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United States GP 2019

NOVEMBER 3, 2019

Race Notes - Bottas wins, Hamilton takes title

Valtteri Bottas, United States GP 2019
© RV Press

By Mark Karp

Valtteri Bottas won the United States Grand Prix in his Mercedes GP ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton, 4.148 seconds behind. Hamilton clinches his sixth Drivers’ Championship. Max Verstappen in his Red Bull-Honda finished third, 5.002 seconds behind the winner.

The win is Bottas four of the season and seventh career victory. It is Mercedes GP’s 14th win of the 2019 season.

Charles Leclerc (52.239s) in the Ferrari finished fourth, and took the point for fastest lap, followed by Alex Albon (1m18.038s) in the Red Bull-Honda was fifth, Daniel Ricciardo (1m30.366s) in the Renault was sixth, Lando Norris (1m30.764s) in the McLaren-Renault was seventh, his team mate Carlos Sainz (1 lap) was eighth, Nico Hulkenberg in the second Renault was ninth and Serio Perez in the Racing Point-Mercedes finished in the final points paying position in tenth place.

Bottas is on pole in his Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari alongside, Verstappen and Leclerc on row two, Hamilton and Albon on row three, Sainz and Norris on row four and Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top ten, the first five on medium tyres and 5 thtough ten on soft tyres, and the rest a mix of hard and medium tyres.

At the appointed time the field came around, the lights went out and the race began with polesitter Bottas gettubg away quickly, Verstappen takes second ahead of Leclerc, Vetttel, Norris, Ricciardo, Gasly and Sainz. Sainz and Albon make contact on the first lap.

On the first lap Norris passes Vettel for fifth. Ricciardo passes Vettel for sixth. Albon pits for tyres.

On lap 3 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m40,986s.

Vettel reports that he has a damaged car. Ferrari tells him that he has no damage to the car, just cold tyres.

At lap 5 Bottas leads Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Norris, Ricciardo, Vettel, Gasly, Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen and Hulkenberg in 12th.

On lap 7, Ferrari tell Leclerc that they are on plan ‘B’ - maybe a two stop strategy?

Red Bull tells Albon, running at the back, that he is running quicker than the leaders.

On lap 8 Vettel slows with a rear suspension failure, and pulls off the track to retire.

Ricciardo passes Norris for fifth place at turn 12.

At lap 10 Bottas leads Verstappen by 2.1 seconds followed by Hamilton (3.3s), Leclerc (12.5s), Ricciardo (19.6s), Norris (21.9s), Gasly (25.6s), Sainz (27.0s), Raikkonen (30.8s) and Hulkenberg (32.0s) in tenth place.

Daniil Kvyat passes Magnussen for 11th place. Perez passes Antonio Giovinazzi for 14th place.

On lap 13 Albon passes Giovinazzi for 15th place.

Ferrari tells Leclerc to be careful of the kerb on turn 8, becasue of Vettel’s suspension failure.

On lap 14 Verstappen pits from second place and switches to hard tyres and rejoins in fourth place.

On the next lap Bottas pits from the lead and switches to hard tyres as well and rejoins in third ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton leads from Leclerc, Bottas and Verstappen.

On lap 15 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m39.604s.

On lap 16 Bottas passes Leclerc on the outside of turn 1 to take second place.

Later in the lap Verstappen passes Leclerc as well for third place.

Red Bull tells Verstappen to “be sensible”.

On lap 16 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m39.201s.

Mercedes tells Hamilton that they believe the other front-runners are on a two-stop strategy - perhaps Hamilton is trying to go for a one-stop strategy?

On lap 18 Giovinazzi pits for hard tyres. Sainz, Raikkonen and Magnussen all pit as well.

On lap 19 Bottas sets another fast lap at 1m38.916s.

Norris and Gasly both pit for hard tyres.

On lap 20 Leclerc pits from fourth for hard tyres and rejoins in sixth.

At lap 21 Hamilton leads Bottas by 3.5 seconds, followed by Verstappen (9.5s), Ricciardo (35.1s), Hulkenberg (48.2s), Leclerc (49.3s), Perez (52.9s), Norris (55.6s), Sainz (60.1s) and Gasly (62.1s) in tenth place.

On lap 21 Ricciardo pits for hard tyres and rejoins in seventh place.

Hamilton, Hulkeberg, Perez still yet to pit.

Leclerc passes Hulkenberg for fourth place.

On lap 24 Bottas on fresher tyres passes Hamilton for the lead.

Hamilton immediately heads for the pits and switches to hard tyres and rejoins in third place.

Perez pit from sixth place for medium tyres and rejoins in 14th.

On lap 26 Albon passes Raikkonen for tenth place.

On lap 26 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m38.446s.

Mercedes tells Hamilton, “this will be close with Verstappen at the end of the race.” and “it is critical we make this one-stop work Lewis.” Hamilton asks for a target lap time.

On lap 28 Hulkenberg pits for medium tyres, and rejoins in 15th place.

At lap 30 Bottas leads Verstappen by 6.9 seconds, followed by Hamilton (16.9s) Leclerc (43.2s), Ricciardo (60.9s), Norris (63.2s), Sainz (68.0s), Albon (68.8s), Gasly (72.2s) and Raikkonen (77.3s) in tenth place.

Lance Stroll pits. Perez passes Kvyat for 11th place.

On lap 32 Albon passes Sainz for seventh place.

Verstappen is reporting that he is struggling on his tyres.

On lap 33 Robert Kubica retires in the pits with a hydraulic failure.

Albon is closing on Norris.

McLaren tells Norris not to hold up Albon, but to follow him closely as he closes on Ricciardo.

On lap 35 Verstappen pits from second place and switches to medium tyres and rejoins in third, 15 seconds behind Hamilton.

Albon psses Norris for sixth place.

On lap 36 Bottas pits from the lead for medium tyres, and he rejoins in second place 9 seconds behind Hamilton.

Hamilton tells Mercedes that it will be hard for him to make his tyres last.

On lap 37 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m36.957s.

Albon passes Ricciardo for fifth place.

Red Bull tells Verstappen that they need 8/10s of a second per lap to catch Hamilton before the finish.

At lap 40 Hamilton leads Bottas by 4.6 seconds, followed by Verstappen (11.0s), Leclerc (33.8s), Albon (60.4s), Ricciardo (64.1s), Norris (68.2s), Sainz (s70.5), Gasly (73.3s) and Raikkonen (81.8s) in tenth place.

On lap 41 Albon pits again for soft tyres and rejoins in ninth. Raikkonen pits as well for soft tyres.

Mercedes tells Hamilton, “we are concerned these might not get to the end."

On lap 43 Norris pits again for medium tyres and rejoins in tenth.

Bottas follows Hamilton by 3.3 seconds.

Leclerc pits for soft tyres.

Hulkenberg passes Raikkonen for 11th place.

Sainz tells the team that he doesn’t think his tyres will last to the finish.

On lap 45 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m36.169s.

Renault tells Hulkenberg that he needs to let Raikkonen back past because he was off the track when he passes him,

On lap 46 Bottas trails Hamilton by 2.0 seconds.

Bottas is closing in on Hamilton in the lead.

Albon passes Ricciardo for fifth place.

Norris passes Gasly for eighth place.

At lap 50 Hamilton leads Bottas by 0.9 seconds, followed by Verstappen (5.6s), Leclerc (56.9s), Albon (78.4s), Ricciardo (82.3s), Sainz (91.1s), Norris (93.6s), Gasly (1 lap) and Perez in tenth place.

On lap 51 Bottas gets alongside Hamilton can’t make it stick. Hamilton keeps the lead.

On lap 52 Bottas passes Hamilton into the first corner, and retakes the lead.

On lap 53 Hulkenberg passes Kvyat for tenth place.

Mercedes tells Hamilton that the gap to Verstappen is 2.9 seconds, Hamilton responds, “leave me to it.”

On lap 54 Magnussen is off in gravel trap with an apparent brake failure.

On the final lap Verstappen is close to the back of Hamilton, 0.7s behind.

On the final lap Gasly pitted and retired, while Kvyat hits Perez, who drops to 11th place.

At the finish Bottas takes the win ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen.

Bottas said afterward, “It’s a nice win, feels good. It was the only thing I could focus on this week, obviously it wasn’t enough and Lewis has the title. Big congrats to him - he deserves it, he had a strong season.”

Lewis Hamilton said, “Overwhelming. It was such a tough race today, Valtteri did a fantastic job. I didn’t think the one stop was going to be possible.”

After the finish Kvyat is given a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision with Perez. This promotes Perez back to tenth place., Kvyat ends up 12th.