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GP Week : Issue 176
Red Bull became only the fourth team in history to win three constructors’ titles on the trot in Austin. Vettel was peerless in every session, but come Sunday Hamilton had that little bit extra. Mark Webber started third on the grid and took advantage of Hamilton starting offline, holding second for four laps. Alternator failure was to strike again, though, which resulted in Webber’s retirement on Lap 17. Vettel made his single stop on Lap 22. He was passed by Hamilton on Lap 42. He heads to Brazil with a 13 point lead over Alonso. A woeful day for the Mercedes team. Austin was a low degradation circuit yet the MGP003 ate its tyres. Schumacher had to stop a second time, on Lap 39, which ruined his race. Having started 5th, he finished 16th. Rosberg didn’t fare much better, finishing 13th after a lowly P17 kick off. Hamilton pulled out all the stops in qualifying to get within a tenth of Vettel. Starting on the dirty side, he lost out to Webber but regained second place on Lap 4 and seized the lead on Lap 42. It’s his second USGP win, and his fourth of the year. Button’s qualifying was blighted by a throttle issue which meant he couldn’t complete Q2 and had to start 12th. Starting on hard tyres, he fell backwards at the start but was feisty of the rest of the race and came home fifth. Grosjean had a gearbox penalty meaning he started P8 and fought hard from the start. However, on Lap 7 he spun on downshift into Turn 12 and was lucky not to beach the car. It dropped him down the field and gave him an almighty flat spot, forcing him into an early Lap 9 single stop. Raikkonen packed in some epic overtaking moves having lost places from 4th on the grid. Switching to hards on Lap 24 he struggled with temperatures and crossed the line 6th, ahead of Grosjean. Alonso was a sea in practice, and was outpaced by team-mate Massa in qualifying. The team elected to break the seal on Massa’s gearbox so Alonso could move up a place and start from the clean side. A great start from 7th to 4th, and then Webber’s retirement, meant Alonso finished on the podium. Massa drove brilliantly to race from 11th to 4th and would certainly have beaten Alonso had the team not made him take the hit. Nico Hulkenberg looked very strong at the start, fighting the Lotus boys from his P8 grid spot. After Lap 10 his tyres began to fade. The second set, bolted on on Lap 17, were not competitive and he had to work hard for his 8th place result, battling the Williams pair. Di Resta looked off form all weekend. He started 13th, had decent opening laps but fell into the trap of the Williams, losing out to both. He overcompensated, made an error in Turn 19 and spun. The resulting flat- spot meant he had to two-stop, and he wound up 15th. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: AUSTIN GRAND PRIX 36 GPWEEK.com // 36 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> UNITED STATES