Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 8

Champion of the world for a sixth time, Lewis Hamilton so dearly wanted to wrap things up with another COTA victory. But his struggles in qualifying came back to bite him, for although the one-stop strategy was good enough to (just) overhaul Max Verstappen, he was powerless to stop Valtteri Bottas flying past with five laps to go.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes – 10

Bottas had to win in Austin if he wanted to stand any chance of delaying Hamilton’s coronation, and kept up his end of the bargain in convincing fashion. He pipped Sebastian Vettel to pole on Saturday before controlling things in the race despite the double-threat of Hamilton and Verstappen. A convincing way to wrap up P2 in the standings.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari – 6

A tough one to score for Vettel given his early retirement due to a suspension failure, the early signs of which appeared to contribute to his disastrous start. A cautious approach to Q3 arguably cost him pole as he fell 0.012s shy of Bottas, but given how Leclerc struggled in the race, it’s hard to envisage Vettel remaining a threat at the front as he was in qualifying.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari – 6

Leclerc was a step behind the leaders in qualifying, winding up fourth, but even further adrift in the race. Lapping a second off the pace in the early stages, the podium was never possible barring some outside help, leaving Leclerc a distant fourth at the flag on a difficult day for Ferrari.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull – 9

A really gutsy performance from Verstappen to bounce back from his Mexico disappointment. He fell just short of a second pole after a lock-up at Turn 1 in Q3, but recovered it early in the race before piling pressure on Bottas with an early pit stop. Damage to his front wing and floor made it more difficult to keep up the pace, but Verstappen only just fell short of the one-stopping Hamilton in second.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull – 7

Albon finished almost half a second off Verstappen in qualifying on Saturday before getting hit at Turn 1, forcing an early pit stop. It would turn out to be the first of three as Red Bull avoided the Hard tyre due to an issue, but Albon recovered well, fighting his way back to P5 with relative ease. Another convincing display to only further the case for him to be retained for 2020.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault – 9

The battle for midfield supremacy raged on in Austin, with Daniel Ricciardo coming out on top this time around. While far off the McLarens in qualifying, Ricciardo made a good start and won an early battle with Norris, who rarely dropped out of sight from the Renault through the race. Ricciardo made it home on one stop, fending a two-stopping Norris off in the final couple of laps.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault – 7

After a sluggish first stint on the Hards, Nico Hulkenberg rolled the dice and moved to a two-stop strategy that worked wonders as he charged up the order through the second half of the race, eventually nabbing two points for P9 – although more could have been possible with a better qualifying and better start.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas – 6

Will someone please put Haas out of its misery for 2019? Another tough day in the office for the American team, albeit with Magnussen leading its charge in qualifying and even rising into the points early on before a race-long brake issue caused him to drop back through the field.

Romain Grosjean, Haas – 5

Things weren’t a great deal better for Grosjean, whose one-stop strategy meant he was kept out too long at the end of the opening stint and lost a lot of positions. The switch to Hards didn’t offer much of an improvement as Grosjean tootled around in 17th for much of the race.

Carlos Sainz, McLaren – 7

Race 100 saw Carlos Sainz return to the points in Austin, recovering from the first-lap clash with Albon to get home in eighth after making a one-stop strategy work. Given how early he pitted, it was impressive to make the Hards last so long, even if he couldn’t get in the mix with Ricciardo and Norris ahead.

Lando Norris, McLaren – 9

Norris dodged the incident at Turn 1 to scamper ahead at the front of the midfield, even pulling off an audacious pass on Vettel on the opening lap. While he ultimately lost out to Ricciardo, Norris was just a few corners away from topping the midfield after a stunning charge on fresh rubber late on.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point – 9

After his harsh penalty for missing the weighbridge on Friday, Perez fought superbly from the pit lane to finish the race in 10th, albeit with some late drama. He battled hard on the Mediums in the opening stint to rise up the order, proving Racing Point’s pace, and barged ahead of Gasly in the closing stages before beign taken out by Kvyat on the last lap. 11th at the flag became P10 after Kvyat’s penalty, extending his points streak.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point – 5

A poor start dropped Stroll back before the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy backfired as the Canadian struggled for pace late on despite having a fresh set of Softs at his disposal. A disappointing result given the car’s clear pace.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo – 6

Alfa Romeo stands little chance of fighting for points right now, but Raikkonen made a good run of it a COTA. He recovered from a poor qualifying to start well and even sit inside the points early on, and while the two-stop strategy couldn’t quite nab him P10, he was less than a second off Perez at the flag.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo – 5

Raikkonen may have ran well, but Giovinazzi had a more difficult time of it on the other side of the Alfa Romeo garage. A slow start on Mediums was followed by more struggles after switching to Hards, with pace only coming through when he finally bolted on a set of Softs for the final stint. By then, it was too late to finish any higher than P14.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso – 6

Kvyat fought well through the field after failing to make Q3, only to fritter away his points with a needless last-lap clash, this time with Sergio Perez. The post-race penalty dropped Kvyat out of the points, marking a low note to end what had otherwise been a strong race.

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso – 8

Gasly put in a bold display for Toro Rosso in Austin, getting in the thick of the fight for the lower points before late damage when battling with Sergio Perez forced him to retire in the final couple of laps. He’d been on-course for P9 prior to that.

George Russell, Williams – 5

A quiet day in the office for Russell, who struggled in the opening stages, dropping him back from the fight with some of the lower-midfield runners before eventually coming home almost a minute down on Grosjean ahead.

Robert Kubica, Williams – 5

Kubica got the jump on Russell early on before slipping behind towards the end of the first stint as his pace dropped off, before the team retired him due to an hydraulic issue.

 

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