Missing: Ferrari, last seen crawling around Austin

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel Daniel Ricciardo PA

Sebastian Vettel would need patience to race in midfield says Daniel Ricciardo.

Charles Leclerc finished 50 seconds off the pace, while Sebastian Vettel suffered a suspension failure in a miserable United States GP for Ferrari.

Here is how race day unfolded around the COTA…

A cracked endplate on Max Verstappen’s car caused some frantic work down at Red Bull before lights out, but they made it.

We hadn’t even got going and Sebastian Vettel was already being pulled up on strategy.

It was a dreadful start for Ferrari as Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went sailing past Vettel and Charles Leclerc. The German would be passed by his team-mate and sunk further still down the pack courtesy of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel would need patience to race in midfield says Daniel Ricciardo.

Alex Albon also took a hit from Carlos Sainz at the first turn which forced him to pit and fall to the back of the field. The stewards went to work investigating the incident, but ruled that no further action was needed.

The situation got far worse for Vettel on Lap 8 after his suspension failed in a major way.

Verstappen was the first of the front runners to stop on Lap 13 to fit the hard tyres. He had been complaining of poor balance from his Red Bull.

Race leader Valtteri Bottas responded straight away and just avoided the undercut. The Finn and Verstappen quickly cleared Leclerc ahead who was yet to stop.

A 7.7-second stop for Leclerc put him even further adrift of the top three.

Meanwhile Hamilton decided to take strategy into his own hands, ignoring Mercedes’ order to pit on Lap 23 – he’s making quite the habit of this and it almost compromised Bottas’ own race.

The Brit would come in on the next lap and came back out P3 – he remained on course for wrapping up that sixth World Championship.

The best battle going on at the halfway point of the race was over P5 – try as he might Norris was struggling to find a way past Ricciardo.

Robert Kubica had waited 13 years to race in the United States, but his afternoon came to an end after a hydraulic problem on Lap 33.

Verstappen joined him in the pit lane on Lap 35, but for the Dutchman it was so that he could fit a new set of medium tyres.

Mercedes covered that again with Bottas – the chase was on for Bottas and Verstappen to catch Hamilton who was looking to pull off the one-stop.

Bottas had made it into DRS range of Hamilton with six laps remaining, but you would be forgiven for keeping an eye on Albon who had made a second stop and worked his way back up to P5.

The Finn made his move on Hamilton, but the five-time World Champion held his ground as Bottas was forced off the track.

Second time lucky for Bottas as he made the move stick and reclaimed the lead of the United States GP. Next up for Hamilton was to stay clear of Verstappen.

Kevin Magnussen suffered a brake failure at the end of the main straight – those yellow flags certainly took some pressure off Hamilton in his defence against Verstappen.

It would be Bottas who won the United States Grand Prix, but P2 for Hamilton meant he was a six-time Formula 1 World Champion!

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