Raikkonen wins as Vettel keeps his championship hopes alive

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen takes his first GP victory since the 2013 Australian in an thrilling American GP. Red Bulls Max Verstappen finishes 2nd with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd as Sebastian Vettel recovers to 4th after spinning.

21/10/18

Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Raikkonen  3.Bottas  4.Ricciardo  5.Vettel*  6.Ocon  7.Hulkenberg  8.Grosjean  9.Leclerc  10.Perez  11.Sainz  12.Magnussen  13.Alonso  14.Sirotkin  15.Stroll  16.Ericsson  17.Vandoorne  18.Verstappen**  19.Gasly***  20.Hartley***

Vettel* receives a 3 place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under red flag conditions.

Verstappen* takes a gearbox penalty dropping him from 15th – 18th.

Gasly*** and Hartley*** have new Honda engines this weekend so they have to take penalties dropping them to the back of the grid.

Race

Can Kimi Raikkonen lead into turn 1 by starting on the faster Ultrasoft tyre rather than the Supersoft tyre? Can Lewis Hamilton clinch his 5th World Championship today? Where will Max Verstappen finish after starting 18th after troubles in Qualifying yesterday?

The lights go out and its very good start for Kimi Raikkonen who stays to the inside and leads out of turn 1 with Lewis Hamilton 2nd ahead of Valterri Bottas. There’s contact between Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at turn 4 and both have damage. Sebastian Vettel overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 4th before turn 12 but runs wide and Ricciardo fights back and both go side-by-side into turn 14 and Vettel spins! The German gets back round but drops back down to 15th. Behind, Romain Grosjean locks-up and spins Charles Leclerc at turn 12.

Lap 5, Kimi Raikkonen leads by 1.2 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton who is 3.1 seconds ahead of Valterri Bottas in 3rd. Sebastian Vettel overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 10th down into turn 1. Lap 6, the stewards have awarded Lance Stroll with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision with Fernando Alonso at the start. Lap 8, Max Verstappen overtakes Nico Hulkenberg down into turn 12 for 5th as Vettel overtakes Esteban Ocon at turn 12 as well for 8th. Lap 9, Daniel Ricciardo slows and pulls over just after turn 11. The Virtual Safety Car is deployed.

Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso are out as they have sustained too much damage to continue.

Lap 11, Lewis Hamilton pits onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Lap 12, the VSC ends and Sebastian Vettel overtakes Nico Hulkenberg for 5th place before turn 12. Kimi Raikkonen leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Vettel. Ferrari tell Raikkonen that it is likely that Hamilton is doing a two-stop race. Lap 14, Hamilton sets the fastest lap and overtakes Bottas for 2nd before turn 1. Lap 15, Hamilton has the gap to Raikkonen down to under 4 seconds as Vettel in 5th is 20 seconds off of Raikkonen leading.

It’s been a very good opening stint for Renault with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr running in 6th and 7th. Lap 17, Lewis Hamilton has the gap down to 2 seconds to race leader Kimi Raikkonen. Lap 18, the stewards are investigating Sainz for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Lap 20, Hamilton has caught right up to the back of Raikkonen but Hamilton can’t find a way past. The stewards award Sainz with a 5 second time penalty. Lap 21, Raikkonen pits and goes onto the Soft tyre. The Finn rejoins in 5th and just over 6 seconds behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Lap 22, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd and rejoins in 5th behind Raikkonen on the Supersoft tyre.

Lap 23, Valterri Bottas pits from 2nd and rejoins in 5th behind Verstappen. The under-cut has worked for Red Bull and Max Verstappen to effectively get into the top 3. Lap 25, Kimi Raikkonen has caught up to the back of Sebastian Vettel with Vettel allowing Raikkonen through before turn 1. Lap 26, Vettel pits from 4th and rejoins in 5th on the Soft tyre.

Lap 27, Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. Kevin Magnussen in 6th is yet to pit with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr who have pitted in 7th and 8th. Esteban Ocon is in 9th and has pitted with Marcus Ericsson in 10th who is yet to pit. Will Hamilton’s Soft tyre make it to the end? Pirelli don’t think so which means that they think that the Brit will have to do another pit-stop.

Lap 32, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson pit and both rejoin in 9th and 15th. Lap 33, Sauber decide to retire Charles Leclerc from the race and he becomes the 4th retirement. Lap 34, Lewis Hamilton is lapping slower than the four drivers behind and the gap which was 17 seconds, is now 12 seconds between himself and Kimi Raikkonen.

Lap 37, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 4th and only 3 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen leads ahead of Max Verstappen, Valterri Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel. Have Mercedes left it too long to pit Hamilton? If the drivers finish where they are, the championship will go onto Mexico.

Lap 40, Valterri Bottas lets Lewis Hamilton for 3rd place just before turn 12. Lap 42, Sebastian Vettel is closing down on Bottas with the gap now being 3.5 seconds. Ferrari tell Kimi Raikkonen that Hamilton will catch within the last three laps. Lap 45, Vettel has closed down Bottas to just over a second. Behind the top 5, Nico Hulkenberg is in 6th ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.

Lap 47, 3.5 seconds covers race leader Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Its way too close to call. Lap 51, Sebastian Vettel can’t find a way past Valterri Bottas in 4th and 5th. If Hamilton can get past Verstappen and if Vettel stays 5th, he’ll clinch the championship.

Lap 54, Max Verstappen gets a poor exit of of turn 12 and that invites Lewis Hamilton in. The pair go side-by-side with Verstappen nips ahead. The pair once again go side-bys-side through turn 17 but Hamilton backs off and runs wide. The top 3 stay as they are.

Lap 55, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Valterri Bottas as the Finn runs wide out of turn 12. The championship will continue into the next race in Mexico.

Lap 56, Kimi Raikkonen wins the American GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. It’s Raikkonen’s first race win in 113 races since his last GP win in Australia 2013.

Race Result

  1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 56 Laps (21st Career Win & 50th podium for Ferrari)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +1.281s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +2.342s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +18.222s
  5. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +24.744s
  6. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +87.210s
  7. Carlos Sainz, Renault, +94.994s
  8. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +101.080s
  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, + 2 Laps
  • Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DSQ
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas, DSQ
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, DNF
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas, DNF
  • Fernando Alonso, McLaren, DNF

 

 

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