- Lewis Hamilton posts his third DHL Fastest Lap of the season in Austin
- Mercedes driver sets a new lap and track record for the Circuit of the Americas
- Valtteri Bottas leads the DHL Fastest Lap Award
Lewis Hamilton posts the DHL Fastest Lap in Austin
Lewis Hamilton was unable to clinch his fifth Formula 1 World Championship title in the United States Grand Prix. While his rival, Sebastian Vettel, was only fourth, Hamilton could not finish higher than third. Kimi Räikkönen won the race at the Circuit of the Americas, securing his first victory since the 2013 Australian GP. Second place went to Max Verstappen.
Hamilton started from pole position but lost the sprint to the first corner to Ferrari driver Räikkönen and had to slot into second place behind him. Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton during the virtual safety car period on Lap 11, but Räikkönen stayed out. Hamilton benefited as a result, because he lost only a small amount of time when changing tires and soon caught Räikkönen again.
Hamilton took the lead when the Finn finally pitted and extended it to 17 seconds. However, the tires on the Mercedes driver’s car did not hold up, so he had to stop again on Lap 37 and fell back to fourth place. Now on fresh soft tires, Hamilton went on a charge and posted a time of 1:37.392 on Lap 40, which was the DHL Fastest Lap.
While Hamilton obviously had no problems overtaking team-mate Valtteri Bottas, he found Verstappen and Räikkönen tough nuts to crack. The Mercedes driver managed to close the gap on the front-runners fairly quickly but could not find a way past Verstappen despite DRS, so Räikkönen was able to drive relatively safely to victory. As a result, Hamilton had to settle for third place but will get his next chance to clinch the world title in Mexico.
"It was actually a really fun race, to be close with Kimi and have a bit of a battle with him and Max. It was quite cool that it was Ferrari, Red Bull and us battling for positions and it must have been exciting to watch", Hamilton said. "I had one little chance at the end, but I had to give Max a lot of space because it's better to finish third than get taken out by someone who's not fighting for the championship, so I didn't want to take that risk."
Fastest laps: FORMULA 1 PIRELLI 2018 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:37.392 - on lap 40
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:38.246 - on lap 45
- Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:38.280 - on lap 41
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:38.470 - on lap 46
- Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:38.482 - on lap 45
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:38.963 - on lap 32
- Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) 1:39.240 - on lap 42
- Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) 1:39.548 - on lap 51
- Sergio Pérez (Force India) 1:39.569 - on lap 36
- Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) 1:39.646 - on lap 38
History: Fastest Laps at the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
With his DHL Fastest Lap of 1:37.392, Lewis Hamilton beat the previous lap record for the Circuit of the Americas, which Sebastian Vettel set in 2017, by just under four tenths of a second. The British driver has now posted 41 fastest laps and is in joint third place with Alain Prost on the leader board behind Michael Schumacher (77) and Kimi Räikkönen (46).
Hamilton also set a new track record in qualifying. The Mercedes driver went straight into pole position with a time of 1:32.237, the fastest lap ever seen in Austin.
Bottas leads the DHL Fastest Lap Award
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas leads the overall standings of the DHL Fastest Lap Award with five fastest times, but Daniel Ricciardo is hard on his heels with four best times followed by Lewis Hamilton with three DHL Fastest Laps. Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen are next up with two each. Kimi Räikkönen and Kevin Magnussen have both set one fastest race lap so far this season.