United States GP

Flashback 2014 – Hamilton beats Rosberg in Austin Duel

With the whole weekend under a cloud following the failure of both Marussia and Caterham, which led to the threat that Sauber, Force India and Lotus would boycott the event and bring the sport into yet more chaos. The threat was lifted a couple of hours from the start of the race, with the focus now heading towards the racing.

Once again before the start of the race all the drivers went to the front of the grid before the start to observe the national anthem, in a new format introduced at the last Grand Prix in Russia.

Sebastian Vettel would start from the pitlane after changing his entire power unit for the sixth time. Jenson Button also had a five place penalty after changing his gearbox, and Daniil Kvyat 10 places for changing his engine.

Everyone would start the race on the soft tyre, apart from Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Vettel at the back of the field or pit lane.

Nico Rosberg had a fast formation lap, leaving Hamilton and the rest of the field behind. He slowed down going onto the start finish straight, taking up his position on the grid.

Hamilton pointed his car towards Rosberg to cover off the Williams. It was a good start from Rosberg and Hamilton, getting ahead of the Williams. Massa overtook Bottas who was being attacked by the Ferrari of Alonso. Ricciardo had a poor start, spinning his wheels. Raikkonen also had a good start. Ricciardo was overtaken by Magnussen, who took the place back again at the end of the back straight.

At the end of the first lap there was a crash between Sutil and Perez. Perez also hit the Ferrari of Raikkonen in the accident, with plenty of debris over the circuit. The safety car was deployed straight away. Magnussen and Pitted straight away, along with the other Force India and Sauber. A lap later and Vettel pitted, again for another set of the medium tyres.

The safety car came in at the end of lap 4, with Rosberg backing the cars up into the long turn 16. He stole a march on Hamilton creating a small gap. It was close behind between the Williams, with Bottas attacking, but Massa staying ahead. Ricciardo had a great start and overtook Alonso through the esses. Raikkonen was down in 7th ahead of Maldonado, Vergne and Grosjean. Rosberg was .7 second ahead of Hamilton at the end of the first lap.

Magnussen overtook his team mate Button for 12th at the first corner at the end of the opening lap. At the back of the field Vettel overtook Gutierrez at the back of the firld before going wide in turn 19, but maintaining his position. On lap 7 Hamilton was told by his team that he is safe on fuel. Gutierrez, Vergne, Button and Maldonado were all announced to be investigated for speeding under the safety car. Jenson Button was cleared quickly.

After being a small gap at the front of the field, Rosberg was then being caught by Hamilton. Rosberg set another fastest lap to increase the gap again on lap 9.
Grosjean tried to overtake Vergne into turn 10, but the Toro Rosso force him out wide, battling over 9th position.

Gutierrez, Vergne and Maldonado were all given five second stop go penalties for speeding behind the safety car.

On Lap 13 and Rosberg said over the radio that his front left tyre was finished, but stayed out on the circuit for another lap. Hamilton was still around a second behind, before loosing a little bit of time. Further back and Ricciardo caught the back of Bottas and Massa. Massa and Ricciardo pitted at the end of the lap, leaving Bottas out on the circuit. Ricciardo went out on the medium tyre, while Massa had another set of the soft.

Hamilton dropped back by two seconds by lap 15, where Rosberg pitted. Hamilton had to continue. Rosberg took the Medium tyre, with Bottas entering the pits behind him. A fast 2.7 second stop from Williams for Bottas couldn’t stop Ricciardo from undercutting them though. Bottas had a go at him on the back straight, but couldn’t make it work.

Hamilton pitted a lap later in the Mercedes, again taking the medium tyres. Rosberg retook the lead of the race. Alonso and Grosjean followed him in.

Nico Hulkenberg stopped on the back straight on lap 18, stopping by a service road, but with little marshals around. At the same time Alonso overtook Vettel on newer tyres.

A good battle at the back of the field saw Grosjean overtake Gutierrez for 12th, the Sauber driver lost two places in the process, with the Toro Rosso of Vergne making it’s way though.
Vettel was struggling, complaining over the radio that he was doing 1:44’s over the weekend, but currently struggling to do 1:46’s.
Alonso had a great dice with Button through the latter end of lap 22, passing and repassing between the two of them, both of them making mistakes in the process and Button keeping hold of the place for the moment.

At the front of the field Hamilton got within DRS range again. Hamilton closed the gap to 6 tenths on the back of Rosberg. Lap 23 and Hamilton had a half attempt to overtake at the end of the back straight.

Further back Alonso and Button were still fighting for 7th, a cat and dog fight between them. Alonso got down the inside of turn 1 on lap 24, with Alonso making the move stick this time.
Hamilton overtook Rosberg at the end of the back straight on lap 24. He set the fastest first sector of the race, even in the dirty air behind his team mate. Massa was still keeping the Mercedes honest though, with Ricciardo in 4th and Bottas 5th.

At the other end of the top ten there was also a tight fight between Vettel, Gorsjean, Vergne and Raikkonen. Vettel was passed by Grosjean into turn 1 and then quickly passed by Vergne. Raikkonen also got onto the back of him by the end of the back straight, but they were only fighting for 11th.

Alonso had caught onto the back of Magnussen for 5th, and overtook the Dane on the exit of turn 1 on lap 27. Vettel pitted on the same lap.

Button was told to pit a lap later, who was overtaken by Grosjean before pitting for 8th place. Magnussen was pitted instead, taking another set of the mediums. Button was being hounded by Vergne and Maldonado. He was overtaken by Vergne for 8th, with him pitting at the end of lap 29.

At the front, Lewis hadn’t pulled out a too large gap, with only 1.5 seconds separating them.

In the battle at the lower end of the top ten, Grosjean pitted along with Vergne. Button lost out behind the Lotus after pitting a bit later than he would have liked.
Bottas pitted for his second stop on lap 31, slipping four seconds behind Ricciardo. It was a good 2.6 second stop to take on another set of the medium tyre. Button was also on the medium tyre.

Ricciardo pitted on lap 32, taking the Medium tyre with a decent 2.9 second stop which kept him ahead of the Williams.

Massa was instructed to pit a lap later. Like his team mate he also too the medium tyres. It was a slow stop that saw Daniel Ricciardo take the place and into the podium position.
Hamilton was told at the front that they would pit to cover the rest of the field. He also took the medium tyres, with Rosberg pitting a lap later being in second place. In the meantime Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the race. Rosberg also had a good stop for the medium tyres, but Hamilton retained the lead, around four seconds in front.

The order now being Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Massa, Bottas, Alonso, Maldonado, Raikkonen, Kvyat and Magnussen.

Maldonado pitted from 7th on lap 36, while Vettel overtook Grosjean. Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race, a second faster than Hamilton, with the gap coming down to under three seconds. the gap stabilised at the end of the second lap.

Vettel was up to 10th on his contra strategy by running the majority of the race on the medium tyre. He was now running quickly taking a second out of Magnussen on lap 39.
Maldonado was investigated for speeding in the pitlane, of which he was quickly given a five second stop/go penalty, not expecting to start again, that time should be added at the end of the race.

Vettel tried to overtake Magnussen at the end of the back straight, but made a mess of it on lap 40. Grosjean and Button were fighting behind for 11th place. Grosjean went wide at the penultimate corner, but kept Button behind, Grosjean was passed though into turn 1 down the inside with a late defence on the McLaren driver. Vettel also got past Magnussen for 8th place at the end of the back straight.

Raikkonen pitted for the soft tyre on lap 43. Grosjean, Vergne and Maldonado were all close together for the final points paying position.
Alonso pitted a lap later than his team mate for the soft tyre. He was just ahead of Vettel, but Vettel got past through the esses. Alonso didn’t quite have the top speed down the back straight, with the Monza-esque rear wing helping the German.

A lap later and Alonso was much closer and made the move stick for 6th place. Raikkonen was stuck outside the top 10. The battle at the latter end of the top ten was hotting up, with Button, Grosjean, Vergne, Maldonado and Raikkonen all in very close quarters.

Rosberg was closing in again on lap 47, but Hamilton kept the gap at 2 seconds. Button was forming a queue behind him a lap later, the five cars fighting over the same piece of track.
Alonso set the fastest lap of the race on lap 49, with Massa reeling in Ricciardo for the podium. Kvyat and Raikkonen had a tight battle with the Russian overtaking the former world champion. Vettel was also told to pit for soft tyres, dropping Vettel behind Kimi Raikkonen at the back of the train and close to being lapped by the leaders.

With the Red Bull pitting, Vergne was elevated to 10th place. Grosjean attacked Button and came very close to clashing. Vergne and Grosjean clashed at the first corner on lap 51, but both coming away unscathed. The new order being Button, Vergne, Maldonado, Grosjean and Kvyat. Raikkonen was also right on the back of the pack.

Kvyat slipped to the back after his battle, passed by Raikkonen. Vettel also overtook the Russian, setting the fastest lap of the race. Still fighting at the front of the field Hamilton and Rosberg were catching this battle.

Vettel overtook Raikkonen for 12th on lap 53, while Kvyat pitted from the back of the field where he had some debris in the front wing. Vergne overtook Button at the end of the back straight, with Maldonado the next behind the Briton.

Maldonado overtook Button at the end of the back straight on lap 54, with Vettel taking the advantage as well down the inside. Grosjean behind kept going off the circuit at every opportunity telling the team he couldn’t steer.

Vettel passed Maldonado for 9th, with Vergne his next victim. Vettel passed him into turn 1 in a clean move, with Magnussen up the road.
At the front, Hamilton was ahead of the traffic, with Rosberg stuck behind Button. Vettel also got ahead of Magnussen on his stampede at the end.

Hamilton won though, with Rosberg second and Ricciardo third. Massa and Bottas finished 4th and 5th. Alonso was 6th from a fast moving Vettel in 7th, Magnussen in 8th, Maldonado in 9th and Vergne in 10th. The final positions would reverse though with the penalty for Maldonado.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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