Finnish driver Valteri Bottas needed a miracle in the three races going into the United States Grand Prix to have any hope of winning the Drivers’ World Championship ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Unfortunately for him however, despite his maiden win at Austin, Texas, it was the Brit who took the title for the 2019 season at one of his favourite tracks on the circuit.
Unlike in Mexico, Mercedes looked very comfortable on the Circuit of the Americas from free practice one. Bottas and Hamilton were consistently among the fastest times on the circuit as were their main competitors – Ferrari and Red Bull. Hamilton did, however, run into a little bit of trouble in final qualifying as he seemed to be a touch slower compared to some of his rivals. Bottas, however had no such issues, qualifying on pole position – just 0.012 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was a distant fifth with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc ahead of him.
The two Mercedes cars were helped out massively at the start of the race as Sebastian Vettel felt his car understeer “like crazy” from the get go, whilst Charles Leclerc somehow never found good pace in his car – the one thing Ferrari had going for them this season. After Verstappen in Mexico, it was disaster in lap one for Red Bull teammate Alex Albon as he found himself in a collision with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz on turn one and had to pit to repair damages to his front wing.
The race soon turned into a three-way competition as Hamilton surged ahead into the top three behind Verstappen and Bottas. With Bottas and Verstappen on two-stop strategies, Hamilton gambled on a one-stop to try and take the lead before being forced into some defensive driving at the end. Unlike Mexico however, the hard tyres were worse for wear in this race and as it went on, it became clear that it would get increasingly difficult to manage the hard tyres in the closing laps of the race for Hamilton. Eventually the Finn would get him on lap 52 while Max Verstappen also made a late charge for second – missing out to the Brit by 0.854 seconds.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 4, 2019
Ferrari meanwhile had troubles of their own. While Charles Leclerc was completely off-pace and had a fairly lonely drive to fourth, Sebastian Vettel broke his suspension riding the kerbs and had to retire immediately from the race – a disappointing end to a weekend that promised more for the German. Red Bull’s Alex Albon was voted driver of the day for his recovery drive from 20th to 6th on a three-stop strategy. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Niko Hulkenburg both finished in the points, as did the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez in the Racing Point finished 10th to round off the top half after Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was penalised for a last lap collision with the Mexican and pushed down with a five-second penalty.
The story of the day, however, was Lewis Hamilton and his title win at Austin, Texas in front of his family. Speaking after the race, he said, “It’s beyond surreal that my life journey has brought me to this point in winning the sixth title…I have my family with me. I don’t remember the last time my mum and dad and step mum and step dad were at a grand prix, and I don’t think I’ve had them at World Championship grand prix before. I am really happy to share that with them – the people who have been at the core of who I am and sacrificed everything they have for me to have the life I have to do and have this opportunity.” His sixth World title puts him ahead of Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, with just Michael Schumacher in front of him on the all-time list.
Last modified: 5th November 2019