With a final round-up from the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, following Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, Crash.net F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith brings you his paddock notebook.

- Victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix saw Kimi Raikkonen snap a five-and-a-half year win drought in Formula 1. Raikkonen’s last win came 113 races ago at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix with Lotus, while his most recent victory in Ferrari colours prior to today came at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

- The result saw Raikkonen become the first driver to win in the V10, V8 and V6 eras of F1, something Fernando Alonso failed to achieve (the only other driver who won in V10s and V8s to race in V6s).

- Raikkonen became the fifth different winner of an F1 race in 2018, leaving Valtteri Bottas as the only driver in the ‘big three’ teams yet to take victory this year.

- With his 21st F1 victory, Raikkonen surpassed fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen’s tally, becoming his nation’s leading driver in terms of race victories. Raikkonen sits 15th in the all-time win list.

- As Lewis Hamilton could only finish third at COTA on Sunday, the Briton was forced to delay his championship celebrations, with his lead standing at 70 points with 75 still available this year. A two-stop strategy and severe tyre wear meant Hamilton dropped behind both Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in the race.

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- It marked only Hamilton’s second defeat on American soil, following his 2013 defeat to Sebastian Vettel.

- Raikkonen and Hamilton were the only race leaders at COTA. Raikkonen headed the field for 39 laps, while Hamilton ran out front for 17 laps.

- Vettel must now win all of the final three races to stand any chance of winning the title this year, having recovered to P4 after spinning on the opening lap of the race when battling with Daniel Ricciardo. The incident was reviewed by the stewards, with no action being taken.

- Ricciardo’s podium drought dating back to Monaco continued as he retired from the race after 10 laps when an issue arose on his car. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed after the race that Ricciardo had punched a hole in the wall of his driver room in frustration after the race.

- Valtteri Bottas was powerless to stop Vettel from passing in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his Soft tyres alive, having attempted a one-stop strategy. The pass from Vettel meant that even if Hamilton had overtaken Verstappen for P2 late on, he would not have been crowned champion at COTA. 

- Mercedes was forced into a late change of water pump on both Hamilton and Bottas’ cars ahead of the race on Sunday after issues emerged on Saturday. Mercedes confirmed it was “not precautionary”, adding: “Valtteri had a leak in qualifying, Lewis data indicated an issue with his. They were fitted fresh here so we will fit old, proven pumps of the same spec.”

- Renault drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. both executed perfect one-stop strategies to finish as the leading midfield drivers in P6 and P7 respectively, picking up 14 crucial points for the team in its constructors’ championship fight against Haas. The team now sits 22 points clear in the fight for P4 in the standings.

- Haas had come away from its home race weekend with two points to its name courtesy of Kevin Magnussen, only for the Dane to be disqualified post-race for exceeding the 105 kg fuel limit for the race.

- Force India’s Esteban Ocon was also disqualified for exceeding the maximum permitted fuel flow on the opening lap of the race. This marked the first time since the 2014 Australian Grand Prix a driver had been disqualified from a race on a fuel-related matter.

- All of this promoted Sergio Perez to eighth ahead of Brendon Hartley and Marcus Ericsson. It marked Hartley’s best F1 result, adding to his previous scores in Azerbaijan and Hungary.

- Romain Grosjean was hit with a three-place grid penalty for Mexico after colliding with Charles Leclerc on the opening lap of the race. Grosjean also picked up one penalty point on his FIA Super License, putting him on 10 for the 12-month period. Any driver accruing 12 penalty points receives a one-race ban. Grosjean will have a point wiped away on October 29, but has to get through the Mexican GP - on October 28 - first without adding the extra two points to his tally.

- Pirelli issed a pre-race change to its tyre setting requirements, with teams being set new parameters of the minimum rear tyre pressure for the start of the race. This rose to 21.5 psi on raceday, up from the original requirement of 20 psi.

- Lewis Hamilton spent part of his pre-race preparations offering hot laps in the Mercedes AMG GT R at COTA, with one passenger being star of Netflix TV show Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown. Hamilton finished the lap by doing burnouts and donuts at the final corner and on the main straight.

 

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