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Winners and Losers - United States

26 Oct 2015

Sunday in Austin saw triumph for Lewis Hamilton, but frustration for fellow podium finishers Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, who both came oh-so-close to keeping their title dreams alive. But what about further down the order? We take a team-by-team look at who was on the up and who hit misfortune at the Circuit of The Americas…

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, P1
Nico Rosberg, P2

Mercedes were vulnerable on the intermediate tyres in the early laps, once Hamilton had taken the lead in Turn 1 and eased Rosberg wide before they made slight contact. But after the first pits stops Rosberg took charge as the track began to dry and should have won easily but for subsequent safety car interventions.

He controlled the race after the first, but ran wide in Turn 12 after the second and handed victory to Hamilton. As he headed another Mercedes one-two, the latter achieved his goal of outscoring Vettel by nine points, to win his third drivers’ world championship.

There were suggestions afterwards, however, that his tactics in the first corner may have opened a fresh rift with Rosberg, even though the latter lost the win because of his own error.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, Retired lap 26, brakes

Ferrari did everything right with Vettel. He was already seventh at the end of the opening lap after starting 13th because of his engine penalty, then climbed quickly to sixth. He then took a set of soft tyres and later tried to make it to the end on a set of mediums. The safety cars stymied that, however, but after a switch to another set of softs he was challenging Rosberg for second place all the way to the flag.

Raikkonen was less impressive and after a fight with Verstappen the Finn went off at the esses on the 20th lap, and had to fight his way out of the gravel and contact with a Rolex advertising hoarding. He retired his damaged SF15-T five laps later with right-front brake temperature problems.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, P4
Carlos Sainz, P7

Verstappen was mighty yet again on his way to fourth place, racing hard with Vettel and overtaking the four-time world champion a couple of times. He made it through with a set of intermediates at the start then two sets of soft slicks, to take a superb fourth.

Sainz started from 20th after crashing in qualifying in the morning, but made amends with a strong drive to sixth on the road. Unfortunately, he dropped to seventh when a five-second penalty was applied for speeding in the pits after the speed limiter had failed, but the double points finish put the team within seven points of Lotus with three races left.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P5
Nico Hulkenberg, Retired lap 36, collision with Ricciardo

Perez was in contention for points all afternoon, though there was a spell when he was really struggling to generate tyre temperature when he fell back. A strong drive took him to fifth, however. Hulkenberg also looked good after a slow start on intermediates turned into a challenging pace on slicks. But on the 36th lap a section of his front wing broke (probably as a result of previous impact in traffic) just as he was trying to overtake Ricciardo. He understeered into the Australian, damaging his own right-front suspension and forcing him into retirement.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P6
Fernando Alonso, P11

McLaren nearly got both cars home in the points. Alonso collided with Bottas in the first corner and lost time in the pits, but made all that up under the safety car and was holding fifth place when his Honda engine began to lose power - possibly due to a fuel sensor problem. By the time he had reset that he had dropped to 10th and Ricciardo took the final point from him just before the finish.

Button, however, made all the right strategic choices, being the first man to stop for slicks to make them work and then calling for a third and final stop which gave him the rubber to take seventh on the road. That became sixth with Sainz’s penalty.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, P8
Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 11, brakes

Maldonado drove a relatively subdued race, which included only one brush with Button, to take eighth place, but Grosjean was an early retirement when a damaged duct overheated the rear brakes.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, P9
Marcus Ericsson, Retired lap 26, electrics

On their 400th Grand Prix weekend, Sauber’s race started badly when Nasr and Ericsson collided, delaying the Brazilian. The Swede was a candidate for points until his C34 quit with electrical failure, while Nasr battled back, making full use of the safety cars, to take two points for ninth.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P10
Daniil Kvyat, Retired lap 43, accident

For a while Red Bull looked a definite contender for the win, as Kvyat and Ricciardo took the fight to Mercedes in the slippery early going on intermediates. The Australian led from lap 15 to 22, but faded thereafter as the track dried. He also got knocked about a bit, first by Hulkenberg, later by stablemate Sainz. That dropped him back to a 10th place finish on a day when he deserved much more.

Kvyat challenged Hamilton hard early on, but made mistake that cost him time and places before losing control on lap 43 and crashing hard into the inside wall on the approach to Turn 20.

Marussia

Alexander Rossi, P12
Will Stevens, Retired lap 1, accident damage

Rossi inadvertently hit the back of Stevens in the first-corner melee, putting his team mate out. But he made amends by equalling the team’s best result of 2015 with 12th in his home race.

Williams

Felipe Massa, Retired lap 23, damper
Valtteri Bottas, Retired lap 6, damper

Bottas had contact at the first corner and had to pit for a new nose. He risked switching from intermediates to slicks then, but was back in four laps later to revert to intermediates. A lap later he was in again to retire with a recurrence of the damper problem he’d encountered in qualifying that morning.

Massa was also involved in the first corner melee, tagging Alonso, forcing both men into spins and sustaining damage. Like Bottas he would also eventually retire with damper problems. It was the first time Williams had suffered a double retirement since Brazil in 2012.