I've proved people wrong, says Raikkonen after stunning Austin win

Dean Simpson
October 22, 2018

But instead of starting Sunday's race from second with a real chance to make it a fight, Vettel will start from fifth because of a three-spot grid penalty issued Friday when race officials said the German drove too fast while under a red flag in a practice session.

Seconds later, Vettel - who had been demoted to fifth position on the grid - went past Daniel Ricciardo, which would have put just one auto between himself and Hamilton, but touched wheels with the Red Bull and spun out, dropping down to 15th place.

Hamilton looked on course to secure the title as he led with 19 laps remaining in Austin, but his soft tyres were unable to keep him in front and he was forced to pit for a second time late in the race - handing victory to Kimi Raikkonen. Too many question marks on how some races or championships were won.

Hartley started last on the grid for this morning's US Grand Prix in Texas after his Toro Rosso team was relegated for exceeding the allowable number of engine changes this season.

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Hamilton will clinch his fifth drivers' title if he can outscore Vettel by eight points.

"It was a good race, pretty happy with that, did some really good passes, great first lap, did everything I could with the pace and P 10 (10th place) was a bit far away".

"I think people don't understand I'm actually very happy with where I'm going", he said.

Hamilton, he said, was completely different.


That gap could be just big enough to guarantee Hamilton wins the season championship.

But Hamilton and Mercedes appeared to grab back the initiative when they made a decision to pit under an early virtual safety auto period on lap 11, when the cars are controlled to a certain lap time.

"I thought we'd be able to do better, but this is the best we could do in the end", he conceded. In short, he has to finish within seven points of Hamilton today or the number 44 driver takes his fifth title.

Mercedes pulled the trigger for a second stop, switching Hamilton to a fresh set of soft tires at the end of Lap 37, dropping him to fourth behind Bottas, Verstappen and new leader Raikkonen and only four seconds ahead of Vettel.


That dropped him to fourth, and while team-mate Bottas was ordered out of his way, there was nothing Hamilton could do about either Verstappen or Raikkonen. Getting around that group and still keeping Hamilton close will be hard.

Daniel Ricciardo thinks that what Lewis Hamilton has been able to do on and off the track in 2018 shows that winning championships in Formula One is not simply about having the best machinery.


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