Lewis Hamilton has ended a win drought stretching back to July with an unassailable performance at the Circuit of the Americas. Starting from his first pole position at the Austin track, Hamilton led the field away cleanly and settled into a race of his own from the first corner onwards, leading almost every lap to take victory by four and a half seconds.
For Hamilton, who is fighting just to stay in contention of what many feel is already Nico Rosberg’s championship, his fiftieth career win was a crucial one. As the season approaches a string of races dominated by Rosberg last year, it was vital Hamilton assert himself at the US Grand Prix and turn the pressure back around onto his teammate.
But Hamilton was unable to do too much damage to Rosberg’s championship lead, as the German recovered from a bad start to finish second.
Having secured a front row start, Rosberg was aiming to do as his teammate had done to him before and jump Hamilton into Turn 1. But when Hamilton reached the apex first Rosberg was forced to try around the outside – only to find he’d left too inviting a gap for Daniel Ricciardo, who edged up the inside into second position.
But despite pulling away from Rosberg early on, Ricciardo’s race was compromised when Max Verstappen stopped beside the track with a gearbox problem and triggered a virtual safety car. With an effectively free pit stop in hand, Rosberg was easily able to regain second place from Ricciardo and then pull away on fresher tyres to a buffer of fifteen seconds.
The Silver Arrows’ respective results means the title battle closes up to twenty-six points in Rosberg’s favour – still a big enough advantage for the German to take the crown without winning again this season, but close enough for one DNF to open things right back up again.