The US Grand Prix might have been overshadowed by the absence of Marussia and Caterham, but by the end of the race, the conversation was all about the on-track action. Just as it should be.
Everyone expected a private battle at the front between the Mercedes’ of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. And so it turned out to be.
Hamilton arrived at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas holding a 17-point advantage in the Drivers’ Championship. He set the pace in practice, but it was Rosberg who took pole, with a blistering lap 0.376 seconds faster than second-placed Hamilton could manage with brake issues.
Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa locked-out the second row of the grid. Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso lined up fifth and sixth, with Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen filling out positions seven to nine.
Adrian Sutil grabbed attention, dragging his Sauber up to a season-best tenth. Likewise, Pastor Maldonado had his best qualifying so far this year, taking 11th.
Starting on the clean side of the grid, Rosberg got the best start to lead the field. But he was unable to make the break, Hamilton following less than a second behind.
Rosberg pitted for fresh tyres first on lap 15; Hamilton followed suit on the next tour and rejoined just under three seconds off the lead. He set about hunting Rosberg down and made his move up the inside of Turn 12, apparently catching the German unawares.
After that, Hamilton got his head down and controlled the pace to win by over four seconds. He extends his championship advantage over Rosberg to 24 points, though with 75 points available from the last two races, the fight is far from over.
As a nice little bonus, the win took Hamilton’s tally to 32, giving him the all-time record for a British driver. Nigel Mansell had held the accolade for 11 days short of 20 years since the 1994 Australian GP.
Ricciardo finished third, having slipped to sixth at the start. After an early safety car period, the rising Red Bull star dived up the inside of Alonso into Turn 1, then passed the two Williams’ as they made their stops.
Bottas and Massa finished fourth and fifth, consolidating their team’s third place in the Constructors’ Championship. Alonso took sixth, ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel had an up-and-down race after starting from the pit lane, as a penalty for using his sixth engine of the season. Despite multiple stops, he battled into the top ten, then dropped down the order at his last stop. But he charged on new tyres to finish seventh.
Kevin Magnussen took eighth ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Maldonado scored his first point of the season with tenth.
The 2014 Formula 1 season continues at the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on 9 November.
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US Grand Prix results after 56 laps
- Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — 1h40m04.785s
- Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — +4.314s
- Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — +25.560s
- Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +26.924s
- Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +30.992s
- Fernando Alonso — Ferrari — +1m35.231s
- Sebastian Vettel — Red Bull-Renault — +1m35.734s
- Kevin Magnussen — McLaren-Mercedes — +1m40.682s
- Jean-Eric Vergne — Toro Rosso-Renault — +1m43.863s
- Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Renault — +1m47.870s
- Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Renault — +1 lap
- Jenson Button — McLaren-Mercedes — +1 lap
- Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — +1 lap
- Esteban Gutierrez — Sauber-Ferrari — +1 lap
- Daniil Kvyat — Toro Rosso-Renault — +1 lap
- Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — 16 laps (Engine)
- Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — 1 lap (crash damage)
- Adrian Sutil — Sauber-Ferrari — 0 laps (crash)