AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 21: Race winner Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2018 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

What was setup to be a celebration for Lewis Hamilton became a long overdue victory for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. After a two stop strategy, Hamilton found himself in a do-or-die situation, having to pass second place Max Verstappen to clinch the F1 world rivers’ championship (WDC). This did not come to fruition, as he went off track in the final sector as he tried to overtake, taking away any chance of challenging for the position once again. Raikkonen got his first race win since Australia in 2013, making it the longest time between wins in Formula 1 history.

Update: Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon (P8 – 4 pts) was disqualified for a fuel flow infringement after the race. The team can appeal against the verdict. Haas F1 team’s Kevin Magnussen (P9 – 2 pts) was DSQed for carrying more than the 105 Kg fuel allowed. Haas f1 can also appeal the decision. As things stand, Sergio Perez will inherit eighth place, with Brendon Hartley and Marcus Ericsson promoted to ninth and tenth respectively

Kimi Raikkonen Wins First GP Since 2013

Before The Race Began

Overnight there was a decision made by Toro Rosso to have both drivers sent to the back of the grid due to a new engine being put in the car. Sebastian Vettel also started in 5th place despite qualifying second due to a red flag infringement in a Friday practice session. The track was 28 degrees celsius, which was 7 degrees hotter than it was on Saturday. Majority of the cars started with Supersofts and Ultrasofts, transitioning into Soft tyres late into the race.

The Start

At turn one Raikkonen pulled ahead of Hamilton and took the lead. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo battled with Vettel, causing Vettel to spin out and lose places. There were two other incidents on the first lap, the first one involved Romain Grosjean and Charles Leclerc. The second one was between Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, which resulted in Stroll receiving a drive through penalty. Grosjean and Alonso retired from the race shortly after these incidents.

Noteworthy Race Moments

On lap 9, Daniel Ricciardo pulled over in sector 2 and came to a full stop. He retired from the race, with the removal of his car causing a Virtual Safety Car. Hamilton pitted under the VSC and switched to Softs. Due to this strategy Hamilton would have to do two stops as both Ferrari’s visited the pits once each. Raikkonen went to the pits on lap 21 and returned to the track in 5th. Hamilton found his way back to the pits on lap 37, returning in 4th. He quickly gained a position, with teammate Valtteri Bottas letting him by.

The Closing Laps

With Hamilton having to outscore Vettel by eight points to clinch the championship, he had to move up to second, passing Verstappen to achieve that gap. Verstappen’s radio warned him of the eventual battle, saying “There is a whole world of pain ahead”. Hamilton challenged for the spot on lap 54, coming close to overtaking numerous times. He went off track while trying to push on the outside of turn 17, letting Verstappen gain the lead. From here on everyone held their positions until the end except for Vettel who overtook Bottas for fourth on lap 55.

F1 Heads To Mexico Next Week

In Mexico next week it could be deja vu for Hamilton as he clinches his fifth world championship in the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez for the second year in a row, or Ferrari could put in another uphill battle to stay alive for another weekend.

Full Timing Sheet:

Pos # Driver Team Gap Pit Stops Points
1 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1 25
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.281 1 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +2.342 2 15
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +18.222 1 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +24.744 1 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1:27.210 1 8
7 55 Carlos Sainz Renault +1:34.994 1 6
8 31 Esteban Ocon Force India +1:39.288 1 4
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1:40.657 1 2
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India +1:41.080 1 1
11 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +1 LAP 1
12 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +1 LAP 1
13 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +1 LAP 2
14 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +1 LAP 2
15 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams +1 LAP 2
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams +2 LAPS 3
17 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber OUT 2
18 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull OUT 0
19 8 Romain Grosjean Haas OUT 2
20 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren OUT 1

 

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