Lewis Hamilton has won the United States Grand Prix 2016 after leading from start to finish. This was his fifth US GP victory putting him on the same level with Michael Schumacher who also has five wins. For Hamilton, this was his third straight victory on US soil. Rosberg sealed a 1-2 victory for Mercedes while Ricciardo completed the podium in third.

Retirements included Verstappen who suffered a gearbox issue and Raikkonen who bailed out after a bizarre pit incident that left him under investigation. Hamilton has now cut Rosberg’s points lead from 33 to 26 with three races left in the season.

United States Grand Prix 2016 Results

1. Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Ricciardo – Red Bull
4. Vettel – Ferrari
5. Alonso – McLaren
6. Sainz – Toro Rosso
7. Massa – Williams
8. Perez – Force India
9. Button – McLaren
10. Grosjean – McLaren

The United States GP has an interesting history of being a title deciding race, a total of 7 drivers’ titles have been decided on US soil including Hamilton’s 2015 title. Ferrari has the most wins here with a total of 9 victories followed by Lotus and McLaren each with 8 wins. Lotus of course has its wins coming from a much earlier period, between 1960-1973. Michael Schumacher leads the drivers’ category with five wins followed by Hamilton with four wins.

Hamilton started from pole today in a front row lock-out by Mercedes, this being his very first pole start at the United States Grand Prix and his ninth of season.

The top four started on soft tires from Q2 besides Ricciardo who was on supersoft. Elsewhere, Romain Grosjean marked his 100th F1 start today at the United States Grand Prix 2016. Since May at the Spanish Grand Prix, each race has seen drivers pick up grid penalties but Austin was different as there was not a single grid penalty.

Ricciardo led the Pirelli supersoft league comprising of Verstappen, Raikkonen, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Massa, Sainz, Perez, Grosjean and Button. Hamilton led the Pirelli soft tires batch comprising of Rosberg, Verstappen, Alonso, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Palmer, Ericsson, Magnussen and Wehrlein. Nasr and Ocon started on Pirelli medium rubber.

Hamilton managed to hold on to the lead this time after the formation lap, but Rosberg fell back after Ricciardo jumped him on the first corner. Raikkonen jumped Verstappen for fourth, the young Dutch almost lost fifth to Vettel but he held on despite running wide. Hulkenberg spun out after making contact with the Toro Rosso of Kvyat to complete the first lap drama. The Force India retired after that shunt.

After lap 4/56 Hamilton led the race from Ricciardo, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel, Massa, Sainz and the two McLarens of Alonso and Button. Verstappen meanwhile set the fastest lap on 1m44.132s while on soft tires just like the Mercedes drivers ahead. Hamilton battered that fast lap from Verstappen with a much quicker 1m43.649s.

Ricciardo was having quite a bit of fun in his faster Pirelli supersoft tires, shredding Hamilton’s gap bit by bit. But that came at a cost, the Red Bull had to make an early pitstop on lap 9, Raikkonen who was fourth at the time also followed in and they both picked up a set of soft tires to match the front runners. The Red Bull rejoined in eighth while Raikkonen rejoined in tenth.

Mercedes called both drivers in shortly after Ricciardo’s pit stop, but it was only Rosberg who made a stop for fresh mediums. Hamilton stayed out on his old soft tires from Q2, the Brit however made his stop too picking up a set of new softs. He rejoined in P2 behind Vettel who was yet to stop.

Teams were using mix strategies as seen from the front runners who were on different sets of tires. Vettel was yet to make a stop despite being on supersofts after 11 laps.

After 13 laps, Vettel led the field away from Hamilton, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Massa and Sainz. Kvyat was handed a 10s penalty for making contact with Perez earlier. Vettel pitted after 14 laps and picked up a set of soft tires to rejoin in sixth. Kvyat, Ericsson, Palmer, Nasr and Ocon were yet to pit. The last two were on mediums.

Gutierrez became the second driver to retire after the brakes of his Haas failed.

“Make sure we can get to the end of the stint,” Red Bull told Verstappen, his response was a resounding “I’m not here to finish fourth”. Meanwhile, Kvyat finally made his first stop after 21 laps on soft tires.

After 25 laps, Hamilton’s lead had grown to 9s over Rosberg who was now second after Ricciardo made his second stop. The Red Bull picked up mediums and rejoined in fourth behind Rosberg and Vettel. Verstappen also pitted but his team was not ready for him, largely because he was not supposed to pit. Nevertheless, they fitted mediums on his car at a cost of 36s.

“What happened Max?” Red Bull asked him, “I thought you boxed me, sorry,” he said after rejoining in seventh.

“Verstappen had a f**k up” Ferrari told Vettel. Raikkonen and Vettel were currently running fourth and fifth respectively. More bad news for Verstappen though, his car began to slow down after suffering a gearbox failure. At this point, Ferrari called in Vettel on lap 30 for new mediums.

The Red Bull meanwhile parked on the gravel trap after coming to a total stop and prompting the VSC to take control. Alonso, Sainz and Hamilton all took advantage of the safety car and made their final stops, the Mercedes was given mediums. Rosberg also came in for a new set of mediums, they rejoined in first and second respectively.

The VSC ended on the lap 33, and three laps later Red Bull was urging Ricciardo to catch up with Rosberg. The top three were all on mediums but the two Mercedes had fresher sets. Ferrari was reporting some rear wing drop outs on Vettel’s car who was clearly losing rear downforce.

Raikkonen stopped on lap 39 for a new set of softs but he halted at the pit exit. He stopped on orders from Ferrari after the pit crew realized a wheel gun was still attached to one of the wheels. The Finn rolled back to the pits and even got out of the car. He was told to switch off the car, “We’re too hot” was the answer given to Raikkonen who became the fourth driver to retire.

Of course Ferrari was now under investigation for unsafe release after that shaky incident. After Raikkonen’s retirement, Sainz climbed into P5 while Grosjean entered the points zone by jumping into P10.

With ten laps left to go, Hamilton led the race from Rosberg, Ricciardo, Vettel, Sainz, Massa, Alonso, Perez, Button and Grosjean.

Massa and Alonso made contact on lap 53 while fighting for P6, they survived but Alonso snatched the position from his former teammate. The incident will be investigated after the race. Massa was called into the pits on the final lap due to a puncture caused by the earlier contact.

Hamilton would then claim his fifth victory at the United States Grand Prix after leading from start to finish.

PHOTOGRAPHY BYSam Bloxham, Steven Tee, Glenn Dunbar, Andrew Ferraro,
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