Hamilton edges closer to title with victory

Hamilton edges closer to title with victory

22 October 2017 – Lewis Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix to edge closer to a fourth title, regaining the lead from Sebastian Vettel after falling behind at the start, as Mercedes secured the Constructors' crown.

Hamilton started from pole position at the Circuit of the Americas but lost out to Vettel on the run to Turn 1, the title rivals almost clashing as they fought for position.

Vettel controlled the early stages, before Hamilton regrouped and mounted a challenge, moving back into the lead with a clean DRS-assisted pass on the back straight.

Hamilton stayed ahead for the remainder of the race, as he and Vettel ran different strategies, to record his fifth victory from six races at COTA, and sixth in the country.

He will head to the next round of the season a whopping 66 points clear of Vettel, with only 75 up for grabs over the races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen, who started towards the back of the grid with an engine penalty, snatched third from Kimi Räikkönen with a bold move on the final lap.

But he was promptly given a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, meaning Hamilton, Vettel and Räikkönen made up the podium.

As the lights went out, in dry and hot conditions, second-placed Vettel made a rapid getaway to pull alongside Hamilton and held firm as they entered the first corner.

Vettel, confident in his race pace, initially pulled a gap to Hamilton, as Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo went wheel-to-wheel over third position.

Hamilton, though, upped his pace as the race settled down, getting within DRS range and pulling a move on Vettel along the back straight to reclaim top spot.

After this, the lead strategies diverged, with Vettel going for a two-stop (Ultra Soft, Soft, Super Soft) and Hamilton completing a one-stop (Ultra Soft, Soft).

Hamilton rejoined narrowly ahead of Vettel after the first round of stops, querying Mercedes' approach over the radio, though nonetheless pulled clear once more.

Hamilton built up a comfortable advantage as the race progressed, but second was only settled in the closing stages, as the various strategies unfolded.

Bottas held the position for the majority of the race, after Ricciardo retired with an engine issue and Vettel dropped back into the pack on his two-stop plan.

But he got jumped by Räikkönen, who made a sublime move at Turn 12, before losing out to Vettel and the recovering Verstappen in quick succession.

Bottas then suffered a huge lock-up into the final corner and made an extra stop for Ultra Softs, in order to preserve fifth, with a sizeable gap back to the next group of cars.

Vettel was gifted second by team-mate Räikkönen shortly after passing Bottas, but was unable to eat into Hamilton's advantage, losing seven more points in the title battle.

Räikkönen, struggling with old tyres, came under pressure from Verstappen, another to stop twice, late in the race, and got jumped into Turn 17 on the final lap.

However, Verstappen put all four wheels off the track and was duly hit with a penalty.

Although the Drivers' battle rumbles on for at least one more round, Mercedes secured the Constructors' title, its fourth on the bounce, with Ferrari failing to pull of a 17-point swing.

Behind the top five, Esteban Ocon overcame illness to take sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. – contesting his first race for Renault – and Force India team-mate Sergio Pérez.

Felipe Massa took ninth for Williams, with Toro Rosso returnee Daniil Kvyat completing the top 10.

Lance Stroll was unable to join team-mate Massa in the points, after his Q1 exit, placing 11th, followed by McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and debutant Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso).

Haas was unable to score points on home soil, Romain Grosjean coming home 14th, and Kevin Magnussen 16th, via contact with Sauber drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson (15th).

Wehrlein suffered terminal damage in the first-lap clash with Magnussen, while Fernando Alonso (amid a loss of power) and Nico Hülkenberg (unspecified) also failed to finish.

Driver of the Day: Max Verstappen

Drivers' Championship:

1. Lewis Hamilton - 331 points
2. Sebastian Vettel - 265 points
3. Valtteri Bottas - 244 points

Constructors' Championship:

1. Mercedes - 575 points
2. Ferrari - 428 points
3. Red Bull - 315 points

The next round of the season takes place in Mexico from October 27-29

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