Lewis Hamilton wins his third F1 World Championship
By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer in Austin
9 hours ago From the sectionFormula 1
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Lewis Hamilton crosses the line to win the 2015 US Grand Prix
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling United States Grand Prix to seal his third World Championship.
Hamilton pressured team-mate Nico Rosberg into a mistake during a frantic last 10 laps after a safety car and swept by to take his 10th win of 2015.
It was an exciting climax to a race of fluctuating fortunes, lead changes and superb racing in changing conditions.
Hamilton becomes only the second British driver after Sir Jackie Stewart to win three Formula 1 drivers’ titles.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could have kept the race open until Mexico next weekend had he finished second, but could manage only third place behind Rosberg.
“Amazing,” Hamilton told singer Elton John during the podium interviews. “I can’t find the right words to tell you how amazing this feels.
“I love you guys and everything you do for me. For all my family, I love you all.”
Hamilton’s team-mate Rosberg congratulated the Briton as they prepared for the podium interviews, but then appeared furious when Hamilton tossed a ‘second place’ cap towards the German, who then launched it back toward the champion.
Hamilton overtook Rosberg in controversial fashion on lap one, sparking an intense battle throughout the rest of the race
Rosberg said: “It has never happened to me ever something like that [the error], I can’t explain it. I just need to look into it afterwards. It was really tough at the time to lose the lead like that and the win.
“Turn One for sure was very aggressive [by Hamilton]. I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment until I have seen it. Extremely aggressive and we hit each other. Or I should say Lewis came into me, so that’s not good. I can’t say more than that.”
How did Hamilton seal it?
Rosberg’s error came a lap after a restart following one of two safety car periods in a race that also featured two interruptions by the virtual safety car.
Before that, the advantage had continuously swung back and forwards between the two Mercedes drivers in a race of fluctuating fortunes.
With 15 laps to go, it appeared as if Hamilton was going to miss out, as he led the race but appeared a sitting duck with Rosberg on fresher tyres and closing in behind after stopping under a virtual safety car period while Hamilton stayed out.
But then a heavy crash for Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat when the Russian lost control at Turn 19 gave Hamilton a lifeline when the actual safety car was deployed.
He stopped for fresh tyres and rejoined in second place, right behind Rosberg, and the two were set up for an all-out battle for victory in the closing 10 laps.
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Now Hamilton had the advantage, on tyres eight laps fresher, and on lap 48 of 56 Rosberg lost traction out of the Turn 12 hairpin at the end of the long back straight, his car flicked from side to side and he ran wide off the track as Hamilton swept into the lead.
The German tried to come back at Hamilton but the 30-year-old Englishman held him comfortably at bay.
Hamilton was told he had won the title over the radio on his slowing down lap and initially struggled to speak, apparently fighting back tears, before managing to thank the team and his family for their support.
He then performed donut spins for the fans in the stadium section towards the end of the lap before touring back to the pits for the ceremonies.