By Alex Kapadia
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory at the US Grand Prix today – four years after he won the last race that took place at the Circuit of the Americas.
Hamilton adopted a one-stop strategy, changing from the P Zero White medium tyres to the P Zero Silver hard tyres on lap 20 in the first race to take place in the US since 2008.
Red Bull racer Sebastian Vettel used the same strategy and his second place finish has put him on the verge of a third consecutive title at the championship decider in Brazil next weekend.
Crucially, third place in America for Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso – the German’s only championship rival – has also kept his title hopes alive, meaning that for the first time in its history Pirelli will come to the final race of the season as sole tyre supplier with two drivers fighting it out for the championship crown on the last round.
Hamilton claimed the lead from Vettel – who had been quickest in every session – in the closing stages of the race, with both the drivers having fought each other hard from start to finish.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “We’d like to thank all the fans who came in their hundreds of thousands to Austin this weekend: the level of support and the welcome we received has been unbelievable and we can’t wait to come back.
‘Both the championship protagonists, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, drove magnificently today and the result is going to be a thrilling championship showdown in Brazil next weekend.
“Although in retrospect we could have come here with even the soft and the supersoft compounds, the fact that the title battle is now going down to the final round reinforces our decision not to introduce any unknown factors at a brand new circuit, where the title battle was so finely balanced.
“Levels of degradation were extremely low throughout the weekend, although this was also affected by ambient and track temperatures that were generally lower than expected.
“Performance and durability were extremely good on both compounds, allowing Vettel and Hamilton to race each other all the way to the flag.”