Lewis Hamilton made to wait for fifth world championship title

Formula One World Championship

Britain's Lewis Hamilton was kept waiting for his fifth Formula One world championship on Sunday after the Mercedes driver finished third in a U.S. Grand Prix won by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Somehow, Vettel always comes off worse when he clashes with other drivers and it's a part of his racecraft he's going to have to work on if he wants to win a fifth world championship next year.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth, ahead of Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz, with Force India's Esteban Ocon eighth.

"After the weeks we had I'm pretty pleased we are back in range". We'll see what happens in the next race but so far, I'm not complaining a lot. "It should have been a better day", said Vettel. Tough weeks for the team and the tough times don't seem to be stopping for me.

Asked if Mercedes was too conservative with strategy in Austin in the hope that he would get the result he needed for the title on Sunday, Hamilton said: "There was that feeling with the performance and the decisions that were taken today, as opposed to previous races, but I didn't think we needed to make many changes [to our approach]. It doesn't change my life", Raikkonen said.

When qualifying began, the two Ferrari men were swiftly setting the pace with Vettel on top early in Q1. Raikkonen, who has started the race in P2, bolstered from the line and passed the pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

But Hamilton was losing time and pitted in the 38th lap with his tires blistering, coming out in fourth place, though quickly set the fastest lap as he looked to chase Raikkonen down again. A fifth career title would tie the British driver with Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio for the second-most championships in Formula One history.

"It is the first time we have had this ruling in the wet and you literally have to stop 30 or 40 kilometres per hour which I should do next time".

"Sometimes you get it in the right place, sometimes you get it in the wrong place", he said.

Fernando Alonso did his utmost, but wound up 16th after being outpaced by Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso in the final seconds. So what condition they will be in after ten or so laps will be anyone's guess.

Vettel picked up the penalties on Friday for failing to slow down sufficiently during a red flag period in the first practice session, after Charles Leclerc's Sauber had deposited gravel on the track on the exit of Turn 9 and through the left-hand Turn 10 kink.

Hamilton: "Big congratulations to Kimi, he did a great job today, no mistakes".

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