Hamilton seals third F1 World Championship at US GP
Tropical storm Patricia swung by during the United States GP weekend and, from its periphery, dropped off enough rain to postpone qualifying to Sunday morning. But the race turned out to be thrill-filled, with shifting leads and advantages, and excellent show of driving skills in difficult conditions. And it was the one that sealed the championship title for Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
When the race started, Hamilton quickly took the lead from teammate, Nico Rosberg, who started in pole, and forcing him to go wide while giving the charging Red Bulls, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, the chance to push Rosberg further down to fourth.
With the remnants of the rain on the track, the Red Bulls had faster pace and offered real threat to the Silver Arrows, and the four were locked together in the first 19 laps. But as the track dried, the Red Bulls fell back, leaving the two Mercedes drivers to battle it out.
Rosberg had never drove better and quickly took control. After pitting for fresh tyres during a virtual safety car period, he looked set to win the race and deny Hamilton the world championship title for one more race. But, with 15 laps to go, Kvyat lost control at Turn 19, which deployed the safety car and gave Hamilton the opportunity to pit and rejoin behind Rosberg.
With 10 more laps to go and now having the fresher tyres, Hamilton had the stronger advantage. Rosberg lost traction coming out of Turn 12’s hairpin, and as he ran wide off-track, Hamilton swooped past into the lead and, finally, to victory, claiming the race as well as becoming the only other British driver, besides Sir Jackie Stewart, to have three F1 drivers’ title under his belt.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could have delayed the crowning of the world champion until Mexico if he had come in second, but he only managed third after Rosberg.
“It’s difficult to find the words really. I owe it all to my dad and family who supported me all these years and sacrificed so much,” Hamilton said. “It’s a very humbling experience, especially to equal Ayrton Senna (on winning three world titles) – I feel very blessed today….It’s the greatest moment of my life. I pushed and pushed – I hope I can inspire people to never give up.”