This past weekend, Formula 1 brought racing to Austin, Texas with the United States Grand Prix. Usually occurring the third weekend in October, the USGP is the only F1 race in the United States, drawing fans from across the country to the Texas capital.
This year’s race was set to be a good one from the beginning, with the championship title on the line for Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG Petronas and Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari. If Hamilton outscored Vettel by eight points, he would win the world championship.
The events began on a very rainy Friday, with very few drivers taking part in the wet practice sessions. Saturday’s practice session however was free of rain, and all of the drivers made their way out on track for the first dry laps of the weekend.
By the time qualifying rolled around, the drivers were all on pace, with Hamilton taking pole position after setting a 1:32.237 minute lap time. Vettel set the second fastest, but started from fifth position after receiving a grid penalty on Friday. Max Verstappen, of Red Bull Racing was set back in 18th position after breaking his car in the first qualifying session.
On race day, the stands were packed as the drivers took their positions on the start line. After two thrilling support races, the crowds were ready for the main event. Kimi Raikkonen, who started in second, passed Hamilton going into turn one, and kept the lead for much of the race.
Fernando Alonso retired after just one lap after colliding with Williams driver Lance Stroll. Verstappen made his way from 18th up into 7th after the first few laps, and kept climbing to finish a thrilling second, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired after just nine laps with a technical issue. Raikkonen managed to fend off Verstappen and Hamilton for much of the race, with the trio separated by less than two seconds for the last 10 laps. As the flag came down, Raikkonen crossed the line in first, followed closely bo Verstappen and Hamilton. Vettel followed shortly after in fourth place.
While Hamilton failed to clinch the title in Austin, he is set to in Mexico, simply having to place seventh or higher to win. All in all, it was a thrilling race, and a great show for F1 to bring to the United States.