F1 2019: Bottas wins USA GP as Hamilton takes 6th Drivers Championship

Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas wins the United States GP but by finishing in 2nd, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2019 Drivers Championship and takes his 6th title. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finishes in 3rd as Ferrari have a disaster of a race.

03/11/19

Starting Grid

1.Bottas  2.Vettel  3.Verstappen  4.Leclerc  5.Hamilton  6.Albon  7.Sainz Jr  8.Norris  9.Ricciardo  10.Gasly  11.Hulkenberg  12.Magnussen  13.Kvyat  14.Stroll  15.Grosjean  16.Giovinazzi  17.Raikkonen  18.Russell  19.Kubica  Pit Lane: Perez

Valterri Bottas must win as there is only 52 points left to claim after the race today. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile, only has to score 4 points today to secure the championship, therefore he must finish in 8th.

Race

It’s either going to be a one or two stop race today. Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Soft tyre while Nico Hulkenberg and Daniil Kvyat will start on the Hard tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a very good start by Valterri Bottas. Max Verstappen follows him, who made a fine start himself from 3rd on the grid to get alongside Sebastian Vettel and then claim his 2nd place. So it’s Bottas, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton and Leclerc but Vettel looked to be struggling, and as they reached turn 8, Hamilton swept around the outside of the German to claim 3rd, as Vettel fell back even further into the clutches of Leclerc, who had passed him by turn 9.

Meanwhile, Valterri Bottas leads by 1.1 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Daniel Ricciardo has now gotten past Sebastian Vettel into turn 1 with the German reporting on team radio that he has “crazy understeer” although he’s no signs of damage. Alexander Albon pits at the end of the first lap after slight contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. An excellent start by Kimi Raikkonen sees the “Iceman” now running in 11th after starting in 17th. At the end of lap 3, Bottas sets the fastest lap and extends his lead to 1.4 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel is still behind Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris with Norris in the McLaren leading the trio in 5th, 6th and 7th. Charles Leclerc is in 4th albeit 9 seconds behind Bottas but is 4 seconds ahead of the trio of drivers behind him. Ferrari tell Leclerc that they are moving to “Plan B” – will this be a two-stop strategy for the lead Ferrari driver?

Sebastian Vettel’s race is run. His right-rear suspension has collapsed. The German pulls over after his suspension has broken after running wide over kerbs. He stops between turns 11 and 12 with the marshals able to recover his car and get it out of the way. Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Lando Norris into the braking zone of turn 12 for 5th place. Lap 10, Kevin Magnussen has now been overtaken by Daniil Kvyat as the Dane drops from 11th to 12th. Kimi Raikkonen now runs in 9th while Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 2.2 seconds over Max Verstappen.

Onto lap 13, Max Verstappen is now coming under pressure from Lewis Hamilton for 2nd place. Verstappen is complaining of the balance of his Red Bull in the high speed corners as Valterri Bottas extends his lead to over 3 seconds. Lap 14, Verstappen bails out and pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. What do Mercedes do now? Do they react? Oh yes they do!

On lap 15, race leader, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead, rejoins on the Hard tyre and in 3rd – ahead of Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton now leads ahead of Charles Leclerc. On fresher tyres, Bottas get past Leclerc for 2nd on the exit of turn 1. With DRS, Verstappen overtakes Leclerc for 3rd into turn 12. Alexander Albon now runs in 13th and has slight aero damage to his Red Bull. Carlos Sainz Jr pits from 8th and rejoins in 13th with Kimi Raikkonen in 14th after making his pi-stop. Lando Norris pits from 6th and rejoins in 10th.

Lap 21, Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 6th on the Hard tyre. This could be a very lonely race for the only remaining Ferrari as he doesn’t seem to have the pace of both Mercedes drivers and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Lap 22, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 4th, rejoins in 7th and still ahead of Lando Norris. Ricciardo senses a chance to challenge Leclerc for 4th and overtaking Sergio Perez into turn 1 gets the Australian to within 7 seconds of the Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton should have pitted last lap. He decides to stay out for a bit longer and this allows Valterri Bottas to creep onto the back of his Mercedes teammate. Bottas overtakes with ease before turn 12 for the lead with Hamilton bailing out and pitting. He rejoins in 3rd behind Max Verstappen on the Hard tyre. Hamilton is going to the end of the race whereas Bottas and Verstappen will have to pit again.

Great scrap for 11th is being fought between Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat. Stroll did occupy 11th but pits for the second time this race. Alexander Albon is now in 8th and hunting down Carlos Sainz Jr for 7th. Lap 31,Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 7 seconds.

Lap 32, Alexander Albon overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr into turn 12 for 7th place. Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of challenging Charles Leclerc has taken a tumble as the gap between them has grown to 20 seconds. Lap 33, Williams decide to retire Robert Kubica from the race with a hydraulic issue. Albon now overtakes the second McLaren of Lando Norris for 6th place and is starting to catch Ricciardo for 5th.

Lap 35, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd and goes onto the Medium tyre. Will this trigger a pit-stop from Mercedes? Its does! Lap 36, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead. He rejoins in 2nd on the Medium tyre. Lewis Hamilton now leads but will have Bottas and Verstappen catching him down at the end of the race. But now, Hamilton is starting to doubt his strategy. Lap 37, Hamilton’s lead is only 8 seconds. Lap 39, Alexander Albon overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 5th.

Alexander Albon pits for a 3rd time on lap 41. He rejoins in 10th having been running in 5th after a string of overtakes. Lewis Hamilton asks his race engineer if anyone else has made this long on the Hard tyre. His engineer replies and says their looking into pitting again and battling for 2nd. Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 4th on the Soft tyre.

This has not been a great phase of the race for Valterri Bottas. The Finn has been hampered by lapping drivers with the blue flags not being effective, however, on lap 45, he is now 3 seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The gap between the Mercedes drivers is now only 1.5 seconds. After pitting for a second time, Lando Norris is in 10th and is only 7 seconds behind team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr in 7th.

Lap 49, both Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas are going to encounter traffic with the gap being only 1 second. Don’t forget Max Verstappen who is only 4 seconds behind the pair. Locking-up into turn 11, leaves Hamilton vulnerable down the straight with Bottas attacking but Hamilton fends Bottas off!

Again, Lewis Hamilton is slow into turn 11. Valterri Bottas in the slipstream pulls to the left and overtakes to take the lead! Will Hamilton’s 2nd place come under threat from a catching Max Verstappen?

Onto lap 54, Valterri Bottas leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen less than 2 seconds behind the Brit. Right now, Hamilton will take the championship. Lap 55, Kevin Magnussen is stick in the gravel trap at turn 12. There are yellow flags and this will prevent Verstappen from overtaking into this spot. Onto the final lap, Hamilton is still keeping Verstappen at bay. Bottas crossed the line to win but with Hamilton in 2nd, he wins the championship and becomes a SIX TIME WORLD CHAMPION!!!

Charles Leclerc takes the Fastest Lap and therefore takes the bonus point that goes with it as Alexander Albon wins the “Fans Driver of the Day”. Daniil Kvyat receives a 5 second time penalty after an incident with Sergio Perez. He drops from 10th to 12th.

Race Result

  1. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 56 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +4.148s
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +5.002s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +52.239s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +78.038s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +90.366s
  7. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + +90.764s
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  12. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  13. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  16. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  17. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, DNF
  • Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, DNF
  • Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, DNF

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