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Formula One: Hamilton wins in Austin ahead of Rosberg

October 23, 2016

The pressure was on for one half of the Mercedes team, but the F1 drivers' championship remains alive after the Austin Grand Prix thanks to a Mercedes one-two that keeps the German driver in pole position.

USA Formel 1 Austin Hamilton
Image: Reuters/A. Latif

Lewis Hamilton put his pole-position problems behind him to win his fourth US Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and keep his slim drivers' championship hopes alive. Despite a late surge from Rosberg, the 31-year-old Englishman held on to take the No. 1 spot and cut Rosberg's lead to 26 points with three races to go.

Hamilton held onto the lead in the opening corner, but teammate Rosberg was pipped by Daniel Ricciardo at the first turn. Rosberg opted for medium tires early while many changed to soft tires as he opted for a longer strategy. It was Hamilton though, who got into his groove and pulled out ahead.

Max Verstappen impressed, but his ambitious reply to team orders - "I'm not here to finish fourth" - was in vain as a surprise box was followed by an engine failure on lap 30.

His error made matters worse for his teammate, Ricciardo. The virtual safety car followed and both Hamilton and Rosberg took advantage of the effective free pit stop, much to the frustration of Ricciardo who slipped into third behind the German.

Quietly performing well was Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who ended up finishing fourth. Vettel's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, pushed for third, but his race ended abruptly when he left the pits on lap 40 with a wheel gun still attached.

There was plenty of movement in the final part of the race - Jenson Button climbed 10 places - but not at the front. Hamilton, Rosberg and Ricciardo were virtually set in their podium spots 10 laps ahead of the finish.

Rosberg doesn't need to win any of the final four races to be crowned champion for the first time, even if Hamilton wins all of them. Two second-placed finishes and a third place would wrap it up for Rosberg, but a second-place finish in Austin would have delighted him after his poor start.

Next week's Grand Prix is in Mexico, a race Rosberg won last season ahead of Hamilton. A repeat would leave Rosberg with one glove on the championship.