US analysis - Texan treat tees up Sao Paulo showdown 19 Nov 2012
Formula One racing returned to the United States with a vengeance at the Circuit of The Americas, and Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel served up a terrific race which kept everyone on their toes to the very end and ensured that this was just the first page in an exciting new chapter of American F1 history. And with Fernando Alonso a brave third, the battle for the world championship now goes down to the wire in Interlagos in a weeks time. We take a team-by-team look at the race form from Austin
Lewis Hamilton, P1
Jenson Button, P5
Hamilton lost out starting from the dirty side of the grid, as expected, but after four laps had passed Webber and started to challenge Vettel. Then his medium-compound Pirellis waned and he pitted for the hards on lap 20. Vettel went a lap further, but Hamilton was able to hunt him down again and pounce into the lead on the 42nd lap. He then eased away to make sure that having won at Indianapolis in 2007 the last time F1 ran in the US, he won again the first time it was staged in its new home. Button suffered badly starting on the hard tyre on the dirty side and dropped from 12th on the grid to 15th and had to fight back up. He ran until lap 32 before switching to the medium, and a tough race with several good passing moves brought him to fifth by the end. McLaren are now only 14 points adrift of Ferrari for runner-up position in the constructors stakes.
Sebastian Vettel, P2
Mark Webber, Retired lap 16, alternator
Vettel looked as if owned the race for a long time, and with Webber initially running second everything looked good. Then Hamilton passed the Australian, and not long afterwards Webbers alternator packed up. After a relentless pursuit, Hamilton pounced when Karthikeyan momentarily slowed Vettel on the 42nd lap, and thereafter the German had no answer. But he increased his championship points lead to 13, and the team won their third consecutive constructors world championship, becoming only the fourth team to do so. So it wasnt such a bad day.
Fernando Alonso, P3
Felipe Massa, P4
The ploy of deliberately breaking a seal on Massas gearbox so that he would get a five-place grid penalty which would put Alonso on to the clean side of the grid worked perfectly for Ferrari. Alonso was able to catapult from seventh to fourth by the first corner, and moved up to third with Webbers demise. He managed that well against Button and Raikkonen at stages, then was able to relax in the latter stages as Massa fought up brilliantly to run fourth. The Brazilian set several fastest laps in his best race of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen, P6
Romain Grosjean, P7
Lotus looked very strong for a while mid-race, as Raikkonen pushed hard and Grosjean was on a mission recovering from an early spin, but the bottom line was that McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari were faster on this occasion, and sixth and seventh places were the best they could do.
Nico Hulkenberg, P8
Paul di Resta, P15
While Hulkenberg was a star, running fifth early on and hanging on to keep the challenging Williams cars at bay in the closing stages, Di Resta struggled for tyre temperature all afternoon and finished a disappointed 15th.
Pastor Maldonado, P9
Bruno Senna, P10
The two Williams battled their way to the finish in ninth and 10th places after Senna got caught behind Hulkenberg in the closing stages and Maldonado, who was this able to catch up, shouldered past in Turn One with four laps to go. They scored three points, however.
Kamui Kobayashi, P11
Sergio Perez, P14
It was a poor day for Sauber. Perez, running in front of many of his countrymen who made the trek to Texas, suffered a brake problem that held him back, while Kobayashi couldnt get any temperature into either the medium or hard-compound Pirellis. Fifth place overall now looks doubtful, as they need to score at least 13 points in Brazil
Daniel Ricciardo, P12
Jean-Eric Vergne, Retired lap 15, suspension
Ricciardo had a great race, getting into a lot of battles and running as high as fifth during the pit stops, but ultimately 12th was the best the car would let him do. Vergne was also in the fight initially until a couple of moves failed to come off and he dropped back. He was fighting the Mercedes duo when his suspension broke.
Nico Rosberg, P13
Michael Schumacher, P16
Mercedes had a terrible day. Rosberg started on the harder tyre, like Button, but simply found his car uncompetitive. Schumacher battled hard, but his used its tyres so aggressively that he had to switch to a two-stop strategy just to get to the finish. The only consolation was that Sauber failed to score.
Vitaly Petrov, P17
Heikki Kovalainen, P18
Caterhams hopes of a miracle in which many faster cars retired never materialised, but at least they wrested back honours in the newbie stakes from Marussia after their disastrous showing in qualifying. Petrov finished eight seconds ahead of his team mate, who had to fend off the persistent attentions of Glock throughout.
Timo Glock, P19
Charles Pic, P20
Marussia had high hopes of beating Caterham after their excellent performance in qualifying, but the green and yellow cars quickly moved ahead. Glock fought tooth and nail with Kovalainen all the way through, however, finishing just a tenth of a second behind the Finn. Pic was two laps further back.
Pedro de la Rosa, P21
Narain Karthikeyan, P22
The team were in no state to create any race-day dramatics, and their two drivers circulated at the back throughout.
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