Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas
won the United States Grand Prix with a two-stopper, while his team mate
Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth title after finishing in second place with
a one-stopper. As has often been the case at the Circuit of the Americas,
there was a wide variety of strategies seen all the way down the field
today, with a tense tactical battle between the top three that came down to
the final few laps.
Bottas started from pole but slipped behind his team mate after making an
extra pit stop. The Finn subsequently took advantage of his fresher tyres to
claim the lead close to the end of the race.
Hamilton was one of five drivers in the top 10 of the grid to start on the
medium tyre, but he completed a longer opening stint than his rivals before
switching to the hard for a one-stopper, which required perfect tyre
Red Bullís Max Verstappen was locked in a tactical battle with Bottas for
most of the race on a similar medium-hard-medium two-stop strategy, but he
could not get past Hamilton at the finish and ended up third.
Ferrariís Charles Leclerc, who finished fourth, adopted a different two-stop
strategy, using all three nominated compounds. During his final stint on the
soft, he gained the extra point for fastest race lap.
Behind him, Red Bullís Alex Albon finished fifth, having been last after his
early pit stop on lap one following some contact. He completed a
three-stopper in the end: the only driver to do so.
In total, there were five different strategies in the top six: underlining
the multiplicity of approaches in evidence at the United States Grand Prix.
Weather conditions for the race were similarly warm to yesterday, which had
an effect on tyre behaviour by favouring the harder compounds.
HOW EACH TYRE PERFORMED
HARD C2: The key to the race, which was used by every driver apart from Red
Bullís Alex Albon. Hamilton completed an impressive 32-lap final stint on
this compound as he tried to win the race with a one-stopper.
MEDIUM C3: Only four drivers didnít run this compound at some point during
the grand prix. It was also used by the top five drivers on the grid to
start the race.
SOFT C4: Used by a number of drivers at the end of the race for a final
sprint with light fuel, including Leclerc, who finished just off the podium
and set fastest lap.
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
ďThe final few laps in particular were extremely tense, as we all waited to
see if Lewis Hamilton could make a one-stopper work to win the race, against
drivers on much fresher tyres behind him. He didnít quite make it to the top
step of the podium but it was still a spectacular fight where strategy was
all-important, so big congratulations to Lewis for a very well-deserved
sixth title after a thrilling grand prix. Congratulations of course to
Valtteri as well for winning the race with a completely different strategy.
In the end, the relatively warm conditions, after a very cool start to the
weekend, meant that it was a close call between one and two stops using the
harder compounds: with two of the three podium finishers eventually opting
for a two-stopper. However, we witnessed a wide variety of strategies all
the way down the grid with close competition from start to finish, which is
exactly what we all want to see.Ē