USA F1 Grand Prix 2017 Results: Lewis Hamilton Wins, Title Race Moves to Mexico

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2017

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton cruised to yet another win in the 2017 USA F1 Grand Prix on Sunday, but because Sebastian Vettel finished in second place, the Brit won't be able to celebrate the world title until at least the next race in Mexico.

Hamilton needed to win and Vettel to finish worse than fifth, but the German drove a good race and made the smart decision to grab some fresh rubber after a second pit stop.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo retired with engine failure. Verstappen had started the race in 16th place and passed Raikkonen on the final lap, but he was promptly handed a five-second penalty.

The result means Mercedes have won yet another Constructors' Championship.

Here's a look at the race results:

     

Recap

The drivers were greeted to a special surprise before the race, as legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer had been flown in to present the field to the fans. Not everyone enjoyed the pre-race show, however, as shared by Sky Sports' Martin Brundle:

Vettel had an excellent start, overtaking Hamilton in the long run to the first corner, while Esteban Ocon snuck in front of Raikkonen. Verstappen could only gain one spot from the back, and Bottas stayed ahead of Ricciardo, despite some close calls in the first two laps.

Both Raikkonen and Verstappen swiftly moved up the grid, the former reclaiming fifth place from Ocon and the latter moving into 11th place in a hurry. Hamilton closed the gap to Vettel, moving within DRS range within the first three laps.

Hamilton and Vettel deepened their lead to six seconds, and the championship leader patiently waited for the DRS zone to make his move, passing Vettel with ease. Further back, Nico Hulkenberg had an early retirement, his fourth straight in the United States. The Grid Penalty dug up an old meme:

Ricciardo quickly lost pace compared to Raikkonen, Verstappen and Bottas and was called in for fresh rubber. The Australian set the fastest lap of the race on his return to the track but soon had to park his car to the side as his engine cut out.

WTF1 took a shot at Renault's engine struggles for Red Bull in general this year:

Vettel went for the undercut, with Bottas fast approaching, and after both returned to the track, the difference was just over two seconds. Hamilton pitted from the lead but only barely kept his position, with Vettel all over him after the stop.

As you can see in this photo, the difference was minimal:

Hamilton passed Verstappen without any incidents to reclaim the lead, while Vettel needed a little longer. Meanwhile, McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who had been running very well, suffered an engine issue that lost him his spot in the points.

Ocon and Sergio Perez continued their rivalry, with both Force India and Toro Rosso impressing in the battle for the points. Things were less exciting at the front, where Verstappen did everything he could to bridge the gap to Bottas and Raikkonen.

But Ferrari struggled with pace toward the final part of the race, and Bottas quickly gained on Vettel, lapping nearly a second faster. While most believed Vettel would go to a two-stop approach, Verstappen shocked everyone by diving into the pit lane before the German had the chance.

Motorsport.com's Pablo Elizalde loved it:

Verstappen immediately translated his new tyres into a fastest lap, while Raikkonen overtook Bottas and immediately created a gap. Vettel also increased his pace significantly and soon had the Finn in his sights. With six laps to go, he was in DRS range, but there was traffic on the track.

Vettel took Bottas into Turn 1 with five laps to go still, despite the presence of the lapped car of Stoffel Vandoorne. Bottas lost time in the move, and suddenly, he had Verstappen on his gearbox as well. 

Raikkonen moved out of the way for his team-mate, taking Vettel up to second, while Verstappen cruised past Bottas, who finally stopped for new rubber as well. The Dutchman somehow caught up with Raikkonen and claimed a podium spot on the final lap, but the penalty moved him back to fourth.

Hamilton now sits 66 points ahead of Vettel in the standings and needs to finish in fifth place or higher to claim the title in Mexico.

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