Hamilton wins in Texas as Vettel fails to secure title
Moscow, Nov 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the inaugural Formula One race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas as Sebastian Vettel failed to secure a third straight title.
Hamilton passed Vettel's Red Bull 16 laps from the end to win a race−long battle with the German and claim victory in the first US Grand Prix since 2007.
"That was amazing guys. That was wicked. Thank you so much, great pit stop," Hamilton told his team over the radio. "We definitely deserved that one, guys, we definitely did, thank you."
Vettel's second place was not enough to win the title outright but saw him extend his lead over his closest challenger, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, to 13 points as the Spaniard finished third.
The advantage means that even if Alonso wins the season finale in Brazil Nov 25, Vettel could seal the title with a fourth−place finish.
"It was a close fight with Lewis," Vettel said in televised comments. "He had one chance and he took it."
Red Bull secured their third straight constructors title, reflecting the pace advantage their car has had for most of the year.
"It's fantastic," Red Bull principal Christian Horner said of his team's third title.
"We've joined a list of illustrious names, I think there's only three other teams that have done it in the history of the sport."
Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa was fourth with McLaren's Jenson Button fifth after battling other cars throughout the race.
The Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were sixth and seventh, with Nico Hulkenberg eighth for Force India and Williams teammates Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna taking the last two points positions.
There was controversy even before the race started, as Ferrari deliberately gave Massa a grid penalty for an illegal gearbox change to elevate Alonso a place at the start, putting him on the grippier side of the grid.
The Spaniard took full advantage, surging up three places at the start, while Hamilton wasted little time passing Vettel's teammate Mark Webber.
Alonso was elevated to third when Webber stopped on track on lap 18, shortly after the only other retiree, Toro Rosso's Jean−Eric Vergne, stopped with broken suspension.
Hamilton homed in on Vettel but could not find a way past before a slow pit stop dropped him away from the German, who was racing in his 100th Grand Prix.
Hamilton closed back in and eventually passed Vettel after the Red Bull driver was held up by slower cars, before holding off Vettel for the remaining 14 laps.