‘F****** finally!’ – Raikkonen ends 113-race wait

Date published: October 21 2018

What a race! Kimi Raikkonen ends a lengthy, lengthy wait, while Sebastian Vettel just about recovers to take the World Championship battle into another race weekend.

Here is how race day unfolded in Austin, Texas…

After meeting one the ‘Verstoppers’ in qualifying on Saturday, there was a double blow for Max Verstappen as his P13 on the grid became P18 with news of a gearbox penalty.

The Mercedes mechanics were also kept busy in the build-up to lights out.

Hamilton, on the brink of a fifth World Championship title, was in a relaxed mood ahead of the United States Grand Prix…

There was also word from the only American driver on the grid: D-Ricky Bobby.

We interrupt the race gallery to bring you this message:

Message ends.

Just for a change, the expected pit strategies were a one-stopper.

Thankfully there was no sign of Michael Buffer this year with some awkward driver introductions.

In case you had forgotten, Red Bull were there to remind everyone that we were very much in Texas territory…

Perfect racing conditions were in store as the drivers lined up on the grid…

It was an eventful start once the lights went out. Kimi Raikkonen got down the inside of Lewis Hamilton to take the lead going into Turn 1.

But, it was disaster once again for Sebastian Vettel.

There was then a seventh race retirement of the 2018 season for Daniel Ricciardo. Will this guy ever catch a break?

Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean were the other early DNFs.

A Virtual Safety Car saw Hamilton pit for soft tyres, while race leader Kimi Raikkonen stayed out on his ultrasofts.

The Finn then proceeded to hold up Hamilton as much as possible.

With the first part of Raikkonen’s job complete, Vettel, recovering from his first lap spin, allowed his team-mate back through to try and take the fight back to Hamilton.

At the halfway stage, the top five read: Ham, Rai, Ver, Bot, Vet.

The question was whether if Hamilton would try to make the softs last until the end or switch to a two-stopper.

The answer was the latter. Mercedes playing it safe…

With 10 laps to go, Verstappen was chasing down Raikkonen for the race win, Hamilton was in pursuit in third and Vettel was closing in on Bottas in P4. A fascinating conclusion was in store.

Hamilton had a little look at Verstappen but couldn’t make the move stick. Vettel, meanwhile, made sure the title ‘fight’ went onto Mexico.

With Verstappen and Hamilton squabbling with each other, step forward one Kimi Raikkonen.

 

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