Twenty-two United States Grand Prix facts


1) Lewis Hamilton joins Sir Jackie Stewart as a three-time Formula 1 World Champion. He’s the only man from the UK to win back-to-back titles.

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2) There are a couple of points that may have been at the root of Rosberg’s annoyance post race: The way Hamilton had banged wheels with him at turn one seconds after the start, a more extreme version of what he’d done to him at Suzuka. Or maybe it was irritation at himself for having thrown the race away in the late stages. Niki Lauda: “There was the first corner and I understand why Nico is upset about that. But then he had everything back under control and was going to win the race, then he made the mistake. That’s really why he is annoyed, I think.”

3) Sebastian Vettel might have won this race from 14th on the grid but a possibility that was created by one safety car was denied by another.

4) Had the race stayed wet then Daniil Kvyat is convinced he could have won it, for the Red Bulls were actually much quicker than the Mercs in these conditions and the young Russian did actually briefly take the lead from Hamilton.

5) This race was re-set many times thanks to two safety cars and two VSCs. Each time it changed the complexion – and probably the result – of the race. Only at the fourth time of asking did the dice fall in Hamilton’s favour.

2015 United States Grand Prix – full results and report

6) A third of the county’s average annual rainfall was said to have dropped in three days in Austin – and most of that seemed to be on Saturday, when conditions were truly biblical in the afternoon.

7) The rain had finally stopped about an hour before the 2pm start. The track’s terrific drainage and a stiff wind saw the surface quickly drying out and it was good for inters at the start – not a tyre anyone had been on at any previous point in the weekend.

8) It was pretty obvious that when Hamilton squeezed Rosberg he could have used more lock to have given him room.

9) High-speed puffs of plooming spray were spat from the diffusers as the cars danced over the standing water that lay mainly in the middle sector. This, in fact, would make this opening stint of the race very tricky for the middle sector remained too wet for slicks, while the drier sectors one and three quickly burned the inters up.

10) Both Bottas and Nasr had decided to gamble on an early switch to the soft-compound slick tyre in an attempt at rescuing their races as they pitted for damage. They were each massively off the pace, teetering around totally gripless. Nasr returned for a corrective stop to inters a lap later. Bottas persevered for another four laps before surrendering. He did only one part-lap on his newly fitted inters, however, as a rear damper failure forced retirement.

11) The Mercedes cars were over-working their rear tyres in the damp, giving oversteer and locking rear brakes, but the Red Bulls were beautifully balanced.

12) Sergio Pérez was being typically canny with his tyres. Keeping the inters in one piece long enough to co-incide your stop with when the track was ready for slicks was going to be key. So this phase of the race became a strange dance – one where even the leaders were lapping no faster than they had in qualifying when they’d been on full wets.

13) Räikkönen’s accident was caused by his Ferrari hitting standing water and sliding into an exit barrier, wedging itself against an advertising hoarding. With a bit of vigorous wheel turning and clutch slipping, Kimi managed to extricate himself, but the impact damage blocked a brake duct, causing the disc to overheat, bringing about his retirement a few laps later.

14) Grosjean had long since retired for a similar reason, the ducts blocked from his first lap touch with Bottas. Massa retired from a lowly position just a couple of laps before Räikkönen, with the Williams suffering the same damper problem as Bottas’.

15) Hamilton stayed out during the safety car to clear Hulkenberg’s car. To have pitted Hamilton would have required him to have been stacked behind Rosberg for a vital few seconds. “Stacking would have made it much more difficult to recover that position to Nico,” explained Toto Wolff, “and we were not sure it was the right call. Because we wanted to check the wear on Nico’s old tyres and only then could we understand what was the right call.”

16) In other words, Mercedes had split its strategy. As it happened, the wear rate shown on Rosberg’s discarded tyres strongly suggested that Hamilton would not be able to complete the distance without stopping. The plan was therefore to bring him in next lap – on the assumption that the VSC would remain in place. But when the VSC was released part way through what was going to have been Hamilton’s in-lap, he now had to stay out, as to pit would cost positions. He was still leading – with 5s in hand over Vettel and 8s on Rosberg – but he’d need to stop again, and they didn’t.

17) Kvyat was chasing down Maldonado when he took a little too much apex kerb at turn 19, this putting him onto the still-wet astroturf on the exit and from there the Red Bull looped into a high speed spin, straight into the inside wall. “I was driving a bit over my limit,” he admitted, “just tried to carry a bit more speed but it didn’t work out and I’m disappointed with myself.”

18) The final safety car was perfect for Hamilton. It meant he could now make his pit stop, almost for free.

19) Vettel too came in – again. This was just a no-lose late throw of the dice, a reaction to the safety car. He was fitted with a set of options and the stop lost him a place to Verstappen, who would surely be passable. He would then be on fresher tyres than Rosberg.

20) Rosberg no longer had a potential pit stop’s advantage over Hamilton – but he still led the race, and his tyres were only five laps older than his team-mate’s. It was still his race to lose. And that’s what he did.

21) Sainz launched one down the inside of Button into turn 11 in the closing stages but Jenson, knowing Carlos had been given a five-second penalty for crossing the pit exit line didn’t fight it, and chuckled on the radio: “He’s a bit of a nutter, isn’t he.” With the penalty awarded, Sainz duly went back behind Button in the official order.

22) Hamilton’s day had not initially looked all that great, but brightened considerably. Rather like the Austin weekend, in fact.

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