Lewis Hamilton Closes on Fourth World Driver’s Championship

Vipul Telang/The Avion Newspaper

Vipul Telang/Photo Editor

Lewis Hamilton clinched his ninth win of the 2017 season and his fourth consecutive win at the Circuit of The Americas on Oct. 22 as he beat Sebastian Vettel to win the 2017 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin, Texas. After a brilliant start, Vettel led the opening five laps of the race but was soon passed by Hamilton who did not relinquish the lead of the race, eventually winning by over ten seconds. Mercedes secured the Constructor’s Championship for the fourth straight year, joining only three other teams in history to win four in a row. The race was not without controversy, however. On the last lap, Red Bull’s teenage sensation Max Verstappen passed Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for the final podium position, but after careful review race stewards determined that Verstappen gained an unfair advantage and awarded him a five-second time penalty. The decision meant that both Ferraris finished on the podium for the first time ever in Austin. Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes finished fifth, a disappointing result by the Finn after struggling to manage his tire wear on race day.

Brendon Hartley made his Formula 1 race debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso, replacing Carlos Sainz who transferred to Renault. Sainz finished an impressive seventh, just missing sixth place by two seconds. Hartley drove an decent race, finishing thirteenth and one lap down. Red Bull  senior driver Daniel Ricciardo  ended his race in the garage after his Tag Heuer-branded Renault engine gave out after only fourteen laps. McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso excited his fans after he announced he would be wearing his Indianapolis 500 helmet. Unfortunately, he struggled all of race weekend, completing just four laps during free practice one after an engine issue sidelined him for the rest of the session. He retired on lap twenty-four, joining Daniel Ricciardo, Pascal Wehrlein, and Nico Hulkenburg in the garage.  Alonso was not classified and scored a DNF, his seventh of the season. American team Haas F1 based in Kannapolis had a lackluster race, with Kevin Magnussen finishing last of the running cars and Romain Grosjean finishing two places better in fourteenth.

Formula 1 teamed up with the Susan G. Komen  Breast Cancer Foundation in Austin as part of the Drive for the Cure. Drivers, teams, and fans were encouraged to wear pink to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Formula 1 tire manufacturer Pirelli changed the sidewall of the ultrasoft tire from purple to pink in support of the partnership. In an effort by F1 owners Liberty Media to promote the race further for fans, CoTA introduced a go-kart race track in front of the Main Grandstands for the first time in circuit history, allowing spectators to emulate their heroes. Multiple celebrities also made their appearance around the track including Olympian Usain Bolt, former President Bill Clinton, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and Justin Timberlake, the latter headlining the post-qualifying concert on the CoTA SuperStage in the infield near Turn 11. Stevie Wonder headlined the post-race concert on Sunday.