While Sebastian Vettel’s chances of snatching the championship from the clutches of Lewis Hamilton were meagre, the Ferrari driver was still disappointed by today’s overall results although he believes third was a very good result overall.
Vettel was the underdog for a good part of the afternoon but a pitstop and change to medium tyres after 19 laps coupled with the race’s Safety Car periods eventually brought the German into contention in the last third of the race.
Indeed Vettel’s Ferrari was at one point the fastest car out on the track, and many even believed he could produce a run to the end without a second pitstop.
Alas, tyre wear eventually forced the Ferrari to pit for a set of the softer compound rubber which compromised any opportunity to battle with the faster Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Hamilton.
“I’ve got some mixed feelings really,” Vettel admitted.
“On the one hand it’s not great to lose out on the championship and a chance to hang in there, but equally it was fantastic race.”
“Starting 13th in these conditions and with I don’t know how many Safety Cars, we had a very good race. The car was great, especially in mixed conditions when we switched to dry tyres. I think we had a couple of laps when we seemed to fly, I was enjoying that alot.”
#F1 Sebastian Vettel, 15th to 3rd. Can you say anymore? He gave it a championship winning drive in a car which is not the best on the grid
— 5LightsF1 (@5LightsF1) October 25, 2015
Slowly but surely, Ferrari appear to be bridging the gap with its Mercedes rival, a state of affairs which bodes well for next season according to Vettel.
“I’m not predicting anything, but we’re working very hard and making good progress. Things are looking good for next year but we first of all we have to finish the season in style, and try to learn as much as we can using all the experience from this year to keep pushing forward for next season.”
Lewis Hamilton says “it’s a very humbling experience” to draw level with childhood hero Ayrton Senna after securing a third Formula One world title at Austin this weekend.
The Briton came out on top of a thrilling USGP that saw him go through all the emotions. Thus, Hamilton joins the elite triple world champions’ club, which also includes Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet.
A very emotional Hamilton, who described his win as “the greatest moment of my life” over team radio after crossing the line, also heaps praise on his family for going to great lengths at the start of his career.
“It’s a very humbling experience, especially to equal Ayrton Senna who meant so much to me and still does,” said Hamilton. “I feel very very blessed today.”
— suzi perry (@suziperry) October 26, 2015
“I’m just overwhelmed at the moment. It’s difficult really to find the words. I’m sitting here thinking about my first British championship. My Dad and I drove home singing “We’re the Champions”.
“It’s just crazy to think that I’m a three-time Formula One world champion. I owe it to my Dad, to my family who’ve supported my all these years, sacrificing so much for me to be here.”
Lining up second behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg, Hamilton forced his way past his Mercedes team-mate at the start to lead the opening stages of the race. But it was not all plain sailing from there.
On a drying track, the 30-year-old first dropped back as low as fourth before switching to slicks. Hamilton then managed to stay out of the surrounding chaotic events and recover to P2 behind Rosberg amidst Virtual Safety Cars periods and other race neutralisations.
The championship leader eventually inherited the lead on Lap 48 when the German ran wide ahead of him, and hung on until the chequered flag. Despite this rollercoaster of a ride, Hamilton says he never wavered.
“So many times I thought I had lost the race, falling back, Nico [Rosberg] getting in during the Safety Car and being very quick at one stage. But I never thought for one second that I could not do it.”
Toto Wolff admits he is wary the fallout from the United States Grand Prix could cause a split between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton took his third drivers’ championship with victory at Circuit of the Americas, with the two drivers fighting on track on numerous occasions. Hamilton even made contact with Rosberg when taking the lead in to Turn 1 at the start of the race.
With both championships now secure it was put to Wolff that he will be able to relax the approach with the drivers for the remaining races, but he says there is a risk of a rift appearing between the two.
Nothing like the love between Formula One teammates… https://t.co/FDkmxY8rbv
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) October 26, 2015
“[They can race] flat out, but actually we have been unleashing them all the time already,” Wolff said. “I was just asked how I am going to approach those races [with both titles secure] and I told them I don’t know because I have never been in a comfortable situation of being able to sit and watch a race and enjoy it as a fan.
“But it is also a crucial moment now to make sure today’s race and this incident don’t release consequences within the team and splitting the two sides of the garage.”
Asked if it has the potential to be as bad as the fallout from Spa in 2014, Wolff replied: “Yes, if we don’t take any action it has the potential.
“[I will] celebrate the world champion, let a couple of days pass, let the emotion cool down and have a chat.
“It’s never easy and it wasn’t easy the first time around. I think we have some experience and we just need to have a calm approach and a firm approach of how we would like them to compete out there.”
When it was put to Wolff that Rosberg could treat Hamilton differently, Wolff admitted: “That danger is for sure imminent.”
And when asked specifically about the first corner incident between Hamilton and Rosberg, Wolff replied: “It’s very hard.
“Lewis came on the radio and said it wasn’t on purpose, I think it’s something that we are going to talk about in a couple of days but this is the moment to celebrate a world champion who deserves to be a world champion and once the emotions have cooled down we will discuss.”