United States GP 2014
NOVEMBER 3, 2014
Race Report - How the West was Won
Lewis Hamilton loves Texas and the Circuit of the Americas and Stetson cowboy hats.
He won the United States Grand Prix at the Austin track for the second time, and now has a 24 point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg who finished second. It was a great day for Hamilton as he won out west. The only downside was that he didn't get a Stetson, and Mario Andretti, who did the post race TV interviews on the podium declined to give Lewis the cowboy hat he was wearing.
"You are the sheriff!" Hamilton conceded.
Andretti might be the sheriff but Hamilton is the king of wins this season with a total of 10. That equals the record held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
"What an incredible place this is to go racing," Hamilton said. "We have such great support here and I have to say a massive thanks to the fans who have been awesome all weekend. I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to be out front here. It's a very special feeling to have such an amazing car, an amazing team and to be on this incredible run. It's been an unbelievable job from the team all year so a big thanks to everyone here at the track and at the factories back home."
"Coming here today, just having that same determination and hunger to get that win," he added. "And, as I said, there's not a better crowd really to do that in front of."
The race and the west were won on lap 24 when Hamilton passed Rosberg who had started on pole and led all but one lap during the pit stops.
"We managed to correct the problems from qualifying today which was great and I pushed as hard as I could," Hamilton said. "For the overtake, I just stayed as close as possible to Nico and waited for the moment to be just close enough to throw it up the inside. This is a good circuit to be able to follow another car but it's still not easy.
"You have to judge the risk in these situations but I felt confident I could pull it off. Once I got past Nico, it was just about controlling the race. I'm very, very proud to now hold the record for the most Formula 1 wins (32) for a British driver. I have to say, though, it's all thanks to the team and the car we have this year that I've been able to reach that landmark so quickly. Ten wins in a season is just... well, wow!"
Rosberg chased after Hamilton but had to settle for second.
"It was a tough day for me and it feels horrible to finish second after starting from pole," Rosberg said. "The conditions were very different compared to yesterday and it took me too long to find my rhythm at the beginning. In Formula One it is all about adapting quickly, but it just took me too long. Only 10 laps after Lewis passed me, I got it right and was able to push much more. Lewis just did a better job today, so congratulations to him. It's getting tougher but there is still a chance for the title and everything can happen. I'm still going to be pushing flat out just as I always have. I never give up."
Daniel Ricciardo never gave up either. He started fifth, dropped to seventh, re-passed Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso, then jumped ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa and finished third in his Red Bull.
"I'm happy with that," Ricciardo said. "I could see the Mercedes for the first part of the race which was really cool, I don't know if they were just chilling, but we seemed to have good pace. It was great to get ahead of the Williams and to get onto the podium. The start wasn't very good, I have to put my hand up to that one, but the recovery was good so we didn't really lose out. The pit stops were really good, Red Bull is known for being awesome in the pits and they showed it today."
Hamilton was awesome on this particular afternoon. One reporter said Hamilton has been focused out there like a Jedi knight this season.
"I like the Jedi knight reference!" Hamilton said. "That's cool. Yeah, today, just really doing my homework. Before the race there's a lot you can do to really understand what opportunities could come up and in different scenarios, how you approach it and I felt very much on top of that as I have done for quite some time.
"Just went into the race with the belief that I could win it. Incredible support from my fans, even from when I was in New York this week. The support from my fans and the tons of flags out there and team tops and team caps, I really am so grateful for that support that I have here in the U.S. It's amazing. I hope it continues to grow over the years. Great weather, the circuit's just fantastic.
"I went into the race thinking I need another race just like 2012 and it was just like that. I was catching him (Rosberg) through exactly the same points at which I was catching Sebastian (Vettel who was leading in 2012.) There wasn't a moment in the race when I didn't think that I would get him. Once I was past, as I said, I was able to relax for a second and really try to manage the tyres, because I knew that perhaps he would push at some other point.
"And so I was always having to respond. It's such a great feeling when you have a race like that; it just feels great that you've really done it as best as you can."
There are two races remaining this season. Hamilton may have won in the west, but Rosberg plans to fight back in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
"Same approach from me: fully committed, full attack, try and be on pole in qualifying and then win Interlagos and that's it," Rosberg said. "There are still many points to be had and a lot can still happen."