Hamilton closer to title after US GP

And a boycott that didn’t happen.

Flags bearing Lewis Hamilton’s name were waved in the grandstands in Austin, just outside of Texas, and the Brit didn’t disappoint. Hamilton caught teammate Nico Rosberg unaware, diving up on the inside on lap 24 and taking over the lead. The victory is his 10th of the season, propelling him 24 points ahead of Rosberg for the fiercely contended championship title. But, even if his winning streak continues until the Brazilian GP next week, the second last race of the season, there is a chance that he will be denied a second title (his first was in 2008) as a new 2014 ruling awards double points at the last race in Abu Dhabi – this means that a win adds 50 points to the tally instead of just 25.

Not surprisingly, Rosberg was in favour of the rule change which effectively gives him a chance at winning the title. “For me it’s great to hear because there’s a definite shot at the championship,” he said.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished third for the fifth time this year, but despite a valiant performance this season, he is out of contention for the title.

It was an exciting race, despite there being only 18 cars on the Texan grid. Notably absent were Caterham and Marussia; both were forced to drop out of the race after they entered administration. Concern over the future of the sporting event clouded the race, which could see more teams drop out as they are unable to financially sustain participation (read also: Formula 1 – an unfair competition?). In fact, rumours abounded that Force India, Sauber and Lotus would boycott the Sunday race or pull out after one lap.

“We need them if they are going to be there performing properly and not moving around with begging buckets,” Bernie Ecclestone told Sky Sports F1 when commenting on whether it was important to include smaller teams alongside the big ones. Well, the boycott didn’t happen but the discontent remains.

Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder of F1, held a media conference at the Circuit of the Americas to address the issue. “Frankly, I know what’s wrong but don’t know how to fix it,” he said. “No one is prepared to do anything about it because they can’t.” Ol’ Bernie was referring to the complex commercial agreement that the teams have signed, effective until 2020. He had earlier hinted that the grid could even shrink to only 14 cars next season.

image: usatoday.com

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