Hamilton Win And Alonso Podium Brings Title Down To Brazilian Wire

In his final races for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton has said that he intends to give it his all for the team he departs at the end of this season, and he showed that his words mean buisness with a strong win in the inaugural United States Grand Prix in Texas. Sebastian Vettel finished second and Alonso did superbly to finish in third and complete the podium.

Hamilton lost second place to Mark Webber at the race start, but Webber retired with an alternator failure, allowing Hamilton to take second and stay close to the leading Vettel, who he eventually passed on lap 42 thanks to trouble lapping the backmarker of Narain Karthikeyan. Vettel stayed on the McLaren’s tail for the remaining laps but could not get near enough to pass.

The McLaren driver has a good history of success at F1 in North America, with the Texas race being his fifth race victory from seven attempts since he began his F1 career in 2007. He spoke of being honoured to claim the first victory at the Austin track, and said he had had a very good weekend.

It has been a great weekend,” admitted Hamilton. “To be able to beat Red Bull and Sebastian is definitely a tough challenge but we managed to do it.

“We were not so bad in the first stint but it was very difficult to follow and get past.

“My tyres went off and then we pitted two laps before Seb and he came out quite far ahead, but traffic worked out quite well for once. Traffic usually catches me out, so I was glad it worked slightly in my favour.

“What a great feeling to win the first grand prix back here in the States, so I am massively proud.”

Vettel must wait for the final weekend to decide the title

Less happy was Sebastian Vettel as the German declared his anger on the pit radio for all to hear once Hamilton had passed him on lap 42. Vettel said that his time stuck behind the lap-down HRT of Karthikeyan enabled Hamilton to get close enough to use DRS, which was the aid in finally getting past Vettel. The two-time champion remarked after the race that is what this which caused his radio message.

“Everything seemed to be in control and here traffic is quite difficult and it didn’t work in my favour,” said Vettel.

“Lewis was close enough to open his rear wing. It didn’t matter which side I picked.”

“I wasn’t happy as before that I had managed the gap to him, and had managed tyres to attack in the last few laps.”

“I wasn’t too happy to send a deep invitation to Lewis going past Karthikeyan and he was right behind in the DRS zone,” Vettel said.

Red Bull took first place in the Constructor’s Championship and in doing so made it as the third team to win three consecutive world titles.

“It was a shame to lose first pace but I think we did everything we could,” said Vettel.

“It was fantastic job for the team today to seal the constructors’ championship, I am happy for that. The guys can be very proud of themselves, and they can have a drink tonight.”

Alonso gets his wish of fighting for the championship in the final race

After qualifying, Fernando Alonso was due to start from ninth place but a gearbox penalty for fifth-placed Romain Grosjean moved Alonso up one place on the grid, leaving him to start from the dirty side of the grid with significantly less rubber for good traction. In the name of the championship, Ferrari took the decision to break the seal on sixth-placed Felipe Massa’s car which left the Brazilian incurring a five-place grid penalty but bringing Alonso one spot further up the grid to seventh, on to the clean side of the grid. Alonso said he was proud of the team for doing so, and that his third place finish felt like a victory.

“We know that our championship is alive thanks to the first laps,” said Alonso. “We always qualified around seventh or eighth, and finish the first lap in the first three or four positions and after that the race becomes a bit easier if you are in leading group.

“Today we knew we had a good chance. I tried to overtake people at the first corner and then the pace improved and we were in the leading group.

“Today was not possible to have the pace of these two guys [Lewis Hamilton and Vettel]. They were too far ahead. I had enough to keep the guys behind.

I am proud of my team for the strategy decision to start on the clean side with both cars,” said Alonso ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. “It worked quite well and perhaps because it worked well maybe that is why [rivals] are not happy.

“I am proud of my team because they told the truth. Not every team has told the truth when they have made strategic decisions.”

Button had an eventful race

Jenson Button was delighted to finish fifth, a position which seemed less likely as he fell to 16th on the first lap. The Briton was one of many drivers who made the race an overtaking spectacle and said that the low grip level of the track added to the entertainment.

“There was a lot of overtaking, and most of it was very clean – which was good to see,” Button said.

“Kimi gave me room on the outside. He’s fair.”

“The end result obviously isn’t what we wanted. But I had so many great fights with about half the field,” said Button.

“It’s a great place to race here. The low grip on the first lap made it very tricky. I think every car went off the circuit at some point. It was like driving in the wet.

“But we put on a great show. Hopefully the American fans really enjoyed today. I don’t think we could’ve done any better really.”

Raikkonen made it yet another points finish

With one race remaining, Kimi Raikkonen is 16 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the championship, and the Finn said he intends to give it everything to stay there. As Raikkonen has finished all 19 races this season and been in the points more often than not, it is likely that he will keep third position. His race in Austin suffered from cooling temperatures when his qualifying had benefited from the warmer track.

“It was an OK day, but not a very easy one for us,” he said. “I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was OK and I could get past some of the others.

“Unfortunately, when it got cloudy it got too cold so the tyres stopped working and that’s where we saw Jenson [Button] get past. Basically, it was a race where we were just depending on the tyres to be in their window.

“I’m still third in the championship and we’ll do everything we can to maintain this position until the end.”

United States GP Result

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h35:55.269
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 0.675
3. Alonso Ferrari + 39.229
4. Massa Ferrari + 46.013
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 56.432
6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1:04.425
7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1:10.313
8. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1:13.792
9. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:14.525
10. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:15.133
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:24.341
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:24.871
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:25.510
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
15. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
16. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
22. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Webber Red Bull-Renault 17
Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15

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