15, makes the pass for Turn 17 - as the Hulk cuts the corner. Will he be penalised?
Leclerc in P4 sets the fastest lap, a 1:36.169. Hamilton leads Bottas by just 3-seconds now.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.9 seconds, the Finn three tenths quicker on that last lap. Hulkenberg told to let Raikkonen past for cutting the track, on Lap 44 - lets him past. Albon passes Sainz for P6 into Turn 12.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.5 seconds, and 0.6s quicker on that last lap. Will we see a thrilling finish between the two Silver Arrows?
Hamilton leads Bottas by 1.8 seconds. Verstappen, in P3, told he can see Hamilton ahead of him - 5.7 seconds the gap to Bottas ahead. Bottas tells his race engineer no talking.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 1.4 seconds. The top-three covered by 7-seconds, with Leclerc 58 seconds behind the leader. Albon passes Ricciardo for P5 into Turn 1. Leclerc is 19.2 seconds ahead so he’s going to finish P5.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 1.2 seconds, the Finn almost in DRS range. The pair approaching traffic.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 0.9s, the Finn in DRS range now. But the pair is going through traffic. The pair going wheel to wheel into turn 12, Hamilton forcing Bottas off the track at Turn 12 in trying to pass.
Bottas right on the back of Hamilton’s gearbox, Verstappen getting close to the squabbling Silver Arrows. Bottas gets past along the back straight and takes the lead into Turn 12. Now can he stay ahead of Verstappen?
Bottas leads Hamilton by 1.5 seconds. Verstappen in P3 is 3.4 seconds behind Hamilton. Only the top-eight are on the lead lap. Norris has passed Sainz for P7 into Turn 11.
Verrstappen is 2-seconds behind Hamilton - and tells the team he wants full power. He’s closing down on the Brit.
Bottas leads Hamilton by 3.5 seconds, then Verstappen is 1-second behind the Brit. Magnussen is into the gravel at the exit of Turn 12. Looks like a brake failure.
Lap 56 - FINAL LAP:
Hamilton locks up passing backmarker Sainz into Turn 1, and will be hoping he can keep Verstappen behind into Turns 11 and 12. Waved yellows mean lifting into Turn 12. Bottas secures the United States Grand Prix, his first in the USA - and his seventh overall. Hamilton secures his sixth world title and his 150th podium in F1.
|3||33||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+5.002s||15|
|5||23||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+78.038s||10|
|8||55||McLaren Renault||55||+1 lap||4|
|10||11||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||55||+1 lap||1|
|11||7||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|12||26||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||55||+1 lap||0|
|13||18||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||55||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|15||8||Haas Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|16||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||54||DNF||0|
|17||63||Williams Mercedes||54||+2 laps||0|