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.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.