Raikkonen’s clueless Hamilton howler

KIMI Raikkonen lived up to expectations when he refused to change his customary laconic style after claiming his first Formula One win for more than five years.

The 39-year-old Finn, who triumphed for the first time in 113 races dating back to the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, could not resist an ultra-dry riposte at the expense of Lewis Hamilton.

Sitting in the green pre-podium room after the race, he leaned across to speak to the Briton, who was frustrated in his bid to clinch a fifth title and finished third.

“So, did you win the championship today?” asked the Ferrari man, who will be leaving for Sauber next year.

The delivery was so deadpan that the Mercedes driver was caught off-guard and muttered only a brief response.

It was a classic addition to Raikkonen’s collected quotations, a list that included his radio response to a Renault engineer: “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing.”

Raikkonen and Hamilton may both have been unaware of it, but Sunday’s race came exactly 11 years after the Finn’s victory and drivers’ title triumph for Ferrari in Brazil in Hamilton’s 2007 debut season.

That race ended the Englishman’s title dream for that season. Typically, Raikkonen played down his success on Sunday while all around him dashed around in celebration.

“It’s not going to change my life,” he said. “The champagne tastes the same. It’s no different to the last time on the podium.

“We always come to the weekend to do our best and if we do our best then we expect to be up there to fight for the win. We did it today. I felt confident and it worked out.

“I never really made such a big thing out of it. I’ve won races and a championship so it’s not like I’ve never done it before.

“One more would never have changed my life. Maybe others would looked at me differently, but it’s not everything. It’s nice for sure but it’s not everything. It’s not really life is it?”

“Did you win the Championship or Not?”? #F1 #USGP pic.twitter.com/kPJH2xSbvn

Raikkonen overtook the Mercedes through Turn One after lights out and didn’t look like stopping as he held off the rest of the pack in first at the iconic Circuit of the Americas.

Raikkonen’s win broke the longest win drought in the sport’s history.

Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel shot past Valtteri Bottas in the second last lap to claim fourth behind Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was expected to claim the championship this weekend after snagging pole but will have to wait until the Mexican Grand Prix at the end of the month before having a chance to raise his fifth Formula 1 crown.

“Congratulations to Kimi, and great job from Max too. This was the best we could do today, and it was great that we got to do some racing,” Hamilton said after the race.

Iceman wins in Austin!#USGP #F1 #Raikkonen pic.twitter.com/phEeLclwJ8

Daniel Ricciardo spiralled out of Austin after his Red Bull suffered a complete power failure in the 11th lap.

The Aussie was looking good for a podium finish after a solid start, holding his own in fourth behind Valtteri Bottas. The mechanical DNF is the departing Red Bull star’s fifth premature exit in 10 races and seventh for the season.

“Unbelievable,” David Croft said as Ricciardo threw his hands up in anger. “It’s like somebody switched off the lights.”

Finishing order

1. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/FER) 1hr 34min 19.000sec

2. Max Verstappen (NED/RBR) +1.281

3. Lewis Hamilton (ENG/MER) 2.342

4. Sebastian Vettel (GER/FER) 18.222

5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/MER) 24.744

6. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/REN) 1min 27.210

7. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/REN) 1min 34.994

8. Esteban Ocon (FRA/RAC) 1min 39.288

9. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/HAA) 1min 40.657

10. Sergio Perez (MEX/RAC) 1min 41.080

11. Brendon Hartley (NZL/STR) 1 lap

12. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/SAU) 1 lap

13. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/MCL) 1 lap

14. Pierre Gasly (FRA/STR) 1 lap

15. Sergey Sirotkin (RUS/WIL) 1 lap

16. Lance Stroll (CAN/WIL) 2 laps

Not classified: Charles Leclerc (MON/SAU) 25 laps Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/RBR) 48 laps Romain Grosjean (FRA/HAA) 54 laps Fernando Alonso (ESP/MCL) 55 laps


Intense podium scrap closes out stunning Grand Prix

#F1 – Full results of the #USGP ?? at @COTA ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/WtRIkJZcPc

Lewis Hamilton sat a single second behind Max Verstappen in second with seven laps to go at the US Grand Prix. The Englishman needed to at least finish second with Sebastian Vettel in fifth to claim the championship in Austin.

Vettel, on the other hand, sat under a second behind Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and threatened to take fourth to send the championship fight into next week.

“Prepare for world of pain,” Verstappen was told over the radio as Hamilton closed the gap to 0.7 seconds with three laps to go.

Hamilton made a stunning move on Verstappen in the 54th lap, moving inside before overtaking on the Dutchman’s outside. But it was all in vain as the Englishman ran his Mercedes off the track and let Verstappen reclaim a two second lead.

Behind them, Sebastian Vettel made a stunning charge on the straight behind Valtteri Bottas, running the Mercedes star wide before overtaking him for fourth.

Vettel gets past Bottas and puts Hamilton’s celebration on hold.#USGP #F1 #Ferrari pic.twitter.com/4VmXRr70lc


Hamilton pits, championship closing in

Lewis Hamilton dropped down to fourth after pitting a second time for fresh soft tyres in the 38th lap. He sat behind Valtteri Bottas, who has already let him past this race, with just 12 seconds between him and Kimi Raikkonen in first.

The Englishman will claim his fifth championship at the chequered flag if he can claim second place with Sebastian Vettel staying in fifth.


Here’s a reminder of what Hamilton needs to do to take a fifth title ?#USGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/MgppToPVZJ


Hamilton ahead, but there’s a catch

Lewis Hamilton blasted ahead of the pack with a 17 second lead over Kimi Raikkonen after the Ferrari’s late pit, but his tyres may not last the distance.

“Will Hamilton’s soft tyres until the end? I’ve asked Pirelli. They think it’s a bit dodgy and he will have to pit again,” Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz said.

Raikkonen closed the gap down to 10 seconds as Max Verstappen charged into third place with 20 laps left to go.


Battle for first gets tense

Lewis Hamilton’s charge to reclaim first from Kimi Raikkonen got tense in the 20th lap as the Englishman sat inches behind the Finn.

Hamilton was showcasing superior pace on the straights but couldn’t squeeze past the Ferrari driver through the corners.

LAP 18/56

Kimi retains the lead, but Hamilton’s getting ever closer ?#USGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/tQIXhQ5RKC

Hamilton claimed the lead as Raikkonen took the pits, but rival Sebastian Vettel was hot on his tail as he slotted into third in a mad dash to send the championship battle to Mexico.

Red Bull’s daring call to pit Max Verstappen early paid off in the middle of the race as the Dutchman overtook Valtteri Bottas by a hair in the 26th lap as the Finn exited the pit lane.


Ricciardo fumes after another failure

A picture speaks a thousand words ?#USGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/hpgbpWA2R7

Daniel Ricciardo spiralled out of Austin after his Red Bull suffered a complete power failure in the 11th lap.

The Aussie was looking good for a podium finish after a solid start, holding his own in fourth behind Valtteri Bottas. The mechanical DNF is the departing Red Bull star’s fifth premature exit in 10 races and seventh for the season.

“Unbelievable,” David Croft said as Ricciardo threw his hands up in anger. “It’s like somebody switched off the lights.”

Sebastian Vettel used the opportunity to slip back into fifth place as the virtual safety car period wrapped up.


Max on the charge

Max Verstappen launched himself into fifth place by the seventh lap, gaining 13 spots in the first 15 minutes after starting down the grid in 18th.

He began chasing Daniel Ricciardo’s tail in fourth as the Aussie closed the gap for third with Valtteri Bottas.

Sebastian Vettel, recovering from a spin-out in the first lap, began showcasing Ferrari’s superior pace for the weekend and slotted back into eighth after dropping to 13th.


Hamilton pipped in huge start

Kimi Raikkonen threw a spanner in Lewis Hamilton’s championship charge seconds after lights out, overtaking the Englishman through Turn One to take first place.

Hamilton tried shutting out the Finn but his pace from the get-go was too good as he inched ahead and broke away from the pack.

But behind them, longtime Hamilton rival Sebastian Vettel was having another nightmare. The German star had to at least claim second to keep the championship race alive and looked good in the first lap as he climbed places, but a horror collision with Daniel Ricciardo saw him spin out and drop back to 13th by the third lap.

“If anything, it was Vettel giving Ricciardo a bit of a shove,” Martin Brundle said.

LAP 1/56


He tussles with Ricciardo, but makes contact with the Red Bull and drops to P15 #USGP ?? #F1 pic.twitter.com/OS7Dhl4rJ6


History awaits Mercedes’ Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton stands on the brink of history in Sunday’s US GP as the Mercedes driver closes in on a fifth world championship.

Hamilton will start the race from pole position after just edging out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel by less than a tenth of a second.

The Mercedes driver will be crowned champion if he outscores Vettel — who will be demoted to fifth on the grid — by eight points or more.

“I’ve just got to go out and do what l love doing,” reflected Hamilton.

Only two drivers — Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio — have previously secured a fifth championship in the history of F1.

But despite standing on the cusp of a landmark achievement, Hamilton has maintained a calm and relaxed demeanour since his arrival in Texas.

“I don’t know why that is the case. In some respects it is kind of scary,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“But the experience definitely helps — l am the third-oldest driver here.

“I know what l need to do when l get out there.”

Hamilton has the big advantage over his rival Sebastian Vettel.Source:AP

The Englishman is also wary of the threat posed by a Ferrari team which has rediscovered its pace and poise.

“They were obviously very quick,” said Hamilton. “This weekend, we’re pretty much on a par performance-wise.

“As Seb said, they’ve gone back on some of their potential updates and the car is better in the sweet spot and for us, we’ve not brought updates here so we’re on max downforce level here

“That’s great to see us so close and still I’m hopeful for the future to have more teams, more qualifyings like that, that are closer, but with more cars involved, that’s got to be the ultimate goal for Formula 1.”


Were Hamilton to convert pole position into a fifth US GP win in succession, Vettel would need to finish at least second to take the title fight on to Mexico next week.

The German’s grid penalty has complicated that task, but Mercedes remain adamant that the championship is far from won yet.

“Since a few days you guys have been talking us up and saying ‘this is almost done’ and ‘he has a hand on the trophy’. You either have the trophy in your hands or you don’t — and we don’t,” stressed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“I know from the points we are looking solid, but everything can happen in this sport. Ferrari have come back strong, it is what we expected, and that’s why I’d like to keep all options open for tomorrow (with tactics).”

Vettel will do all he can to stop Hamilton claiming the title.Source:Getty Images

And Ferrari themselves, buoyed by a relative return to form on Saturday, have vowed to attack the race with the goal of winning it.

“Anything can happen. We want to win. It would be better to start first but that’s not our position. It would be better to start second, but that’s not going to be our position. So we start fifth and go from there,” Vettel told Sky F1.

“I’m fairly open-minded. It’s a long race, hopefully we have got good pace and then anything can happen.”


If Hamilton wins and Vettel is third or lower

If Hamilton finishes second and Vettel is fifth or lower

If Hamilton finishes third and Vettel is seventh or lower

If Hamilton finishes fourth and Vettel is eighth or lower

If Hamilton finishes fifth and Vettel is ninth or lower

If Hamilton finishes sixth and Vettel is 11th or lower

If Hamilton finishes seventh or lower the title race goes on to Mexico

This article originally appeared on Sky Sports and was reproduced with permission.

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