Hamilton moves to within one title of Schumacher
It was a historic day for Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix as he became only the second driver in the history of Formula 1 to win a sixth Drivers’ Championship.
The Brit qualified a disappointing 5th, but after avoiding the potential chaos that turn 1 can cause, he made a superb move on Sebastian Vettel at T8 to sit in P3 following the opening lap.
Hamilton really wanted to win the race to claim the championship in the perfect way and tried a one-stop vs his team-mate on two-stops. However, he ran out of tyres in the closing stages and Bottas managed to pass him. Thanks to yellow flags for Magnussen, he could manage to hold Verstappen off for 2nd place.
At 34, the Brit is showing no signs of slowing down on or off the track. It’s been another fantastically consistent year from the Hamilton as he was too good for the rest once again.
He has to be a warm favourite to win the title again next year and equal Michael Schumacher’s record. Well done, Lewis.
Bottas keeps fighting until the end
The chances of taking the title battle to Brazil were extremely unlikely for Valtteri Bottas and that turned out to be the case. Nonetheless, he was absolutely outstanding at the weekend.
A brilliant pole position in an extremely tight qualifying session set him up with the perfect opportunity to collect a fourth victory in 2019.
A great start saw him remain in P1 and controlled the race perfectly in the early stages until Mercedes correctly called him in to prevent Verstappen jumping him. With Hamilton pitting only once, Bottas had to push very hard to catch him – twice. Nonetheless, he did it.
Despite Hamilton pushing him off the track as he attempted to overtake him on lap 51, the Flying Finn regrouped and got his team-mate on the next lap to take a well-deserved win.
It’s Bottas’ strongest season in F1, so far. He’s already beaten his biggest points total in a season and wins in a season with two races to go.
Bottas’ victory yesterday also confirmed 2nd place in the championship for him; that’s his highest ever finish. If the Finn can find a bit more next year, he can really take the fight to Hamilton.
2nd in @F1 2019 championship is my best season so far. With the positive momentum right now, I can’t wait for 2020. I love seeing and feeling the improvements that come with hard work with an amazing team. Thank you for all the support 🙏🏼— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) November 4, 2019
Never give up 💪🏼#VB77 @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/eeThyl3PZY
The close fight for 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship
3) Charles Leclerc 249
4) Max Verstappen 235
5) Sebastian Vettel 230
19 points cover the two Ferraris and Max Verstappen with just a couple of races left in the 2019 season.
While it has been a really up-and-down season for the Scuderia and their drivers, Verstappen has been excellent and extremely consistent almost all season; there has been a couple of exceptions, of course.
Ferrari’s mysterious lack of speed yesterday could Verstappen a potential opportunity to pip Charles Leclerc to 3rd in the standings. However, if they find the pace they had before their US nightmare, only a retirement for Leclerc will give Verstappen or Vettel a real chance to steal P3.
In what has been a seesaw battle throughout the 2019 campaign, who will come out on top? We’ll find out in a few weeks.
Tight midfield battles to be decided
As always in the Formula 1 midfield, there are still important tussles to be resolved at Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
9) Daniel Ricciardo 46
10) Sergio Perez 44
11) Lando Norris 41
12) Nico Hulkenberg 37
6) Racing Point 65
7) Toro Rosso 64
Daniel Ricciardo’s strong P6 finish in Austin moved him back of ahead of Sergio Perez in the standings. Lando Norris moved to within three points of the Mexican as he crossed the line just behind the Australian in 7th.
Nonetheless, Perez scored a single point following a pit-lane start and his amazing consistency since Racing Point’s car improvements could yet see him hold off Norris in the intense fight to finish in the top 10 in the championship.
Whatever happens, it’ll be a thrilling conclusion to another great scrap behind the top teams.
It’s even closer on the teams’ standings. A single point covers Racing Point and Toro Rosso – and after the controversy between Kvyat and Perez on Sunday (read more below), there’s plenty of spice left in this battle.
After Toro Rosso’s podium and P6 at Hockenheim, they were 11 points clear of Racing Point. However, very strong drives from Sergio Perez since the summer break has seen the British-based team turn the tables. Kvyat’s last-lap incidents in Mexico and COTA have cost Toro Rosso dearly, too.
Racing Point needs Lance Stroll to step up and help his Mexican team-mate at the final two events. If he doesn't, Toro Rosso could nick P6 back.
Old habits returning for Kvyat?
For most of 2019, Daniil Kvyat has managed to keep himself out of the headlines as the Russian has had a pretty solid return to Formula 1. However, last lap incidents in Mexico and at COTA sees him back in the news for the wrong reasons.
His lunge on Hulkenberg on the last lap in Mexico 8 days ago was a move that never really looked on and he put the German in the wall. Instead of finishing P9 or P10, a 10-second penalty saw the Russian drop to 11th.
Then on the final lap yesterday, he was involved in another incident with Sergio Perez. The Mexican left the door open into T15 with the Russian on much better (softs vs hards) and younger tyres. Despite this, Kvyat hit Perez and left Checo with a broken front wing. Once again, Kvyat crossed the line in the points but got demoted following another post-race penalty.
While his comeback has been pretty decent, incidents in recent races have left a slight mark on his 2019 season.
He’ll need a couple of clean races to finish the season well. The Russian also needs to show more pace as Gasly has had an edge on him at recent events, particularly in qualifying.