Race Check-Up: A drenched title


Lewis Hamilton wins the 2015 Formula 1 US Grand Prix for the fourth time in his career and clinches his third title. He was followed by teammate and pole sitter Nico Rosberg in second and Sebastian Vettel in third. In the all-time greats Lewis now equals his idol Ayrton Senna and the Briton now joins the hall of fame of other triple champions like Niki Lauda, Jack Brabham and Sir Jackie Stewart.

After a rain-drenched weekend, cancelled practice and wet qualifying, a breathtaking race like this was just what the viewers and track audience needed after such a Friday and Saturday. The 56-lap race had eight retirements, with two Virtual Safety Car periods and two Safety Car periods.

The mathematics of the championship before coming to USA was such that Lewis had to score two points more than his teammate and nine more than Vettel to seal the title in Austin. But at several points in the race the championship run was challenged by Vettel until the penultimate stages of the final lap. Had Vettel succeeded passing Rosberg for second place, the math would have been different and the title race would have rolled on to Mexico.

Mercedes: Both titles sealed

Triple titles for the team and Lewis Hamilton, so it couldn’t get any better for Mercedes. However, there has been a growing rift between the two drivers as seen in Nico’s grim expressions post the race. Today was a good chance for Nico to bounce back into the championship, but he seems to have cracked down under pressure when he was passed by Hamilton in lap 49. From there on the German lost his game to Hamilton, and was even pursued by Vettel for the second place. The two drivers were aggressive at the start and made brief contact – they were lucky to have not spoilt each other’s weekend.

Ferrari: A hot race!

Since Ferrari had planned their fifth engine unit to be used this weekend, both drivers were handed 10-place grid penalties. Vettel started fourteenth and finished third, it was a startling drive but he could have passed Rosberg on that penultimate lap to stay in the game. Kimi was running fifth when he ran wide at lap 20, skid into the gravel and then bumped into the barriers. Despite that he managed his way back into the race with a broken front wing. He dropped to 13th and couldn’t manage to stay the race for more than seven laps, because that incident damaged his front brakes and sent the temperatures spiralling due to which Ferrari called him in to retire his car.

Red Bull: 200th Grand Prix

For their 200th GP weekend, Red Bull had a fantastic start where both Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo split the two Mercedes cars. The first thirty laps carried hope that at least one podium will go to the bulls. However, as the race unfolded, both of them succeeded in grabbing the lead at certain stages of the race, yet were unable to hold onto it. Daniel Ricciardo managed a 10th place finish after starting third and Kvyat had a retirement. The young Russian could have proved his worth today, but had a collision with Carlos Sainz, after which he had to pit and that cost him many places. He spun out at the final corner of lap 43 after.

Williams: Double trouble

The team has confirmed that both cars retired with suspension and damper problems. Valtteri Bottas had an issue during morning qualifying due to which they made a gearbox change and he was handed a penalty.

Sauber: 400th Grand Prix

Initially the two Saubers made contact in the opening laps of the race. Felipe Nasr managed finishing the race in ninth place in the points. Marcus Ericsson started the race at P9 and ended it with a power failure.

Force India: Looking forward to Mexico

For the Silverstone-based outfit, ahead of the Mexican GP, the popular Mexican Sergio Perez managed a fifth place finish. Nico Hulkenberg’s contact with Daniel Ricciardo led to him damaging his Sauber’s front wing and forcing Nico to retire. The FIA finally decided to take no further action due to “a mechanical failure on the car in the braking zone at turn 12”.

McLaren: Points and no points

Jenson Button finished the race at P6, whereas Fernando Alonso missed out on his points finish by a whisker after running in the top 10 for the majority of the race. The Spaniard was heard complaining about loss of power around lap 49.

Lotus: The safe Maldonado

Romain Grosjean got involved in a first-corner collision – his car was damaged when it was hit from the back. The Frenchman was under close watch in America since he moved to Haas F1 team for the next season, and had an unfortunate retirement around lap 10. Pastor Maldonado had no incidents throughout the race and finished in eighth place.

Toro Rosso: Surprises are coming

The Red Bull sister team had Max Verstappen finish fifth and make an attempt at a podium finish yet another time in this season. Carlos Sainz started the race last after crashing out in qualifying, so a P7 finish was truly impressive.

Marussia Manor: Home and away

Alexander Rossi became the first American to race at a home after Scott Speed in 2007. Rossi finished the race in last place at P12. Both Marussias had collided at the first lap, Will Stevens suffered a puncture and broke his car’s rear wing.

Check out some great images from the Austin GP here

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