Lewis Hamilton picked up where he left off at the last USGP at Indianapolis by claiming the first win at the all-new Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
The Briton, who said pre-race that it would be nice to be the first to triumph on a new venue for F1, overcame the disadvantage of starting second on the grid, to hunt down poleman Sebastian Vettel and deny the German a chance to massively extend his championship advantage over Fernando Alonso. Despite dropping to third off the line, as third-placed Mark Webber made the most of the better grip on his side of the grid, Hamilton split the Red Bulls on lap four, before running Vettel down over the next 38 laps and pouncing at the end of the DRS zone.
Webber was not to see the end of the grand prix as RBR's reliability jinx again hit his side of the garage, and his retirement with alternator failure on lap 17 was enough to promote Alonso into yet another podium position. The Spaniard made the most of Ferrari's controversial decision to break the seals on team-mate Felipe Massa's gearbox in order to incur a penalty and promote the title contender on the clean side of the grid by vaulting into fourth position by turn one, and the combination of Hamilton's win and Webber's exit ensures that the championship battle goes to Brazil with the protagonists 13 points apart.
Behind the top three, Felipe Massa overcame his personal sacrifice to finish fourth, coming home ten seconds clear of Jenson Button, who decided to start on the harder Pirelli rubber and run long into the race. The move, allied to his even-numbered starting slot, dropped the Briton to 16th on lap one, but his tactic paid off as he rose through the field and eventually came home fifth overall. Button also had to pull off a series of passing moves, including going wheel to wheel with Abu Dhabi winner Kimi Raikkonen to consign the Finn to sixth.
The second Lotus of Romain Grosjean came home seventh, despite spinning off early on and having to make an early stop to change tyres, while Nico Hulkenberg claimed eighth for Force India, ahead of duelling Williams team-mates Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna.
Full race report
Full race results
Full championship standings