Formula One: Hamilton takes pole position at US Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel German GP 2018

Sebastian Vettel German GP 2018

Hamilton started on pole position but quickly lost position to Raikkonen on the first turn.

A second stop on lap 37 opened the door for Raikkonen to clinch his first victory since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix - ending a winless streak stretching 111 races. He was on a slightly better tire than us at the end, so naturally a bit of a struggle.

Lewis Hamilton finished third at the US GP.

"I think the respect between us has always been there despite the fact that maybe we are very different".

If Hamilton wins, Vettel must finish no longer than second to keep the championship alive next week into the Mexican Grand Prix. "And being a great champion is more than just winning races", said the 47-year-old, who won his title with Williams.

Vettel criticized the penalty when it was assessed on Friday, but he refused to rehash his frustration after qualifying. "It should have been a better day", said Vettel. The Mercedes men delayed their first runs, but were soon back in command, Hamilton going quickest in 1:34.176, ahead of Bottas. "I think at the start, with the softer tyre, Kimi should have the upper hand but it depends on the temperature of the tarmac, but the difference [between how good the start is] can be in metres".

"That was very important, that was close", said the Briton as he waved at the throng of fans on an overcast and gusty afternoon at the Circuit of the Americas with rainclouds gathering.




But, on lap 11 and during a Virtual Safety Car period, Mercedes called Hamilton in for tyres, the only front-running driver to do so.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished on the podium in three of the previous five races, will start 13th after he damaged his auto in the first round of qualifying. After the result of today's race, the British driver now has a 70-point lead over the Ferrari driver.

He then staged a late charge over the final 19 laps from fourth with 12 seconds to make up.

Raikkonen dropped to fifth behind Vettel, who was yet to pit - they would shortly switch places, allowing Raikkonen to maximize his fresher rubber - and both were promoted to second and third once Bottas and Verstappen made their tire changes, with Valtteri losing a place to the Dutchman in the stops.

But he will start the race with a three-place grid penalty following a controversial stewards' ruling for speeding under red flags in opening practice.

Behind them, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Pierre Gasly, Brendon Hartley and Verstappen missed the cut to the top-ten shootout.

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