Kimi Raikkonen, the most successful Finnish driver of all time, is back on the top step of the podium after Melbourne 2013 and wins a thrilling United States GP, where Mercedes' blistering and Vettel's first-lap error became decisive for the outcome of the race.
Kimi Raikkonen stormed to the lead at the start, edging out Hamilton and Bottas, while Vettel fought hard against Ricciardo for P4. Drama did not come too late, as Vettel spun after going wheel-to-wheel with the Australian and dropped to P14. Therefore, the German had to rebuild his race from scratch, in order to stop Hamilton’s quest to become a 5-time world champion in the USA.
Fernando Alonso leaves Austin with a DNF, caused by Lance Stroll at the start. The Spaniard complained about the Canadian, who was handed a drive through penalty and labelled as ‘impossible to race with’ by the McLaren driver.
Daniel Ricciardo’s race ended at the end of the 10th lap, as his car suddenly stopped in the S2, causing the Virtual Safety Car. Hamilton took advantage of it and pitted, doing the opposite of Raikkonen to get rid of the US and wear the Soft tyre. In the meantime, Vettel resurged to P5 during the 13th lap, while Raikkonen stayed out, unlike Hamilton did, and kept his tyres for longer than Pirelli had advised.
Halfway through the race, Hamilton’s tyres displayed blistering owing to the high temperatures, resulting in a significant performance drop. The Briton pitted for a second time in the 38th lap, handing the race lead back to Raikkonen.
The Finn lead Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton and his teammate Vettel. The Renault duo emerged once again as the best of the rest, with Hulkenberg and Sainz successfully keeping the Force Indias and the Haas behind.
Mercedes decided to sacrifice Bottas for Hamilton’s podium finish, allowing the Briton to chase down Verstappen for 2nd. In the closing stages of the race it went down between Hamilton, Verstappen and Raikkonen. The Briton tried to take advantage of Verstappen running wide, but he was forced to brake and run off the track. The bagarre between the two let Raikkonen breathe and open up the gap.
Sebastian Vettel charged to fourth in the penultimate lap, getting the position on Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari made a true statement in the final laps of the race, sending an important message after the rough time it went through.