Two Ferrari drivers on the podium was the best possible result as Hamilton takes his sixth win on the Circuit Of The Americas followed by Vettel who pushed the absolute maximum out of the car. A controversial decision by the F.I.A. puts Räikkönen on the podium.
Qualifying was a relative success, Mercedes was showing worrying domination in the practice sessions, but in the end Kimi managed P4 and Vettel was on the front row in P2, alongside title rival Hamilton.
Vettel has a perfect start and takes the lead from Hamilton into turn 1, but the joy only lasted 6 laps as he couldn’t keep the faster Mercedes behind on the long straight. Kimi was challenging Ricciardo but the Red Bull quickly pitted and was out of the race with an engine problem a few minutes later. Vettel was right behind Hamilton after the pit stop, but sadly the undercut didn’t work and the Mercedes was gaining time every lap. Kimi was staying out a long time and even leading the race for a short time. A surprising tactic from Max Verstappen sees him fitting new softer tyres on lap 38, the Ferrari strategists react quickly and bring Vettel in for new tyres on lap 39. The Red Bull already closed the gap a lot in that one lap so it was a good decision.
In the final laps Vettel was closing on Hamilton but the race was too short, Räikkönen was under big pressure from Verstappen and on the last lap the fearless Dutchman launched an all-or-nothing pass, it was truly amazing to be honest, but all his wheels were over the white line and he was handed a 5 second penalty promoting Kimi to the podium after all. Lots of criticism for the F.I.A. because of this penalty, some people accusing them of favouring the Ferrari team. The rules should be followed of course, but there was a lot of track limit abuse over the weekend, including the pole lap from Lewis Hamilton. The lack of consistency in penalties has been a problem for a long time, and it’s confusing for the fans. I don’t think any team or driver is favoured, but sometimes the stewards seem a lot more strict and this feels unfair. We can only hope these things don’t happen in the future, starting next weekend in Mexico!