F1: MBZAMG’s Hamilton 1st, Rosberg 2nd & Red Bull’s Ricciardo 3rd
It was Lewis Hamilton’s 5th win in America, matching Michael Schumacher’s record, leading almost every lap.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished 4th, but was running behind hise teammate Kimi Raikkonen when he suffered a pitstop gaff that resulted in his retirement.
Starting from the Pole position, Mr. Hamilton led Mr. Rosberg into Turn 1 as Mr. Ricciardo nosed ahead of Mr.Rosberg around the outside Turn 2, forcing the German to lift off.
The fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen took 4th from Max Verstappen, ahead of Mr. Vettel, Felipe Massa (Williams), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Force India) and the 2nd Toro Rosso of Kvyat.
7th-placed starter Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India was pinched by Mr. Vettel and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1, making harsh contact with Bottas that caused the Williams to jump into the air briefly.
Mr. Hulkenberg saw an opening lap retirement with trackrod damage. “Puncture, puncture,” said Mr. Bottas, who pitted for a new right-rear tire.
Mr. Vettel attacked Mr. Verstappen for 5th, but despite drawing alongside twice on the opening lap he failed to make it past.
Force India’s poor first lap was compounded when Perez was punted into a spin by Kvyat, and tumbled to 15th. “What a _____ idiot,” said Perez, who recovered and passed Mr. Kvyat who was given a 10sec pitstop time penalty, on lap 6.
Mr. Hamilton led Ricciardo by 0.8sec at the end of the opening lap, withMr. Rosberg running 3rd from Messrs Raikkonen, Verstappen and Vettel. With Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen starting on the soft tyres, Ricciardo and Raikkonen pitted on Lap 9 to get rid of their supersofts.
“Pushing hard is not the long game,” Mr. Rosberg argued when being told raise his pace on Lap 9.
Despite starting on softs, Mr. Verstappen pitted early on Lap 10, so Mr. Rosberg responded by stopping a lap later and rejoined on the medium tires. That put Mr. Raikkonen right on Mr. Rosberg’s tail, despite getting held up by passing the McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.
Mr. Hamilton pitted on Lap 12 after a perfect 1st stint, rejoining well clear of Mr. Ricciardo on the softs.
Max Verstappen, who was the fastest man on the track on his 2nd set of softs, passed Mr. Raikkonen for 5th on Lap 13, then set his sights on Mr. Rosberg.
Mr. Vettel stayed out on the supersofts he started with for a long 1st stint, and pitted on lap 15 for softs allowing Mr. Hamilton to take up his front running position.
Mr. Hamilton was 5ses clear up front by Lap 20, with Messrs Ricciardo, Rosberg and the rapid Verstappen running in tandem behind.
Mr. Vettel reeled in Mr. Raikkonen on during his 2nd stint, after suffering the pain of his long first run, and Ferrari opted to pit Raikkonen early for another set of supersofts on Lap 25.
Mr. Verstappen pitted on Lap 27, but it was a calamitous stop as his team were not ready for him.
“What happened Max?” his engineer asked. “I thought you boxed me, sorry,” said Mr. Verstappen, who dropped to 7th behind Vettel, Raikkonen and Massa.
Then he suffered a technical failure as he shifted to 4th gear a few laps later, which forced him to pull off the track on Lap 31.
Retrieval of the dispacthed Red Bull caused a Virtual Safety Car, which fell inside Mr. Hamilton’s pit window with Mr. Rosberg also taking advantage to pit for a fresh set of mediums. That hampered Mr. Ricciardo, who effectively lost 2nd position as a result of the VSC.
As the race resumed, Mr. Hamilton held a 10sec lead over Mr. Rosberg, with Mr. Ricciardo coming under attack from Mr. Raikkonen.
But Raikkonen was forced to retire after a disastrous 3rd pitstop, after which he was told to stop at the pitlane exit due to a loose right-rear wheel. “Stop, stop! There was a gun still attached,” he was told. After rolling backwards into the pitlane, Mr. Raikkonen climbed out of his stricken car.
Mr. Vettel, now running 4th, was told he was suffering “rear-wing drop-outs” to which he responded incredulously: “Some? Some is good. Keep joking.”
The racers ran 56 laps, the official finish below
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG||19.692|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||1’36.124|
|7||Felipe Massa||Williams||Mercedes||1 lap|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||1 lap|
|9||Jenson Button||McLaren||Honda||1 lap|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas||Ferrari||1 lap|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||Renault||1 lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||1 lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||Renault||1 lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||Ferrari||1 lap|
|15||Felipe Nasr||Sauber||Ferrari||1 lap|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||Mercedes||1 lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor||Mercedes||1 lap|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Manor||Mercedes||2 laps|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Mercedes|
Have a terrific week