UNITED STATES GP – Kimi Raikkonen wins for Ferrari for the first time in nine years in a strategically interesting race

Testing & Race Reports

Kimi Raikkonen has taken his first win for Ferrari since Spa 2009 and took the teams first win at the Circuit of the Americas after victory in the United States Grand Prix. The Finn made a brilliant start passing Hamilton early on and held off the Mercedes and got the Red Bull in between himself and Hamilton in the latter stages.

Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel once again proved to be his own worst enemy as he spun on the opening lap of the race dropping him towards the back. This created one of the most strategically interesting closing laps of the race.

Raikkonen, Max Verstappen who started from the back and Hamilton where all within two seconds in the closing states. Hamilton got the jump starting from pole, he fended off Raikkonen early on. But the Finn’s two stop race saw him pit earlier and stay ahead of Hamilton in the first stops under the Virtual Safety Car.

Hamilton got ahead of Raikkonen during the first round of stops, however lost out when the Finn came in from the lead. But then Hamilton was unable to rejoin in third and was released by his teammate Bottas to try and catch Verstappen.

As the race reached the final laps, Hamilton was unable to pass Verstappen, he ran wide on the final lap. Meanwhile, Vettel rounding Bottas on the final lap, only victory would have been sufficient in any case for Hamilton to conclude the title race.

Raikkonen said “Maybe they (the fans) are happier, it’s been a great weekend, the car has been good all the time. I got a good start and I ended to push hard and the tyres were not in their best shape towards the end. Max had the same problem and Lewis but we had enough speed and kept it consistent. I’m much happier here than finishing in second but I’m happy.”

Hamilton added “”A big congratulations to Kimi, he did a great job with no mistakes. He had a great start and managed to go all the way. Max did a great job too, he was on a better tyre than us at the end, so naturally a bit of a struggle for us but it was the best we could do in the end. At least we could have a good race. I came out ahead in the pit, but the window was closed and it was way too far to come back from.”

While the focus was on the fight between Mercedes, Ferrari and Verstappen, Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire from the race with in the first ten laps because of an engine failure. Earlier in the race, the Australian had tangled with Vettel.

The German was sent spiralling to the back of the field and although he launched another spirited fightback, the incident will once again pose awkward questions for the Ferrari driver. Vettel now must win all of the remaining races to have any hope of beating Hamilton to the championship.

Hamilton will be crowned as a five times champion if he is seventh at least in Mexico City next weekend.

Renault finished best of the rest, over a second behind Bottas with Nico Hulkenberg ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. That will help the French manufacturer to stay ahead of Haas in the constructors, the American team saw there race effectively over on the first lap as well as Fernando Alonso.

Haas’s Romain Grosjean locked up on the opening lap going into the side of the Sauber of Leclerc into the hairpin. Stroll was given a drive-through 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.

Force India also scored an double points finish, with Esteban Ocon eighth and Sergio Perez tenth, the pair separated by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Brendon Hartley was eleventh ahead of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne.

Magnussen was disqualified from the race, as his Haas car was found have  exceeded the allowed fuel limit for the race, breaching Article 30.5 of the sporting regulations. The Dane’s exclusion from the final result means that Hartley gains his first points of the season, as well as Ericsson.

However, Ocon’s car was been placed under investigation for exceeding the fuel mass flow limit during the opening lap in an “alleged breach of Article 5.1.4 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations”.

The article in question reads that “fuel mass flow must not exceed 100kg/h”, and was the cause for Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification from a runner-up finish in the Australian Grand Prix back in 2014.

The Frenchman was disqualified despite team principal Otmar Szafnauer explained that his team’s data had shown that Ocon’s car had briefly encountered an unprecedented surge of fuel, but had corrected itself before the lap was done.

Szafnauer was adamant that the team hadn’t gained an advantages because  the engine systems had automatically corrected for what had happened.

It  was another disappointing weekend for Williams, the struggling British team were the last of the finishers, abite a lap down, with Sergey Sirotkin ahead of Lance Stroll.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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