Hamilton denied in thriller at United States Grand Prix

Hamilton could only finish third in Austin in a dramatic race

Hamilton could only finish third in Austin in a dramatic race

But at Austin, Raikkonen drove faultlessly and unexpectedly stole the thunder of Lewis Hamilton, whose coronation as a five-time champion was delayed for at least one more week.

"Seb was unfortunate and had to fight his way back up the order after the collision on the opening lap".

"I lost position to him [Raikkonen], and then wasn't able to keep up because he had clean air and a better tyre". For sure my family will be happy, I'm happy to be with my family.

"It was a hard day and not our best".

"I'm still really happy", he insisted.

"The decision to come in for the first stop was a bit of a surprise, but you can't always get it right". We will go back to the drawing board and regroup. We were over par. "This was a double bogey". He has not won a grand prix since the Belgian Grand Prix in August and now needs to win the remaining three races and hope title rival Lewis Hamilton scores less than five points in the same period.

Despite that disappointment, moving level with the great Juan Manuel Fangio could come as soon as next Sunday when F1 rolls into Mexico City.

Mercedes - like Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo - advanced through Q2 on the supersoft tire on Saturday, ensuring all four drivers started on that compound.

When he left the pits for a second time, the message from his engineer, Pete Bonnington, was clear.

Indeed, Hamilton has retired just once this season, and has not finished lower than fifth in the 17 races he has completed.




The rampant Briton did precisely that as he delivered fastest lap after fastest lap to reel in both leader Raikkonen and Verstappen. Kimi Raikkonen was on the ultrasofts and made use of the extra grip to take the lead into Turn 1, and polesitter Hamilton believes the qualifying strategy proved costly as a two-stop strategy saw him finish third.

The water pump on Hamilton's vehicle was also replaced before the race after a leak had been identified on team-mate Valtteri Bottas' machinery.

Hamilton reckoned after the race that his initial pitstop on lap 11 came as "A little bit of a surprise" as Mercedes tried to take advantage of a virtual safety vehicle period.

Vettel, starting in fifth after he was penalised for failing to slow under red flags in practice, was out of contention for the win after just 13 corners.

He roared past Ricciardo, only to go too deep on his brakes at the end of the back straight and lose the position.

"Not where I wanted to finish, but I really enjoyed the race and getting to be in a battle with these cars with these guys was awesome", he said.

"Still to get a third, I'm still grateful for that - but naturally, starting first and finishing third is never a good thing".

Raikkonen, who turned 39 last Wednesday, becomes the sport's oldest victor since Nigel Mansell in 1994.

Marquez started from sixth but it did not take him long to find his way to the front of race.

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