Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Raikkonen takes first win since 2013 at US Grand Prix

2018 United States Grand Prix summary

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Kimi Raikkonen has won his first Grand Prix since Australia 2013, taking victory from second place at the US Grand Prix and thwarting Hamilton’s opportunity to take the title here. Max Verstappen came second from a back-of-grid start and Lewis Hamilton was able to take third.

Hamilton went into the race with a 67 point lead, needing only to extend it over 75 in order to win the world championship in Austin. However, Raikkonen took an early lead and maintained it, with Hamilton on a two-stop strategy, to take his first win for Ferrari since Belgium 2009.

Hamilton had taken pole at Circuit of the Americas, with championship rival Vettel relegated to fifth by a grid-place penalty incurred under a red flag during practice. This promoted third-qualifying Raikkonen to second place on the grid, from which he was able to get an excellent start and immediately take the lead.

Sebastian Vettel’s race looked to be turned to disaster on lap one, clashing wheels with Ricciardo at turn 15 and sending himself to the back of running after spinning off the track.

However, despite pitting to take advantage of a Virtual Safety Car brought out by Daniel Ricciardo’s car failing, Hamilton was unable to regain the lead from Raikkonen. He stayed out long on visibly degrading tyres that saw Raikkonen easily able to stay within a second pit stop of the Mercedes and able to control the race from just over halfway through.

Max Verstappen finished the race second, after a disastrous qualifying and subsequent grid penalty saw him start the race eighteenth. Having made up nine places on the first lap, he defended hard against Hamilton in the final laps of the race.

Vettel recovered from his early spin but could only make fourth place – preventing Hamilton taking the title here but doing little to dent the overall points lead held by the Mercedes driver.

Grosjean, Leclerc and Alonso all retired from damage taken to their cars during first lap incidents, along with Ricciardo’s power unit failure.

2018 United States Grand Prix reaction

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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82 comments on “Raikkonen takes first win since 2013 at US Grand Prix”

  1. My heart was in my mouth, AMAZING drive Kimi. Woooooo!

  2. Did I make out a bit of sadness on Kimi and Arrivabene? The team is replacing Kimi on his best year of his (Ferrari) comeback.

    1. @carbon_fibre – probably the realization they’re letting the wrong driver go, in 2019.

      1. @phylyp
        Vettels mental breakedown since Monza doesnt change the fact that Kimi is a second tier driver.

        1. A second tier driver who consistently brings the car home safely and has good good decision making skills trumps a first tier driver that drives like a third tier driver on many occasions.

      2. Keep dreaming @phylyp

        1. @rethla @sjzelli – not really… Kimi is a decent #2, and he might be better suited supporting Leclerc next year.

          Vettel is not going to be a #2, and if his driving in 2019 is anything like this season, then Ferrari are just squandering their opportunity.

          1. @phylyp
            Well clearly Vettel aint performing at his best right now and they are taking in a new potential number 1 driver. Leclerc is however untested and in case he doesnt turn out to be the next number one surely its better to keep Vettel for the time being than risk running a year with two number 2 drivers?

          2. “Kimi, Charles is faster than you..”

            “Fxxk off..!! I know what I’m doing..”

      3. @phylyp sigh, seems like it, doesn’t it? Vettel is doing himself no favours…

        1. Exactly! Again it seems Vettel didn’t achieve the points he could have. I’m glad Kimi won. It seems Ferrari had no choice but to let him win. If Vettel had been second or third then I’m sure team orders would have flowed.

          1. and we would understand. if we got over bottas letting ham go by, then we would have NOTHING to say if kimi let vet go. although, kimi winning is a win for everyone.

          2. There’s 0 real proof to sustain that! The fact is that VET did him a favour by letting him past, and it’s not the 1st time this season. So, all this RAI = no.2 is pretty much non-existent in reality, VET playing the role of no.2 succesfully. Plus, VET was a gentleman, he didn’t make the fuss RAI did in Germany with that radio chat in a similar situation!! Then, better talk about the disgrace Mercedes is. What they’re doing with BOT is something Ferrari never did with Barrichello, Massa, RAI etc.

    2. Sadness maybe, sentiment probably, emotions almost certainly. I think that many people within Ferrari were really happy to see Kimi take this win here @carbon_fibre

    3. @carbon_fibre @phylyp

      Well of course that would be silly. Raikkonen has been beyond mediocre since joining Ferrari. There are worse stats, but here’s one that’s relevant today:

      Wins: Joined Ferrari:
      Sebastian: 13 2015
      Kimi: 1 2014

      1. That’s not a fair comparison I think, you’re taking the one stat that has been eluding raikkonen, let’s take 2 other stats:

        Titles? None for each driver

        Podiums? Raikkonen 3 in 2015 (fair to not check 2014, vettel wasn’t there, but car was horrible, so I think 0), vettel 12; 4-7 in 2016; 7-13 in 2017; 10-10 in 2018 so far, so we have 2 very unbalanced seasons, 1 quite close and 1 very close, raikkonen’s big problem is ofc adaptability to the car, it was easy to notice at the first race that he liked the 2018 car more.

        Overall looks like 24-42 podiums, so ofc vettel has been better, he’s also younger and probably a stronger driver when both were at their peak too, but it’s not as one-sided as the win stat, where raikkonen went very close several times but never got one till today.

        1. Good points, and nicely presented, @esploratore

  3. Miraculous stuff. Immediate tears of joy once Kimi crossed the finish line and tension was finally over. Those last 10 laps seemed to go by so slowly…
    Forza Kimi, the greatest of the greats! Possibly the last win for Kimi, so better celebrate now like never before.

    1. Congrats @huhhii , finally vindicated! :D

    2. Do you remember just waiting for his engine to blow at interlagos ’07 after all the pain of the mclaren days @huhhii? This was almost as intense as that miraculous evening 11 years ago.

    3. @huhhii It was a stupendous race from Raikkonen. Not only won it, doing the number one driver job, he did the number two driver job as well by holding back Hamilton. Really happy for him that he got a race win this year.

      1. Good point about doing two jobs @david-br

      2. You see again ONLY what you want to see!!! You forgot about VET being a no.2 again to RAI!! It was similar to Germany, only roles reversed, yet VET proved to be a gentleman and didn’t make any fuss over the radio by asking the team to state clearly what’s he supposed to do!

        1. @mg1982
          That’s exactly the thing with FBoys like david-br, they only see what they want/allow themselves to see. He started off complimentary about Kimi, but it quickly deteriorated towards the sole purpose of his comment, namely bashing VET, so his hero HAM, slightly better and thus slightly more so his hero than his other subject of idolatry, VER, can look good and we should all agree with him.
          I just said it in another comment: In literally every comment he finds it necessary to either bash VET, idolize either Ham or Ver, blame Merc or combine them into one big FBoy comment.
          He can’t help himself.

          1. @krxx Can you stop this creepy stalking stuff?

    4. I felt the same, longest 10 laps ever!, i was just waiting for Hamilton and Vertsappen to get into a battle to give him some breathing room, thankfully it happened. Up to then they just seemed to be towing each other along.

      I just wanted to see Kimi win once more, it genuinely felt it wouldn’t happen again. Monza felt like the last chance and it was blown. Between Vettel needing the points for the championship fight it felt like no matter what happened, he would be forced to gift anything away, it really needed a race with Vettel to not be close so Ferrari could just let Kimi do his thing without getting the bad end of the stick just to maximise Vettels result. Thankfully things fell into place, he got that one more chance and converted it. Feels great. It probably will be the last one, but i’m just glad i got to see Kimi P1 again after all this time and after the circumstances before that have stopped him when he has had chances.

  4. Awesome job by Kimi, completely takes the sting out of Vettel losing the WDC.

    1. well im happy that you have found some silver lining. im no tifosi, but my GOD was this satisfying.

  5. Brilliant to see Kimi win again.

    Serious questions also need to be asked about Vettel’s reputation. I don’t know how many more years people can make excuses for him.

    1. 4 time world champion. 13 wins for ferrari in a 2nd best car (teammate only 1 win) . Yeh he’s had a bad run, but so did Hamilton in 2011, and verstappen at start of this year. Get over it.

  6. Come on Kimi :D

  7. Just leave him alone

  8. Kimi Raikkonen has won his first Grand Prix since Australia 2013

    I’m not crying, you’re crying *sob*

    1. Here buddy take my shoulder. I know it’s wet that’s ok, me too

      1. We’ve been through quite some rough times with Kimi, haven’t we?

        1. We did, but love conquers all things

    2. ive never been happier myself. and im not a ferrari supporter.

      1. Ahah, yes, same!

  9. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    21st October 2018, 21:44

    MWOOOOOOOAAAAAR!

  10. I too sensed genuine emotions from Arrivabene celebrating Kimi’s victory. Most loved driver on the grid winning is always a reason for us, die hard F1 fans, to shed a tear or two. My eyes watered today. I know this is probably his last one, but I’m still hopeful he might do it again in Interlagos, a track he’s fond of. Vettel is done for 2018, Lewis is already WC even if the maths still say otherwise. We are in for a treat till the end of the year, with everyone relaxed and enjoying themselves.

    And Kimi’s reaction after learning that Lewis wasn’t WC already is deserving of the best memes of the year, surely. :)

    1. all you guys talking about tearing is making me get a lump in my throat too.

  11. All Kimi needed for a win was Ferrari being behind him for once

    What a race! WHAT A RACE!

    Easily the best of the year.

    Bottas letting Hamilton past twice was a joke though. I miss Rosberg so much.

    1. @paeschli – it does seem like we needed Rosberg to retire for Vettel to come into title contention, doesn’t it?

    2. All Kimi needed for a win was Ferrari being behind him for once

      Such a YUCK comment! Be real and just give it to VET, Ferrari made him a no.2 by ordering him to let RAI overtake him! The situation was similar to Germany, yet VET did not make the fuss on the radio the way RAI did it back then, so he was a nice guy indeed. And in France VET played it the same way. Then, how about Monza, didn’t Ferrari back up RAI or what?!?!

      1. What fuss Kimi made? asking the team for clarification after the team said something that could be read as ambiguous.

        1. Btw, 15 years between first Kimi victory and this victory, an F1 record i think.

        2. Alex,

          MG1982 has been popping up everywhere with the same comment.
          He’s like one of those old time copying machines that keep on duplicating if someone forgets to switch them off……

      2. It was somewhere between annoyance and maybe even poking some dry fun at his engineer not wanting to straight up say he should let Vet past if you ask me

  12. Congrats to Kimi. Finally! He fought like a dog for that one and very well deserved.

    Merc choked today, when they stopped under the VSC it was obvious (to me at least) that they had committed to a stop. Yet, they allowed Kimi to close in to 8s before pulling the second trigger. Why? People talk about how Ferrari have thrown away some races, rightly so. Today, Merc where like “hold my beer”.

    Great recovery from Max, also helped by his team mate dropping out. Candidate for driver of the day but for sentiments sake I have to give to Kimi.

    Seb…. Another race, more mistakes. One has to wonder what on earth is going on with him.

  13. Get in there Kimi 😍😍 HAM fan here

    1. hamilton not winning the WDC today is such an afterthought after this.

  14. Here’s a serious question. Should Red Bull stop going for Q3? Seriously. Look at today. Say what you will, where Verstappen finished, Ricciardo wasn’t going to. For the past few races Red Bull has only really seemed competitive when they had that free tire choice. Why not start eleventh or twelth on the free tyre choice rather than fifth on a bad one? The few places Verstappen had to cover today (in that scenario) cost him ‘the win’.

    1. @hahostolze The difference between the top 3 teams and the rest, combined with Verstappen’s skill in passing traffic, does make that seem almost a viable option, though Mercedes seemed to have a very non-ideal strategy today, Ricciardo was out, and Vettel did his now customary pirouette.

      1. @david-br you mean to say one of F1’s two princes is…. a Spin Doctor???

        1. @mrboerns – I think it’s just been so long that he’s forgotten that you do donuts after the race.

        2. @mrboerns I think Toto Wolff has that job position jealously guarded :0)

      2. @david-br, I would agree that what it really emphasises is the difference between the top three and the rest of the field. I mean, for all the criticism that Vettel got for tangling with Ricciardo and dropping to the back of the field, the fact that he could then easily pick off so many other drivers to rise to 4th does really emphasise the gap between the top three teams and the rest.

        Ultimately, most of the cars that Verstappen passed on the track itself were cars that were a fair bit slower than him, with the passes on the two Mercedes drivers being through strategy – a strategic gain that might have happened anyway given that, as you note, Mercedes arguably went the wrong way on strategy today.

        1. Mercedes arguably went the wrong way on strategy today

          I think because they based Hamilton’s race on whatever Raikkonen did with the Ricciardo VSC, telling him to do the opposite of Raikkonen, stay out or pit, rather than sticking to whatever optimal strategy they had. Maybe it was a 2-stop anyhow, but surely not so early. Then the other stops for Bottas and Hamilton again seemed badly timed too. Credit to Ferrari for putting Kimi R onto ultras in Q2 and bouncing Mercedes.

      3. Verstappens moves were all done on the straights lol. It’s a 2 tier series. He had top 6 guaranteed. Ricciardo’s failure, vettels spin, a vsc, free tyre choice and a slow bottas gifted him 2nd place

        1. @kpcart I did actually mention the gap between the top 3 teams and the midfield. And I meant Verstappen’s skill in passing traffic in general, not that it was needed especially today, in answer to @hahostolze and his suggestion for Red Bull to avoid Q3 altogether as a better race strategy.

      4. Indeed, verstappen was always good at scything through traffic, ok the car advantage, but seems even better than the others who drive top cars do, and even in the “bad days”, bahrain 2018, time when verstappen was being criticized a lot for mistakes, you could see that in the first laps he was passing like 1 car every 2 turns until he reached hamilton, his speed and aggressiveness was never in doubt, just the number of mistakes, now seems like he passed that role on to vettel!

    2. Indeed hahostolze, orange-glassed-FBoy, RIC probably wouldn’t have finished where VER did. He would have finished ahead of him.

      Fellow racefans, beware whenever an orange starts his statement with “Say what you will”, “To be honest”, “To be fair”, etc. It will always be followed by some ridiculous statement in which will be professed that his teammate, prior to his technical misfortune, wouldn’t have beaten their precious anyway. When the tables are turned however, which despite their complaints last year has happened a whole lot less, they always point out VER was leading his teammate, so he would have beaten him.

      D E L U S I O N A L

      Now can we all say ziggoooooooooooooo, all together now, in unison.

  15. Glad to see Kimi win again. Maybe one more at Ferrari…

  16. First things first, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dimitrios, i come from Greece and i’ve been following F1 since 5 years old (1996). I am rooting for Ferrari and i am a huge fan of the Flying Finn. Today, we witnessed history!

    Here are some cool Raikkonen-facts:
    > He is now the only pilot to win on V10, V8, V6 & V6 Hybrids.
    > He is now the most successful Finnish driver in F1 (21 race wins to his name to Mika Hakkinen’s tally of 20 race wins).
    > He’s just got the biggest interval between two race wins-record to his name (115 races, 5y 07m 04d).
    > He’s just got the biggest interval between the first and the last win-record to his name (295 races, 15y 06m 28d).

    Feel free to add to that list. It feels good joining this community. I have been visiting this website since 2013, Kimi’s victory became the reason to sign up an account. :-)

    What an emotional day… It’s been a while, 113 races since Australia (2013)… Stellar defence, excellent tyre management, truly deserved win. What a way to close the second Ferrari stint. This year he showed us glimpses of his former self. Grande Kimi! Cheers everyone!

    1. What a nail biting race. If only we could get that type of racing more frequently…

      P.S.: The “neee-yeaow” guy was simply EPIC!

    2. @Dimitrios

      Excellent comment, thanks for the Kimi facts!

    3. @strife07 – very nice stats, I particularly like the one about him having won in V10s/8s/6s/hybrids.

  17. Great result for F1 today, a great 3 way fight at the top. Really pleased for Kimi, he drove really well today especially defending against Lewis the way he did. Very good drive by Max as well to get where he did, hopefully the Honda is good next year and he can join the fight.

    Merc and Lewis could have won it today, but think most importantly for them they took another big step towards the championship (all but certain now). It did seem like Lewis was playing it very cautious, on another day he would have launched a few of those moves down the inside.

    I think its a question of what if for Ferrari, the car is still very very good and realistically a 1-2 should have been achievable this weekend, the Merc pace was no-one especially with Bottas. If Ferrari and Vettel hadn’t imploded we could have been in for a fantastic finish to the championship which is a shame for the fans.

    So gutted for Riccardo, think thats 5 retirements in 10 races and something like 7 for the year, bet he can’t wait for this year to be over. Not sure next year will be much better for him really though

  18. Very happy for Kimi to finally get a win, I hope he gets another in the last few races as well!

    1. @garns – agreed. I surprised myself at how upset I was when Kimi lost the lead and the race at Monza, and this race has more than made up for it – particularly as he earned every part of his victory on Sunday.

      1. @phylyp
        Yes, for sure. I think in the first 3 races he was the best driver on the grid. Ferrari then backed Seb, and rightly so, so he has missed a few chances.

        There are two thoughts on him driving next year. 1st is he takes a drive from a young fella. 2nd is why he is still quick then why not keep driving. I agree with the decision not to keep him in Ferrari next year, maybe overdue, but I cant wait to see what he can do next year.

        Also guttered for Daniel for another DNF, 7 in 18 races goes back to mid 1980s for unreliability. Stats will show Max beat him easy this year, in quali yes, in races no. It’s been a season on two halves for both drivers.

  19. Let’s of sentimental feelings toward Kimi. Not me, it’s too little too late, 1 win in hybrid era in a top 2 car is not a good look. Even ricciardo has had 6 wins.

    1. Not saying Kimi totally dominated everyone or anything but You make it sound like all of the Hybrid era was a battle between Merc and Ferrari for no. 1 status though.

      Which might be kinda inacurate according to some…

  20. I think that today all Formula 1 fans are very happy with Kimi’s triumph. He has proven to be a good driver number 2 in recent years, but we can not forget that years ago he was undoubtedly a driver number 1. Unfortunately when he drive for the disastrous team McLaren lost the chance to win at least a couple of championships.
    On the other hand, some formuala 1 champion committed in a year as many mistakes as Vettel in this season?

    1. @jorge-lardone – I’m not counting mistakes to compare, but I recall Hamilton’s annus horribilis in 2011 (I think, or was it 2012?) when he seemed to be clashing with Massa as though there was some magnetic attraction between their cars, and other things just going wrong for him (e.g. tearing off a piece of turf and getting it stuck in the car). Of course, the difference there is that the blame there was probably shared between drivers, whereas with Vettel this year it seems most – if not all – of his mistakes have been of his own making, and a few of them unforced errors as well.

  21. Being a fan of Kimi’s since ‘01 and this was such great day! Knowing it’s probably his last win is sad, but it also brought back all the great memories of his glory days.

    1. Enough to make him Finn with most Wins

    2. It’s not sad to me, we have to be realistic, there wasn’t much chance to win since he rejoined ferrari till 2016, due to mercedes’ dominance, it’s actually surprising vettel managed 3 in 2015, finally he had some chances in 2017 and 2018 with a more competitive ferrari but something always got in the way, both his fault and someone else’s, and finally it all worked right, a great race, would’ve been sadder if it didn’t happen at all and the chance it happened in the last 4 races wasn’t high, especially with ferrari’s performance the past 3 races, it was a surprise they were back to being competitive here.

  22. Thoughts on the top 5 drivers:

    Kimi masterful race, perfect management, great move at T1.
    Max epic epic epic, please god Honda deliver next year.
    Lewis, strategy let him down, maybe could have made max move stick but was understandably cautious to a void a “Vettel” haha
    Seb, jeez, I could hardly believe he spun AGAIN his stock plummets race by race at this stage, here’s hoping Charles is the real deal.
    Bottas, so poor, passed by Vettel who was almost last at one stage and had a huge gap to real in! Ocon is getting his seat in 2020.

  23. I think Hazel Southwell should syndicate her race reports to all the F1 websites. I like the precise and objective impartiality. That’s rare.

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