Lewis Hamilton’s 32nd grand prix victory makes him Britain’s most successful F1 driver in terms of race wins.
It moves him ahead of Nigel Mansell on the all-time winners list. Hamilton is now level with Fernando Alonso, who had already taken 15 wins when Hamilton made his grand prix debut as Alonso’s team mate in 2007.
Hamilton became only the seventh driver in F1 history to win five races in a row. The others to have done so are Sebastian Vettel, Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell.
It was also his tenth win this year, and Mercedes’ tenth one-two this season. That equals the record set by McLaren in 1988, though that was during a 16-race season. Mercedes have two events left in this 19-race championship to improve on that record. Their 27th victory also puts them level with Benetton.
While Hamilton has won ten times this year, Rosberg has the same number of second places. He’s leading on pole positions, however – this was his ninth this season, guaranteeing Hamilton will not end the year with more. It was the 13th of Rosberg’s career, putting him level with Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jacky Ickx, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Webber.
Vettel took the fastest lap – the 24th of his career, putting him level with Niki Lauda. That ended a ten-race streak in which every fastest lap had been set by a Mercedes-engined car.
Going into this weekend Vettel had set pole position on both F1’s previous two visits to the Circuit of the Americas. But his power unit penalty ended that run, forcing him to start from the pits. He made a perfunctory run in Q1 and was eliminated – the first time he had gone out that early since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil gave Sauber their best qualifying position of the year so far, taking ninth on the grid after penalties. Unfortunately he retired in a collision on the first lap of the race – just as he did on his only other start at this track 12 months ago.
For the fifth time in the last six races, McLaren were the fastest team in the pits.
Double points creates unprecedented situation
Daniel Ricciardo went into this race as the only driver able to keep the Mercedes drivers from winning the title. Although he joined them on the podium, and extended his run of consecutive points finishes to 15, he is now out of championship contention.
Rosberg’s 24-point deficit means he can no longer rely on just beating Hamilton to take the title. If he wins the two remaining races, second places in both will assure Hamilton of the championship.
However the controversial double points final round has created an unprecedented situation in this year’s championship. Although the title remains undecided, it cannot be settled in the penultimate round in Brazil this weekend – something which has never happened before.
F1 cars beat the 2013 pace
For the first time this year the pole position time was quicker than it had been the previous year in a case where both sessions ran in dry conditions. Rosberg’s 1’36.067 was 0.271s faster than Vettel’s 2013 pole position time, and just four tenths of a second off the track record set in 2012.
The new cars began the year 3.4 seconds off the 2013 pace. Some, like Jenson Button, suspected they would regain all of that deficit by the end of the year.
Have teams regained the performance they lost with the change in engine and aerodynamic regulations? That’s probably only a small part of the explanation. Improved grip levels at the circuit and a softer tyre allocation supplied by Pirelli – who brought their soft tyres to the Circuit of the Americas for the first time – likely played a greater role.
Maldonado racks up penalties
The stewards were kept busy during the race, notably by Pastor Maldonado, who picked up two during the race taking him to a total of ten for the season. As in 2011 and 2012, he is on course to end the year with the most penalties of any driver. But it wasn’t all bad news for the Lotus driver, as he picked up his first points of the season.
Esteban Gutierrez became the tenth different driver to collect a penalty point. Maldonado has the most with five, as does Marcus Ericsson, who was absent due to Caterham not being able to make the race.
The absence of Caterham and Marussia left F1 with its smallest entry since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. On that occasional the usual 20-car grid was depleted because BAR had been banned for two races due to a technical infringement.
Review the year so far in statistics here:
- 2014 F1 championship points
- 2014 F1 season records
- 2014 F1 race data
- 2014 F1 qualifying data
- 2014 F1 retirements and penalties
- 2014 F1 strategy and pit stops
- 2014 F1 driver form guides
Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the United States Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.
2014 United States Grand Prix
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- 2014 United States Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2014 United States Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
- Top ten pictures from the 2014 United States GP
Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty