In Summary
  • It meant that the start of the race would be particularly exciting given the lengthy incline to Turn One and the extensive width of the road
  • Hamilton, who had deliberately disregarded calls to pit in favour of a lengthy first stint, then pitted for his one and only stop changing from the mediums to the hards
  • The end result was Hamilton getting to the chequered flag less than a second ahead of Verstappen but well behind his teammate

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton finished second at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) but still emphatically managed to seal his sixth drivers' world championship to secure his place as the second most decorated Formula One driver.

Hamilton is now just one title shy of matching Michael Schumacher's record, which for a number of years, had seemed beyond reach for the current crop of drivers.

His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, succeeded in denying him a sixth win at COTA but could do nothing to stop the Brit from getting his sixth title.

The pair had contrasting fortunes in qualifying, with Bottas claiming pole ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by a margin of just 0.012 of a second. Hamilton, caught out by time, could only manage fifth.

Behind Vettel was the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, and next to him, his age-mate, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

It meant that the start of the race would be particularly exciting given the lengthy incline to Turn One and the extensive width of the road.

Bottas launched well and so did Verstappen.

The same, however, cannot be said of Vettel who had Verstappen already side by side with him within seconds, with the Dutchman swooping past on the outside of Turn One.

Hamilton made up a place by the first turn, passing Leclerc and then making a delightful move on the outside of Turn Eight to overtake the German.

Leclerc also passed his teammate seconds later which left one wondering what was wrong with the four-time world champion's car.

BOUNCED OFF

A lock-up before the first lap was over saw McLaren's Carlos Sainz squeeze past Vettel too. Sainz had managed to emerge unscathed in a Turn One incident despite him and Leclerc sandwiching Red Bull's Alexander Albon to the extent that the Red Bull bounced off the ground and had to be 'treated' in the pits at the end of that lap. Stewards deemed it a racing incident.

By the sixth lap of the race, Bottas was already two seconds clear of Vettel.

Two laps later, the German had a spectacular failure of suspension that ended his race. On the 13th lap, Hamilton was within DRS range of Verstappen but then Red Bull opted to roll the dice and pit the Dutchman, believing that the move was necessary to stay ahead through a two-stop strategy.

Bottas was pitted in the next lap so Hamilton inherited the lead.

Such was the gulf in speed between the Finn and Leclerc that two laps after exiting the pits, Bottas overtook the Monegasque.

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