Kimi Raikkonen ends five-year F1 win drought at thrilling US GP
Kimi Raikkonen ended a 113-race wait for a Formula 1 win as he triumphed at a thrilling United States Grand Prix, while the title battle remains mathematically open after Lewis Hamilton placed third.
Raikkonen stayed ahead in a tense three-way battle to the chequered flag to pick up his first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen picked up the lead at the start as he used his Ultrasoft tyres to pass Supersoft-shod Hamilton into Turn 1.
Hamilton ducked into the pits when the Virtual Safety Car was called after Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull halted at Turn 10 after nine laps, but Raikkonen stayed out.
Raikkonen came in on lap 21, having brilliantly fended off a spirited attempt from a charging Hamilton, who had honed in on his opponent after his stop.
Hamilton inherited a 17-second lead but struggled with rear tyre wear on his Soft tyres and came in for a second stop after his advantage had been slashed to eight seconds, emerging in fourth place.
Hamilton was waved through by Valtteri Bottas and caught leaders Raikkonen and Max Verstappen, who had made strides from 18th on the grid, taking on Supersofts after running a 22-lap stint on Softs.
Raikkonen, Verstappen and Hamilton circulated within two seconds as the lap counter ticked down and the tension built.
Hamilton attacked Verstappen with three laps to go and tried to go around the outside through Turn 17, but drifted wide and settled for third.
Verstappen’s scrap with Hamilton gave Raikkonen breathing space and he took the win – his first in Ferrari colours since Belgium 2009.
Hamilton’s third place meant he will have to wait until next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix to seal the title.
Sole title rival Sebastian Vettel spun on the first lap after clashing with Ricciardo but was able to recover to fourth spot, passing the underwhelming Bottas late on.
Hamilton’s title advantage has nonetheless increased to 70 points, and a buffer of 50 post-Mexico will be sufficient for him to seal the championship.
Renault bolstered its prospects of taking fourth in the Constructors’ Championship as Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Esteban Ocon took eighth but has been summoned for allegedly exceeding the fuel flow rate on the opening lap of the race.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Force India’s Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.
Brendon Hartley and Marcus Ericsson were 11th and 12th respectively, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly, as Williams pair Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were the final classified runners.
Stroll’s race was compromised in the wake of a drive-through penalty for colliding with Fernando Alonso into Turn 3 on the opening lap.
Charles Leclerc and Romain Grosjean came together on the opening lap, with the Haas driver locking up into Turn 12 and spinning the Sauber driver.
The incident is to be investigated post-race – Grosjean is only three penalty points away from a potential one-event suspension.
Alonso retired in the wake of being hit on the opening lap by Stroll, with the right-hand side of his MCL33 sustaining substantial damage.
The 19th round of the season, the Mexican Grand Prix, will take place from October 26 to 28
United States - Race Result
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1.281|
|8||Sergio Perez||RP Force India||101.080|
|9||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||1 Lap|
|10||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||1 Lap|
|11||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||1 Lap|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1 Lap|
|13||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||1 Lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Williams||1 Lap|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||DNF|
|19||Esteban Ocon||RP Force India||DSQ|