Unless Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton managed a cracking start from fifth place, his shot at a third straight United States Grand Prix victory was always a long one.
Still, the Englishman gave it everything he had with a jump of two spots into third at the first turn. The safety car period that immediately followed negated a further charge, and Hamilton eventually fell behind Mark Webber’s Red Bull for third.
Hamilton ended fourth after a race where he was clearly ahead of the rest of the pack and behind the podium finishers of the two Red Bulls and Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
It was a needed run with a new chassis, after his one at Abu Dhabi was found to be cracked. The difference, he said, was “night and day.”
“It felt great. I am really so happy that I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground,” Hamilton told NBC’s Will Buxton after the race. “Great to have a real race. Naturally when you have bad races like the last one (a relatively lonely seventh place result in Abu Dhabi), I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.”
Hamilton has adopted the U.S. as something of a second home. With residences in the States and the two prior victories at Indianapolis and in the inaugural Austin race last year, this is a country Hamilton has embraced and he felt like he wanted to achieve more this afternoon.
“It’s been great,” he told Buxton. “I also really love the Silverstone Grand Prix, my home grand prix obviously. But I have to say this city is so vibrant during the weekend, and the track is really nice to drive.”
Hamilton’s result consolidated Mercedes’ grip on second in the Constructor’s Championship. With Hamilton’s fourth and Nico Rosberg finishing ninth after a dismal qualifying session, Mercedes now has 348 points and 15 clear of Ferrari heading to Brazil next week.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).