Lewis Hamilton led from start to finish to win the 2016 Formula One United States Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday.
Hamilton had a great start and was never threatened, while Rosberg drove conservatively after passing Ricciardo, knowing he could afford a few second-place finishes on his way to the world title.
As F1's official Twitter account shared, the win was a special one for Hamilton:
Here's a look at the race results:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||56||+19.692s|
|5||Fernando Alonso||MCLAREN HONDA||56||+93.953s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||56||+96.124s|
|7||Felipe Massa||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||55||+1 lap|
|8||Sergio Perez||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||55||+1 lap|
|9||Jenson Button||MCLAREN HONDA||55||+1 lap|
|10||Romain Grosjean||HAAS FERRARI||55||+1 lap|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||RENAULT||55||+1 lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||55||+1 lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||RENAULT||55||+1 lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||SAUBER FERRARI||55||+1 lap|
|15||Felipe Nasr||SAUBER FERRARI||55||+1 lap|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||55||+1 lap|
|17||Pascal Wehrlein||MRT MERCEDES||55||+1 lap|
|18||Esteban Ocon||MRT MERCEDES||54||+2 laps|
|NC||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||28||DNF|
|NC||Esteban Gutierrez||HAAS FERRARI||16||DNF|
|NC||Nico Hulkenberg||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1||DNF|
The drivers' championship standings:
|Drivers' Championship Standings|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||227|
|6||Max Verstappen||NED||RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER||165|
|7||Sergio Perez||MEX||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||84|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||81|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||54|
|10||Fernando Alonso||ESP||MCLAREN HONDA||52|
|11||Felipe Massa||BRA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||49|
|12||Carlos Sainz||ESP||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||38|
|13||Romain Grosjean||FRA||HAAS FERRARI||29|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||TORO ROSSO FERRARI||25|
|15||Jenson Button||GBR||MCLAREN HONDA||21|
|18||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||MRT MERCEDES||1|
|19||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||MCLAREN HONDA||1|
|20||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||HAAS FERRARI||0|
|21||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||SAUBER FERRARI||0|
|22||Felipe Nasr||BRA||SAUBER FERRARI||0|
|23||Rio Haryanto||INA||MRT MERCEDES||0|
|24||Esteban Ocon||FRA||MRT MERCEDES||0|
Poor starts have been a recurring theme for Hamilton throughout the season, but the defending world champion did what he had to do on Sunday, holding off Rosberg into Turn 1.
As Autosport Live tweeted, the wide turn allowed Ricciardo to move into P2, setting up the perfect scenario for Hamilton:
In the background, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat made contact. Nico Hulkenberg also took a hit, suffering damage to the front of his car as he dropped to last place. The German was forced to retire after just a single lap.
Hamilton's lap times were consistently faster than those of Ricciardo early, and he soon opened up a gap, with Rosberg unable to get past the Australian and open the hunt. Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen completed the top five.
By Lap 7, Hamilton already had a three-second lead over Ricciardo, who boxed the following lap to get rid of his supersoft tyres.
Per Sky Sports F1, Rosberg wasn't too happy when his pit crew told him they were going for the long game:
Mercedes quickly changed their minds and pulled Rosberg into the pit lane to swap to medium tyres. Hamilton pitted a few laps later, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel taking the lead. Crucially, Hamilton didn't join Rosberg on medium tyres but instead fitted another set of softs.
Following Vettel's stop, Hamilton regained the lead, while Verstappen made his way past Raikkonen and started chasing down Rosberg. The Dutchman set a new fastest lap and seemed to be closing in fast, but as shared by Mercedes' official Twitter account, trouble appeared to be brewing in the sky:
Sandwiched in between Ricciardo and Verstappen, Rosberg could only watch as Hamilton gradually increased his lead toward the five-second mark.
The Dutchman briefly attacked Rosberg, but per F1's official Twitter account, Red Bull team leaders soon reminded him to look after his tyres:
He eventually backed off, taking some of the pressure off the current standings leader. Rosberg was the only man in the top 10 on mediums, and he started gaining on Ricciardo.
Behind him, Verstappen made the bizarre decision to pit despite his crew not being ready for him. To their credit, Red Bull managed to fit him with medium tyres rather quickly, but the damage was done, as the Dutchman fell to seventh.
His engine failed shortly after, bringing out the virtual safety car after 31 laps. Per F1 Fanatic, that in turn gave the Mercedes duo a free pit stop, costing Ricciardo:
After the race, Verstappen explained what happened, per BBC Radio 5 Live (h/t BBC Sport's Gary Rose):
The start was OK, we were starting on the soft (tyres), so had less grip, then we had too much front wing and we fixed it and it was going well.
I got past Raikkonen, and I enjoyed it and the pace was good and feeling fine.
Then the pit stop was my misunderstanding - I thought they boxed me - but luckily for me my retirement means I can't blame myself too much.
I didn't get a warning (on why his car failed) as soon as I exited turn 11 I heard a noise, and I had to park the car.
When the race resumed, Hamilton led Rosberg by 10 seconds, and Mercedes appeared to be cruising to another easy one-two punch.
The race progressed without major incidents or battles until Raikkonen pitted for supersofts, only to slow down to a halt on his exit. The Finn slowly rolled back into the lane and the garage, before retiring on the spot. It turned out he left the pit with a wheel gun still attached.
On top of that, his decision to reverse back into the pit lane drew scrutiny, per F1 Fanatic:
At the front, Rosberg barely gained on Hamilton, but he soon eased off, safe in the knowledge a second-place finish would keep him on course for the world title.
The Brit also slowed down toward the end of the race as he sought to preserve his tyres and engines, taking no chances whatsoever.
Felipe Massa suffered a late puncture, ruining Williams' race, but nothing changed at the front, with Hamilton easily holding off Rosberg.
While Hamilton will be glad to take the win, the result could have been so much better had Ricciardo held off Rosberg. As it stands, the German can finish every single race in second place behind Hamilton and still win the title.
With three races left to go, Hamilton will need to keep up the pressure in next week's Mexican Grand Prix and beyond.