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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Hamilton denied title party as Raikkonen wins in Austin

Kimi Raikkonen claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton was made to wait another week to be crowned champion.

Lewis Hamilton in action at the United States Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton in action at the United States Grand Prix

LEWIS HAMILTON WILL have to wait another week to secure his fifth Formula One world crown after he finished third and Sebastian Vettel came home fourth at the United States Grand Prix.

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.

The costly stop pushed the Briton down to fourth and despite his best efforts, he could not put enough distance between himself and Vettel to wrap up the championship on American soil.

Raikkonen’s win and Hamilton’s third place spared the blushes of Vettel, who had another costly mistake early in the race, the German clipping Daniel Ricciardo on lap two to find himself facing the wrong way.

That error had jettisoned Vettel down to 15th but he fought his way back, even a slow pit stop failing to deny him a fourth placed-finish, enough to keep his slim hopes alive.

While Vettel battled through the field, Hamilton stalked the back of Raikkonen’s Ferrari, though his pursuit proved costly as it caused blisters on his rear tyres.

He eventually got past before the midway mark and although he had plenty of clear air to drive in, the soft compound was unable to see him through to the chequered flag.

A second stop on lap 37 opened the door for Raikkonen to clinch his first victory since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix – ending a winless streak stretching 111 races.

With three laps remaining Hamilton only needed to overtake Max Verstappen to claim the title, but he was unable to make a pass stick as he was forced to run wide at Turn 18.

Vettel jumped past Valtteri Bottas before the end to mean Hamilton’s error did not matter, meaning the battle to be crowned champion goes on for at least one more week.

As Hamilton battled his way back from his second visit to the pits, the frustration began to grow in the cockpit, the Briton coming across the team radio to question the timing of the stop.

“How did it [deficit to Raikkonen] get to 12 seconds?” Hamilton asked.

“We left too big [of] a deficit.”

Ultimately, he was right, and Hamilton’s disappointment was evident when speaking in parc ferme.

He said: “I thought we would have been able to do better, but yeah we just have to keep working, keep pushing for the next race.” 

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