Hamilton makes it 6 as Bottas takes victory - 2019 United States GP Review
Valtteri Bottas has taken the victory at the United States Grand Prix following an intense battle for the podium between himself, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton will get on the plane as a happy man as he seals up the championship two races early.
But it was Ferrari that struggled today, with an early race DNF for Sebastian Vettel and a lonely P4 for Charles Leclerc. But before talking about that, let's talk about the race!
Valtteri Bottas sat in P1 on the grid after out-qualifying Sebastian Vettel by 0.012 seconds on Saturday afternoon. The young drivers of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc started in P3 and P4 respectively, with Hamilton in fifth following a mistake in qualifying and Albon in 6th. As the lights go out, Bottas is able to maintain his position into Turn 1, but the McLaren's and Renault of Daniel Ricciardo get involved towards the front. Some contact between Sainz and Albon send the Red Bull into the air slightly, damaging the wing and floor of the car. Albon pits and drops to the very back.
As the pack settle down, we see some impressive performances by Ricciardo, Norris and Sainz who were in 5th, 6th and 7th at a time. This was due to an incident with Vettel that inevitably put him out of the race.
Sebastian Vettel had a rough start following a struggle to try and get his tyres up to temperature. The German was struggling with understeer until he ran over a kerb at the Turn 8 and 9 complex and his suspension snapped in the rear left. Vettel pulled over on the back straight and that was sadly the end of his day.
The race continued, with Daniel Ricciardo in 5th, Norris 6th, Gasly 7th and Sainz 8th - a very good thing to see the midfield so high up the field. Bottas and Verstappen pit around lap 15 for hard tyres, and Hamilton becomes the leader - staying on the mediums until lap 24. Hamilton was trying the one-stop strategy, whereas Verstappen and Bottas were on two stops.
For the second half of the race, the chase was on for Valtteri Bottas to overtake a slower Lewis Hamilton on older tyres. Valtteri was able to pass Lewis Hamilton on lap 24 before his stop, but then pitted on lap 36 of 56 for his second set of tyres.
The chase continued, and Hamilton was maintaining the gap very much like the previous weekend in Mexico, but in the end, Bottas was able to soar past his teammate on lap 52 after being forced wide the lap before - Hamilton didn't go down without a fight.
Verstappen took advantage of the squabbling between the two teammates to catch up, but was unable to close up to Lewis Hamilton by the end of the race due to double yellow flags at the end of the back straight due to Magnussen's brake failure (which caused him to get stuck in the gravel).
Looking back down the field, Charles Leclerc was a rather lonely 50 seconds behind the pack due to some struggles with the power unit. Perez was able to get past Kvyat a handful of laps before the finish; but had a collision with the Russian on the last lap after a rather aggressive divebomb from the Toro Rosso driver trying to take the place back. Daniil received a post-race penalty for the second race in a row, and Perez kept P10.
As the checkered flag drops, Albon crosses the line in a very impressive P5 - great damage limitation considering he dropped to the back at the end of the first lap. Daniel Ricciardo took an awesome P6 for Renault, and his teammate was able to get up to P9 after spending some time in P13 in the race. The McLaren's finished a brilliant P7 and P8, with Lando Norris outscoring his teammate on this occasion. Robert Kubica was the final retirement due to a hydraulics issue.
And that sums up round 18 out of 20 on this year's F1 calendar; as well as another championship! I would rate this race 6.5 out of 10, and would also like to congratulate Lewis on his 6th World Championship. I think a safety car would be the only way the race could have had a closer finish; but it was still a good race overall.
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