Hamilton wins US GP, Red Bull champions, Brazil to decide Vettel vs Alonso

19 November, 2012

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 celebrates in parc ferme.Formula One World Championship, Rd19 United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, 18 November 2012.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the United States GP

Nov.18 (GP247) In 2007 – the last time the United States held a Formula One Grand Prix, it was Lewis Hamilton who took top honours; fast forward five years and it was again Hamilton who stood on the top step of the podium, this time at the spanking new, purpose built for F1, Circuit of the Americas.

Lewis Hamilton United States GP winner

Lewis Hamilton United States GP winner celebrates on the podium

Up next were title contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, second and third respectively, meaning that the season finale in Brazil will decide the fate of the 2012 world drivers’ championship, but surely, the biggest winner in Texas is arguably Alonso who started seventh on the grid yet managed to keep his title hopes alive with another remarkable drive.

Driving his penultimate race for McLaren, Hamilton gave one of his most mature performances despite a sluggish start from the ‘dirty’ side of the track. By the end of the first lap he was third and tucked behind the Mark Webber, as the Red Bull’s led 1-2.

The McLaren driver piled on the pressure, attacking Webber until he managed to get by at the end of the long straight on lap four and begin his pursuit of Vettel. Prior to the first and only stop, Hamilton closed to within DRS range, but for some reason did not have the extra bit to take the lead.

The turning point came in the second stint, with the harder tyres bolted on. Amid traffic and backmarkers, on lap 42 Hamilton made the race winning move – a ballsy manouevre or ‘classic Hamilton’ if you are fan. With DRS activated the McLaren tucked under the Red Bull on the long straight, forcing Vettel to drift to the inside on the defensive, upon which Hamilton braked ‘later than late’ and swooped around the outside and into the lead.

The race was won there and then, but credit to Vettel who did not throw in the towel and was ready to pounce if Hamilton made even the slightest mistake on his way to the chequered flag, but the Briton never did.

Sporting a black stetson and speaking to MC Mario Andretti on the podium, Hamilton said, “First-time winner! I’m so happy. The fans were amazing, thank you. It was such a warm welcome and one of the best, if not the best, race of the year – especially for me and the team. It’s been a long time since we had a win. I’m so proud of the team and grateful for the support we’ve had.”

Hamilton, who was robbed of victory in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, explained how his luck turned in Austin, “I rubbed the car and said ‘Come on baby, we can make it’. To finish on a high is really special. Hopefully we can go to Brazil with the same pace. To have a battle with Vettel was really special.”

For Vettel, with Alonso third, even victory today would have not have clinched him his third title. What emerged is that in qualifying trim the Adrian Newey penned Red Bull RB8 is the class act, but in race mode both McLaren and Ferrari have cars to match energy drinks team.

Mark Webber Red Bull racing retires DNF United States GPA worry for Red Bull, as they head for the season finale in Brazil, will be the mechanical failure which resulted in Webber having to retire from third place. Nevertheless before the focus turns to next weekend in Sao Paulo, the Milton Keynes squad will be celebrating their third consecutive constructors championship. In doing so they  join an exclusive club of triple back-to-back winning teams, the membership of which is limited to themselves, Ferrari, Williams and McLaren.

Vettel, who heads to Brazil with a 13 point lead in the title race, summed up his afternoon, “It was incredible. I did my first race, five years ago, in the United States. It’s nice to come back for my 100th GP. It’s amazing the number of people we have had here all weekend. I’m happy for the team, we won the constructors’ championship, so thanks to all of you. Now we have another step to make in Brazil. In terms of the championship, it’s looking a bit better after today. It was a tough race. [Hamilton] had one chance and he took it. It was a great race.”

On the overtaking move which decided the race Hamilton reflected, “It was actually quite tricky. When I finally got close to him, I seemed to be catching him in the first sector, the backmarkers came into play, finally. How many times has it happened to me when I got caught out? [by backmarkers]. It worked out and I knew that was going to be the lap. I turned the engine up to maximise the revs, went for the inside, but he defended. I went to the outside and he closed the door a bit so I was very lucky.”

Sebastian VettelVettel gave his version, “I wasn’t too happy to send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I had to go [past] [Narain] Karthikeyan. He was right behind me in the DRS zone. He took that opportunity, fair enough, down the straight and he passed me. I tried to defend but I knew he would have so much more speed. I was obviously not too happy. Lewis had one chance and he took it. After that I tried to stay with him but there wasn’t much between us.”

Sporting a huge grin as he mounted the podium, Alonso knew that he had done enough to give himself another crack at stealing the title from Vettel. The decisive moment in his race came when he made the decision off the line to stick to the outside line around Turn 1. A risky move, leaving himself vulnerable, but in the end the split-second decision was the correct one, as from seventh on the grid, he emerged in fourth place exiting the first bend.

From then on he was never really able to worry the top two, but benefited from Webber’s demise which promoted the Spaniard to third and thereafter he was able to manage the gap to those behind him. In the end he was 39 seconds down on the leaders as they crossed the line, but was seven seconds up on Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa who finished fourth.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd19 United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, 18 November 2012.The Brazilian enjoyed one of his better afternoons after accepting a five place grid penalty for a would-be ‘gearbox change’, a move by Ferrari solely to promote Alonso to seventh on the grid and allowing him to start on the clean side of the grid.

From 11th Massa drove in the manner which reminded us that he was so very nearly world champion not all that long ago. His tussle with Kimi Raikkonen will be long remembered, particularly the  overtake on the outside of Turn 2.

Massa said, “For me, it was like a victory. For sure I was not happy this morning but we know how important it was. We know it’s not easy to find another driver who would do that.”

Fifth place went to Jenson Button, who was forced to work hard for the points as he was involved in several wheel-to-wheel skirmishes throughout the afternoon.

Abu Dhabi winner Raikkonen was also in the wars, the Lotus strong on the softer Pirelli tyres, but not quite as effective with the harder tyres bolted on. Nevertheless, sixth place was his reward, with team mate Romain Grosjean following him home in seventh also having endured a frantic afternoon in the cockpit…

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One World Championship, Rd19 United States Grand Prix, Race, Austin, Texas, 18 November 2012.The Frenchman was again his own worst enemy when he spun shortly after overtaking Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher, at the same time, in one stunning move, only to spin a few laps later thanks to a self inflicted mistake. Nevertheless, credit to him for not giving up, despite enduring the ignominy of another spin, later in the race.

Nico Hulkenberg gave another sensational qualifying performance, but struggled in the race with the Force India. The impressive German had some intriguing battles, with the likes of Raikkonen and Schumacher, on his way to eighth place.

Next up were the Williams pair of Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna, ninth and tenth respectively, who spent the entire afternoon nipping at each others heels, while battling with Saubers, Toro Rossos and Force Indias. That the two South American teammates did not take each other out will have been a relief to the team who witnessed them rubbing wheels on various occasions, throughout the afternoon.

The F1 circus heads to Brazil for the season finale, Round 2o of a long and grueling season, with the small matter of the FIA World Formula One Drivers’ Championship to be decided.

According to the BBC these are the permutations: If Fernando Alonso wins the Brazilian Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel finishes 5th or lower, Alonso will be champion. If Vettel finishes fourth, and Alonso wins, they will be on equal points, but Vettel will be champion as he would have won more races.

Underdog Alonso was philosophical about his chances come Brazil, “With a normal race in dry conditions, I think Red Bull will be 1-2 and us sixth and seventh, but in a wet race, anything can happen. We saw today [that] Webber retired. Sometimes it’s the alternator, KERS, brakes or water. It always happens on that car. Maybe in Brazil those problems will change [to the other car].”

Subbed by AJN.

United States Grand Prix Race Result, Circuit of the Americas – Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 Winner 2 25
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 56 +0.6 secs 1 18
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 +39.2 secs 7 15
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +46.0 secs 11 12
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 56 +56.4 secs 12 10
6 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 56 +64.4 secs 4 8
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 56 +70.3 secs 8 6
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 56 +73.7 secs 6 4
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 56 +74.5 secs 9 2
10 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 56 +75.1 secs 10 1
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 56 +84.3 secs 15
12 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 56 +84.8 secs 18
13 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 +85.5 secs 17
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 55 +1 Lap 16
15 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 +1 Lap 13
16 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 55 +1 Lap 5
17 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 21
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 22
19 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 55 +1 Lap 19
20 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 20
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 23
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 24
Ret 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 16 +40 Laps 3
Ret 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 14 +42 Laps 14


  • fools

    Great race!

    Thank you Hamilton

    and I pray for the rain Gods to appear in Brazil

    Alonso 2012 WDC!!!! Lets gooooo!!!!

  • McHare

    Lewis and Seb in a class above today. WDC should have been between these two. Excellent race where Austin and the good ol US of A should be proud.

  • Tony

    Let the best man win next week. Sorry Fernando. … It’s definitely not you.

  • Venezia

    To merc what a shame. It’s really the car and the constructor and they suck at it. From 5th to 16? What a disgrace. Schumi doesn’t deserve it!

  • Venezia

    Good for Hamilton and too bad for him he will have a bad car next year. He will regret it!

  • fools

    Haters talking smack they just scared Alonso will win the 2012 WDC and didnt think it would happen in Brazil…Especially being that there is a 60% chance of rain that day of the race…lol :)

    I cant wait till Alonso wins it…its in his hands now to do so including 2 DNF’s that wernt his fault and would be leading the WDC still and only 13 points shy from doing so is practically a massive talent to extract that type of driving. Which you haters seem to lack to understand Gotta love that haters.. :)

    Vettel choked hit the APEX curb and lost to Hamilton under pressure and could not work it back. He was exposed. I was hoping for a DNF on Vettel considering Mark’s crap car. If Alonso qualified better. Alonso would of took the GP win…You haters are lucky he started from 7th and being that he did and getting 3rd shows his incredible speed and poise and pure driving talent.

    Gotta love a Ferrari that never breaks down. lol :)

  • Butterfly

    Why does Fernando insist on using the “upgrades”, I don’t know. That’s two grand prix in a row where Felipe’s older-spec worked better. The new parts are slower in qualy and slower in the race.

    I guess using older spec means better setup – Massa’s perf shows that.

    Somebody should fire Nicholas Tombazis, STAT.

    Red Bull fully deserve the 2012 WDC, no doubt about that. Superstars.

    Not sure about Vettel. Bring on Brazil, and let’s hope Fernando has a chance to fight wheel to wheel with the faster cars.

    @McHare:

    Vettel’s car had wicked traction – Hamilton could barely keep up at corner exit. Still, he just had to complain to his engineer upon being passed – kids…

    @Tony:

    Yeah, whatever…

  • Butterfly

    @fools:

    Well, that showed why Vettel is not in the same league as Hamilton, Alonso, and Raikkonen.

    That Ferrari reliability is worth the car’s weight in gold. It really does.

  • AlonsoFan

    I just laughed my a** of when vettel compalined on the radio “stupid overtake”.I guess its unacceptable from a two time world champion to say something like it…
    well vettel somebody had to show Vettel that not evryone isnt a Webber or Button…Fernando still in the championship thank GOD for that and he will win it for sure..
    Fernando,kimi,Massa,button all drove superbly..shame for schumi to fall like that
    FORZA FERRARI FORZA FERNANDO…

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Lewis and Seb best pilots.

    Alonso only 3rd due to Ferrari cheat, and cannot even beat his teammate.

    Alonso fighting against Newey, but Vettel fighting against Withmarsh LOL.

  • AlonsoFan

    If I am not wrong Martin whitmarsh is the team principle,not the designer

  • Butterfly

    @Alonso_is_slow:

    How is changing the gearbox a cheat?

  • vx-2

    @Butterfly:
    How is asking Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash in 2008 Singapore GP a cheat? (souce: ). It’s called, “to gain a sporting advantage for”… of course, Ferrari can “justify” it to as much as they can, to make it legit… but by being legal, is that fair ? It’s really not ethical…. really not, but anyway, it’s nothing new. But, even if Alonso do clinch it, everyone will undermine this/ his third drivers’ championship. When already back in 2005/ 2006, alot of questions been called into it.

  • Butterfly

    @vx-2:

    Felipe is out of the running, the car is crap, the upgrades on Fernando’s car (only) have reduced perf – what was Ferrari suppose to do?

    It’s on the edge and I can understand people’s frustration with this tactic, but it really was the only way to get closer to the front.

    Normally, top teams shouldn’t end up in a position to do such things, but Ferrari is going through some tough times…

    It was a desperate move – just like in Germany ’10, but they had to do it. In the end, it proved worthwhile.

    I do hope they won’t have to repeat it, though.

  • Arnab

    @Butterfly and @fools
    Ironically the situation is similar to that of 2010 with alonso and vettel at the opposite places and its brazil this time..Alonso went into the last race with a lead of 15 but lost it. This time around vettel goes in with 13 and could well lose it coz given the 60% chance of rain..i put my money on fernando..and hopefully the rain gods wont dissapoint us..and we all know it doesnt rain in brazil, it pours :)..
    I am just waiting to laugh at the face of those Alonso haters..
    An Alonso win and only 5th for vettel, sounds good enough for Brazil..

  • jl

    Read the last words: Alonso hope vettel’s car blown up. We are not alonso hatters we are hipocrite cow hatter atittude, which always show by phatetic mr. perfect alonso, the only driver wh blame his own car for his failure. Uuuuggghhh,… i also really waiting for the funny face from alonso lover when his idols crash in brazil.

  • vx-2

    @Butterfly: Your reply showed how immature & shallow your thoughts are.
    - Felipe is out of the running, the car is crap, the upgrades on Fernando’s car (only) have reduced perf – what was Ferrari suppose to do?
    Felipe outqualify Alonso? So the car is “NOT CRAP”, hello? duh?? Ferrari can just ask Felipe to let him through, or pit Felipe ‘when they think it’s convenient’.

    - It’s on the edge and I can understand people’s frustration with this tactic, but it really was the only way to get closer to the front.
    Erm, not true? You “drive” to get to the front. Like Hamilton, Webber, Vettel. Though, everyone seem to think RedBull has a superior machine, it’s actually the drivers that make it so. A better example, Kimi’s win in Abu Dabi. Certainly not strongest, but 2 perfect restart after safety car, and turning the tires on when it matters. Read again, it’s “the driver”

    - Normally, top teams shouldn’t end up in a position to do such things, but Ferrari is going through some tough times…
    Every good team goes through it… It wasn’t too long ago, that RedBull Racing is…… a team formerly known as Jaguar. Even now, Williams are going such time, but as shown, Maldonaldo has to “fight to make his way past his teammates Brunno Senna, and even giving him a shun while passing him, not a ‘hand me down’ position.

    It was a desperate move – just like in Germany ’10, but they had to do it. In the end, it proved worthwhile.
    Yeah, it’ll certainly proved worthwhile, if Alonso did indeed win, and teams launching an official investigation on it onto the FIA

    I do hope they won’t have to repeat it, though.
    They just repeated 2002 AustrianGP “Schumacher-Barrichello”

    At the end of the day. You’ve really got to respect the sport… that is if you do, then you’re most deserving.
    And don’t you find it strange, there’s always ‘some’ allegations that follow Alonso?

    His 2006 Renault: Renault’s Mass damper systems comes into question.
    2007 McLaren: Well, spygate
    2008 Renault: Well, crashgate

    Also, I don’t hate Alonso, I praise he has consistency, but dispise winners like that. “Ethically” an un-deserving winner.

    Source: you may google/ wiki renault in F1.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    @jl:

    This is Alonso’s true spirit at his best. Bad luck for others, cheating, crashgate, whatever it takes.

    But look at this one too:

    “It always happens on that car. Maybe in Brazil those problems will change .”

    Alonso has a wishful Memory, just like his fans. The alternator failure of Vettel in Valencia gifted Alonso 32 point (minus 25 for Vettel and +7 for Alonso).

    This man is only after money, not interested in sport.

  • jl

    is it a real champion who hope to win WDC coming from his rival bad luck?
    alonso always rant RB hs the fastest car, whic in avtual they just a little faster than ferrari, while ferrari has more reliability.
    A real looser strategy, if he lost he will say he race against superior engine, if he win he gain more reptation. Funny alonso trick.

  • Lauda Fan

    Anybody who drove the way Hamy did today can put any damn thing on their helmet they want to, including the letters “H.A.M.”. What a drive by Hamy! Can’t believe he actually LEAVING this team in one more race.

  • DTM-Prishtina

    cry baby vettel, always whining about something, why was that bad place for overtaking… and for vettel supporters is it a coincidence or conspiracy that 2 reno engined car slapped alonso and lost him 2races and webber did a stupid move or a organized one on abhu daby so his baby whining team mate will gain advantage.
    vettel can win only with 1sec faster car and nobody i front otherwise hi will whine…

  • alonso_is_slow

    You’re a noob.

    Vettel is always slower in the race not because he forgets to drive between Saturdays and Sundays but because RBR has the most effective DRS system in the field. In the race he cannot use it, therefore he get slower relatively to others.

    The opposite happens with Alonso. He has the worst, erratic DRS system, therefore compared to qualifying he is much faster in the race. Again, not because he drives magically in the races and not the qualifying.

    The pace of RBR vs Ferrari is roughly equal in the races.I can promise you the same will happen in Brazil as well.

    You need to learn before you start talking.

  • jl

    “Alonso is fast with slow car” that words were Alonso give to eat (by his fans), which actually not right. RBR may be a little faster but Ferrari is fast, plus it is more realiable than RBR.

    Alonso he always complain and blame “his slow car” while off the track. Totally looser atittude.
    Vettel also complain about one or two things, but it was on track while the adrenalin flow. After that he say sorry.

    Alonso is on his peak age performance: 31, while Vettel still building his performance. But, Vettel outperformance Alonso.

    Alonso do not deserve WDC

    Alonso do not deserve WDC

  • Butterfly

    @jl:

    Ferrari is fast? Where, in a straight line? Yeah, but the Red Bull is faster in the corners, which is where it makes up the time on everybody.

    Last year, RBR thrashed everybody at Monza by .5 sec and it got more than that in the corners, alone, since it was losing on the straights.

    Plus the car is easy to set up, has excellent balance and awesome traction – you saw that in Austin where Hamilton could barely keep up with Vettel on corner exit.

    The part about adrenalin flow is total rubbish, as usual.

    Alonso is 31? Well, Alonso has been awesome since he came into F1, but I can understand why you wouldn’t notice that.

    Vettel will keep whining until he retires. In fact, him and Button are the biggest whiners in F1 right now, me thinks.

  • fools

    Alonso for the 2012 WDC. Come on Alonso you can do it!

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