AUSTIN, 4 Nov 2019:
Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, driving for Petronas-backed Mercedes, mathematically clinched the world Formula 1 title for the sixth time yesterday after coming in second in the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas – where his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, of Finland, won the race and Holland’s Max Verstappen, driving for Red Bull, came in third.
Hamilton, 34, captured the world title with two races yet to go on this year’s circuit.
This is his sixth world title after winning in 2008 with McLaren, and in 2014, 2014, 2017 and 2018 with Mercedes.
Bottas, who in the time trials had obtained the coveted pole position for Sunday’s race, went on to win his first US Grand Prix after covering the Austin raceway’s 56 laps.
“It was such a tough race today. Valtteri did a fabulous job today,” Hamilton said in praise of Bottas after the race.
The Mercedes team had already won the 2019 constructors title in the Japanese Grand Prix in October.
Hamilton is closer to equal Michael Schumacher’s title-winning record as the former German driver won has seven world championships.
Schumacher is still the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time.
Monaco’s Charles Leclerc, with Ferrari, came in fourth.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Alexander Albon, with Red Bull, surged forward from the latter portion of the pack after making slight contact with the car of Spaniard Carlos Sainz, with McLaren, on the first lap, to take fifth place.
The big loser of the day was German driver Sebastian Vettel, with Ferrari, who started the race in the first line after having notched the second-best time in the qualification runs. But on the ninth lap, he had to withdraw from the actual race after damaging his rear suspension and having control problems on curves 11 and 12, where his vehicle came to a halt.
Before the race, Hamilton had led the 2019 drivers’ standings with 363 points, 74 more than the second-place Bottas. In order to fail to clinch the title on Sunday, Bottas would have had to win the race and the Briton would have had to finish in ninth position or worse.
The driver and his car have been remarkably consistent throughout the year, with Hamilton not having been forced to retire from a single race and only once finishing outside of the top five through 18 races.
After the US stop, the season will conclude with the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Jose Carlos Pace Autodrome in Sao Paulo’s Interlagos neighbourhood on Nov 17 and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec 1.
– EFE, Bernama