Lewis Hamilton’s march to his fifth F1 Drivers title was delayed by Raikkonen’s win in Austin last weekend where a strategic error cost Hamilton the win
The Mexican Grand Prix this weekend should see Hamilton clinch the title as he only needs five points to triumph.
Kimi Raikkonen won an outstanding United States GP ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton’s title coronation delayed for at least a week.
Hamilton pitted from the lead of the race with 20 laps remaining but couldn’t pass Verstappen, who started in 18th, and Raikkonen for the race victory he required to secure a fifth world championship.
In the race’s decisive moments, Sebastian Vettel collided with Daniel Ricciardo while Raikkonen passed Hamilton off the line and Ferrari then elected not to pit the Finn under a Virtual Safety Car period.
When Mercedes called in Hamilton for a cheap stop, it appeared that the world champions had pulled off a strategic masterstroke. But with Hamilton unable to make his tyres last after being held up by Raikkonen prior to the Finn’s only stop, a second visit to the pits demoted the Englishman to fourth.
“We made it so hard for ourselves,” Hamilton admitted. “I’m not really quite sure how the strategy ended up like that.”
Although team-mate Valtteri Bottas swiftly pulled aside to let Hamilton through, the championship leader was unable to pull off the overtaking moves required to wrap up the title.
In a dramatic conclusion, Hamilton slipped off track when he tried in vain to pass Verstappen before backing out. But with Vettel rounding Bottas on the final lap, only victory would have been sufficient in any case for Hamilton to conclude the title race.
“Ferrari did the better job, they were quicker today,” said Hamilton.
The key point about the weekend was that Ferrari regained their pace and were faster than Mercedes and ow head to a track where Mercedes struggled last year and, twisty stadium section apart, suits outright pace with long straights. If it wasn’t for Vettel’s persistent run of mistakes, the latest of which in Austin on the first lap pushed him right down the field and into a recovery drive he would be favourite here. Instead he is available at 6/4 with Bet365 and should be supported