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US GP: Raikkonen wins, title fight goes to Mexico

  • Published on 21 Oct 2018 21:46
  • comments 13
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Kimi Raikkonen has won his first Grand Prix since returning to Ferrari in 2014, fending off Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages of the race. The Finn jumped Hamilton off the line at the start, and converted his one-stop strategy into his first victory since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen put in a sensational race to cross the line in second place after starting the Grand Prix from P18. Hamilton controlled part the race after gaining time under a virtual safety car period that was deployed. Hamilton pitted to reduce the time he lost for his pit stop.

However, the extra stop meant that he had to pit again. The Brit pulled into the pit lane on lap 38 for his second stop and went in chase of Verstappen and Raikkonen ahead. But the Mercedes driver couldn't get past despite his best efforts.

Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in fourth place, but had it all to do after he was spun around after making contact with Daniel Ricciardo. The two were going side by side through Turns 13 and 14 as Vettel attempted to overtake his former teammate.

The German was sent to the back of the field, adding to the number of on-track incidents he has involved himself in this year. He battled back through the pack and got past the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas with just a handful of laps remaining.

Daniel Ricciardo suffered another heartbreak, as he picked up his seventh retirement of the year. The Australian had a complete power shut down on lap 9, which forced him to pull over to the side of the track and end the day early.

His retirement caused the virtual safety car that saw Hamilton jump into the pitlane. After he rejoined the circuit, he was able to catch back up to Raikkonen who pitted before he was overtaken by the 33-year-old.

Verstappen was then the next to pit, coming in on lap 21 despite starting the race on the soft tyre, the hardest compound Pirelli brought to Austin. The Dutchman stretched his stint on the super softs and bagged another podium for Red Bull, not before coming under serious threat from championship-chasing Hamilton behind. 

Renault had an extremely positive day, taking home a double points finish. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz crossed the line in sixth and seventh respectively, to extend the gap to Haas in the fight for fourth in the constructor's standings.

Force India also finished with both of its cars inside the points, with Esteban Ocon in eighth and Sergio Perez in tenth. Lodged in between the two pink panthers was Kevin Magnussen, who bounced back from a disappointing qualifying.

F1Grand Prix United States of America - Race

US Circuit of the Americas - 21 October 2018

Replies (13)

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  • xoya

    Posts: 462

    I think my dog was more pumped up for Kimi's victory than he was. :)

    • + 2
    • Oct 21 2018 - 22:08
  • Great race!!
    Awesome win by Kimi, great drive by Max, questionable tactics by Merc.
    Seb doesnt know how to race wheel to wheel anymore and Danny is surely questioning his future employer.

    • + 0
    • Oct 21 2018 - 22:17
  • Indeed a great race. Wonderful battles in the top field. I held my breath for much of the race. Had I been drinking I woulda taken a shot there for Ferrari, but turns out they did the right call. But dear lord Vettel....

    • + 0
    • Oct 21 2018 - 22:43
    • Also great to see Iceman, the Iceman, in action again. A welldeserved win, and good lord that battle vs Hammy had me jumping up and down in excitement.

      • + 0
      • Oct 21 2018 - 22:45
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,162

      Excellent race incredible that Verstappen made those SS last that long. Mercedes made a wrong call today but you can't win them all. Vettel seems to really struggle with overtaking any Redbull.

      • + 0
      • Oct 21 2018 - 23:27
    • The real star today was Max. My word... He was spectacular and clean. As far as I know Mercedes threw the race away and Ferrari were supposed to walk away with the victory. But Max didn't even let Lewis through. Their battle might have been the most exciting wheel-to-wheel I've seen all season. It was unfortunate Lewis went off because it would have continued for a couple more corners.

      As for Kimi... Well earned good for him. But before anyone starts saying that Ferrari dismissed the wrong driver for 2019 here's a stat:

      Wins with Ferrari:
      Sebastian: 13
      Kimi: 1

      • + 1
      • Oct 22 2018 - 01:14
    • Max did good, though we've seen it before. As for Max vs Hammy: Max was lucky Hammy went off, because no matter how good Max did there, Hammy woulda swallowed him whole on the straight. Such is the advantage of the Merc'. Was a long time since we last saw Kimi drive this way. And I dont really think anyone will say Ferrari should keep Kimi now, IMO it was a nice way to end the Ferrari stint.

      • + 0
      • Oct 22 2018 - 06:21
    • See, i think Verstappen realised that Hamilton would have him on the straight and took him on ever so much earlier once it became inevitable, to see if he could force him into an error in the twisty bit where he had the upper hand. Lewis got greedy and impatient and had an off.
      It seems Verstappen's racecraft is getting THAT good .. Now if only he gets a better engine ... F1 beware ...

      • + 0
      • Oct 22 2018 - 07:54
    • Well, Honda is powered by dreams, so better get started! ;)

      • + 0
      • Oct 22 2018 - 09:33
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,162

      It would be great for F1 if Renault or Honda can find a way of being competitive against the current order. Renault's engine has been improving but not as much as Honda has, however Honda needed to since it was so far behind. The current vibe is that the latest Honda has surpassed the Renault but I haven't seen any proof of that as yet. Renault has been promising to come closer to Merc/Fer for the last couple of seasons and every season they get it wrong at the start.

      The whole idea of an Honda/Redbull link up and beating Merc/Ferr on genuine pace around circuits to are power depended seems far from were they are at the moment but who can tell? Would Renault improve to a level that they say the can? I think not; it will be the same next season for poor Ricciardo.

      Judging by the Honda's consistency in the ability in upgrading their PU output it seems that they are the most improved PU supplier this season. The amount of effort that is going on between Honda and Redbull must be tremendous so they might be serious competitors next year. I wouldn't bet against it.

      • + 1
      • Oct 22 2018 - 13:31
    • It depends. According to Renault, their 2019 spec will be completely revamped for next year, so I believe they will gain some degree of power for next year. I havent heard much from Honda, though I think they seem pleased with the base of their pack and will probably settle with iterating on it. However, I agree with Boudy, and would like to rerererepeat what I've said before: Honda has repeatedly, ever since its return to F1, showed a distinct willingness to release upgrades and tweaks across a season from season to start, whereas Renault tend to fade after the midseason point. So even if Renault start stronger next year, I have more faith in Honda in delivering until the endpoint. In theory at least. But hey, Im a major league nippon-tard, so thats a given.

      • + 0
      • Oct 22 2018 - 17:56
  • It was oddly satisfying to see Kimi get a win while going to depart the team. Verstappen showed that, it would be a curb stompt if he gets into a car with a calibre of Merc. Both Hamilton and Vettel looked weak racing him.

    • + 1
    • Oct 22 2018 - 03:53
    • xoya

      Posts: 462

      To be completely honest, Hamilton didn't really need to push all that much and risk a DNF. He has the title wrapped up.

      • + 0
      • Oct 22 2018 - 08:33

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