Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Race highlights - United States 2017 - One title is decided in the Austin afternoon action

Published by Christine

Max Verstappen lights up the Austin track
Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

With blue skies and a bizarrely grandiose build up, the US Grand Prix got underway to much applause. Two championships were up for grabs, with both Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton able to close out a title if the results went their way. With a great first lap, the racing began in style and the undulations of the fabulous COTA track meant opportunities for overtaking continued throughout the ninety minute event.

In the end, one championship was decided but another rolls on to Mexico, and a last minute penalty meant the podium switched in the blink of an eye. It was all go in Austin, so read on for lap by lap coverage of the US Grand Prix.

As it happened: United States 2017 - The race

Event Highlights

  • Hamilton wins after briefly losing the lead to Vettel on the first lap.
  • Vettel swaps places with Räikkönen in the final stages to finish second and keep the title fight alive.
  • Verstappen pulls a stunning overtake on Kimi on the final lap but is demoted five seconds for track limits before the podium.
  • Nico Hülkenberg and Pascal Wehrlein are early retirements.
  • Daniel Ricciardo retires with an engine issue, quickly followed by Fernando Alonso.
  • Sainz puts on an impressive overtaking performance over Pérez in his first Renault race.
  • 19:00

    Hi there, welcome to the Factbyte Factbox for the US Grand Prix!

  • 19:00

    The action is due to get underway in an hour, which gives us plenty of time to chat about the state of things in F1's championship, and what's been happening in the build up to today's race.

  • 19:02
    Circuit Data
    Circuit of the Americas
    Local timezone-05:00 GMT
    First race2012
    Number of laps56
    Circuit length5.513km
    Race distance308.405km
    Start offset0.323km
  • 19:04

    The COTA is a popular destination thanks to its great track layout (elevation changes and a mixture of classic corners), as well as a fabulous atmosphere and welcoming audience.

  • 19:05

    This weekend, much of the paddock has taken on a pink hue, as the sport is embracing raising awareness for the fight against breast cancer.

  • 19:05

    The purple tyres are even pink this weekend!

  • 19:07

    We've got some new and returning faces in the paddock this weekend, with driver movements taking place just a few races before the end of the year. Carlos Sainz has switched to Renault, Jolyon Palmer has left. Daniil Kvyat has returned to Toro Rosso, partnering Brendon Hartley who makes his F1 debut.

    Gasly, who was previously driving the Toro Rosso, ducked out of this weekend to take part in another series (which was unfortunately cancelled after all that!).

  • 19:10

    Of course, this weekend Lewis Hamilton could win the world championship, he has such a lead on Sebastian Vettel.

    The permutations are as follows:

    If Hamilton wins, Vettel must be fifth or above to remain in the fight.

    If Hamilton is second, Vettel needs an eighth place or higher.

    If Hamilton is third or lower, Vettel lives to fight another day in Mexico.

  • 19:12

    Hamilton's comfort at this track couldn't be halted, with the Brit leading every practice session and securing pole position. Vettel did the best he could to take second place, though.

  • 19:13
    Starting grid
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2S VettelFerrari
    3V BottasMercedes
    4D RicciardoRed Bull
    5K RäikkönenFerrari
    6E OconForce India
    7C SainzRenault
    8F AlonsoMcLaren
    9S PérezForce India
    10F MassaWilliams
  • 19:14

    Grid penalties have hit hard again this weekend, with Stoffel Vandoorne, Brendon Hartley, Nico Hülkenberg and Max Verstappen hit by hefty engine related drops.

  • 19:14

    TweetTweet from @Max33Verstappen: We have the car and the performance is there. So with some overtaking, let’s go for a good result

  • 19:15

    Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll both earned themselves three place penalties by impeding other drivers in qualifying.

  • 19:15

    TweetTweet from @markblundellf1: I Said a long time ago that @Carlossainz55 is a man to watch in an F1 car and I think he will grow inside @RenaultSportF1

  • 19:18

    The pit lane has opened early today, 45 minutes to go and the engines are firing up and practice starts are being completed.

  • 19:26

    It was raining earlier today, but things have cleared up in Austin now and the skies are blue above the track. It looks quite windy still though, the flags are waving proudly.

  • 19:34

    Liberty Media are messing mixing up the pre-race schedule this weekend with driver introductions from "Let's get ready to rumble" announcer Michael Buffer and the Usain Bolt waving green flags ahead of the formation lap.

  • 19:37

    This could be a brilliant addition to the race weekend, or a total TV disaster. Our only reference point for Buffer is that he was sampled on PJ & Duncan's 1994 poptastic Let's Get Ready to Rhumble.


  • 19:40

    The drivers are being announced individually and emerging from the garages to take up a place at the front of the grid. It's... you know... exactly what you think it is.

  • 19:41

    "Dany The Torpedo Kvyat!"

    I'm sure that nickname was not a favourable one.

  • 19:44

    They're still being announced. Just a few more to go. It's a lengthy start to proceedings, it has to be said.

  • 19:45

    It's great to celebrate these drivers, but feels like it should be a first race or last race kind of thing.

  • 19:47

    Lewis Hamilton walks out to big cheers, he's the last of the drivers to appear with a quick interview on his way to the front of everyone.

  • 19:48

    For some reason, Hamilton and Vettel have to stand opposite each other and stare each other down while the national anthem plays out.

  • 19:51

    TweetTweet from @MBrundleF1: I take it you didn’t enjoy that new grid concept too much judging by the occasional tweet demonstrating mild annoyance

  • 19:53

    Weather icon

    Wind speed2.5mps
  • 19:55

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: A few minutes to go before the start of #USGP and overnight rain has given way to sunshine. So expect to see plenty of pink

  • 19:57

    Packed crowds around the track, lots of love for F1 this weekend. Haas are the home team, but Hamilton is getting most of the cheers.

  • 19:58

    The top nine drivers are all starting on purple/pink ultrasofts. Massa, Ericsson, Stroll, Verstappen, Magnussen and Vandoorne are on the red supersets, whilst Pascal Wehrlein is the only driver to start the race on the yellow softs.

  • 19:59

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: GENTLEMEN... START YOUR ENGINES!!

    This. Is. Awesome!!

  • 20:00

    Carlos Sainz, in his first race for yellow, already looks supremely comfortable. He's done a great job so far this weekend, and qualified well inside the top ten. He says points are the aim.

  • 20:00

    Usain Bolt dashes across the track with the green flag, and the formation lap gets underway.

  • 20:02

    Hamilton is backing everyone up hugely on the final corner of this formation lap. The cars are slowly crawling towards their grid slots.

  • 20:03

    Green flagRace started.

  • 20:04 Lap 1

    Good start by Vettel to run side by side alongside Hamilton into the first corner, and he gets ahead around turn one!

  • 20:04 Lap 1

    Clean lap from everyone else behind. Alonso has squeezed ahead of Sainz for seventh.

  • 20:05 Lap 1

    Sainz and Alonso are doing battle for that position, but the McLaren remains ahead at the moment.

  • 20:05 Lap 1

    Few puffs of smoke as the heavy cars lock up into the mid-section corners.

  • 20:05 Lap 2

    Esteban Ocon has made his way up to fifth place, deposing Kimi Räikkönen.

  • 20:06 Lap 2

    Daniel Ricciardo has muscled his way past Bottas, potentially nudging the Mercedes off track. Bottas was having none of it though, and stuck his foot down to force his way back past again. Aggressive from both.

  • 20:06 Lap 2

    Max Verstappen's making the progress he was hoping for, heading up to 12th place already after just two laps.

  • 20:07 Lap 2

    Kevin Magnussen came into the pits for the yellow soft tyres, he's now running last.

  • 20:07 Lap 3

    Räikkönen has found his way back past the pink Force India, with Ocon running wide and leaving a gap for the Finn to regain fifth place.

  • 20:08 Lap 3

    Verstappen dispatches Pérez and is already up into the top ten.

  • 20:09 Lap 4

    Grosjean is complaining about Kvyat's driving, moving all over the place apparently. Poor Dany has some cobwebs to brush off, no doubt.

  • 20:09 Lap 4

    Ricciardo had another go at Bottas, but it was an optimistic move. Bottas had the upper hand and stays ahead for now. He's dropping everyone at least five seconds off the lead two.

  • 20:10 Lap 4

    Pascal Wehrlein has pitted, he was already running towards the back anyway.

  • 20:10 Lap 5

    Nico Hülkenberg has also pitted, but the German is out of the car and out of the garage in the blink of an eye. DNF for the Renault team.

  • 20:11 Lap 5

    TweetTweet from @ForceIndiaF1: Whoa! A duel worth of a Western epic for RIC and BOT. Great show!

  • 20:13 Lap 5

    Hamilton has set an early fastest lap of the race, and he's just half a second behind Vettel now. Vettel will be eyeing his mirrors warily.

  • 20:13 Lap 6

    Down the inside dives Hamilton, the crowd roars and it's P1 again for the Mercedes.

  • 20:14 Lap 7

    Vettel stays racy for a couple of corners, looks for a way to fight back but Hamilton pulls ahead.

  • 20:14 Lap 7

    Pascal Wehrlein has come back into the pits again, and Sauber are retiring the car.

  • 20:15 Lap 7

    Race controlLap 1, turn 12 incident invoking K Magnussen and P Wehrlein noted - no investigation necessary.

  • 20:15 Lap 8

    Max Verstappen is still ploughing his way through the field, it's Fernando Alonso who sees the Red Bull fly by, and seventh for Max at this point.

  • 20:16 Lap 8

    Replays show it was contact between Wehrlein and Magnussen that have been looked at by the stewards, and presumably what has caused the retirement for Pascal.

  • 20:17 Lap 8

    TweetTweet from @SauberF1Team: Pascal has retired from the race after suffering damage to the car.

  • 20:17 Lap 9

    Hamilton's pulled out a two second gap already, meanwhile Bottas is a further five seconds down the road.

  • 20:17 Lap 9

    Race controlLap 2, turn 1 incident involving D Ricciardo and V Bottas under investigation.

  • 20:19 Lap 10

    Hartley has pitted for fresh red supersets, and he's now running last.

  • 20:19 Lap 10
    Gap Analysis
  • 20:21 Lap 10

    Verstappen's next victim is Esteban Ocon, who looked to defend the position but ultimately allowed the Red Bull throughout relatively easily. Max now has to close down eight seconds to find Räikkönen.

  • 20:21 Lap 11

    Team radioTeam radio to Max Verstappen: "Alright, so we're back in the game. P6."

  • 20:21 Lap 11

    An early pit stop for Lance Stroll, super quick turnaround by the Williams team, and the Canadian is off again with yellow tyres on.

  • 20:22 Lap 12

    It was oil pressure that halted Hülkenberg's race so early. That's two retirements in a row for the German driver.

  • 20:24 Lap 13

    With Bottas pulling ahead, Ricciardo has fallen into the clutches of Kimi Räikkönen. The Ferrari driver makes a move but Daniel stays ahead - until he dives into the pit lane.

  • 20:24 Lap 13

    Race controlLap 2, turn 1 incident involving D Ricciardo and V Bottas - no further action.

  • 20:25 Lap 13

    Ricciardo has rejoined in ninth place, behind Carlos Sainz.

  • 20:27 Lap 14

    Down the home straight, Ricciardo eases past Carlos Sainz on his fresher tyres, moving into eighth place.

  • 20:28 Lap 15

    Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso pit at the same time, Daniel Ricciardo moves up to sixth in the blink of an eye.

  • 20:29 Lap 16

    Daniel Ricciardo has pulled off track, it looks like a retirement for the Australian. Disappointing!

  • 20:29 Lap 16

    Yellow flagYellow flags as the Red Bull sits forlornly on the grass.

  • 20:29 Lap 16

    Team radioTeam radio from Daniel Ricciardo: "Engine's gone."

  • 20:30 Lap 16

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: More pit stops cycling through now; looks like most drivers are set for a two-stop strategy, as we forecast to be theoretically fastest

  • 20:31 Lap 17

    Sebastian Vettel dives into the pit lane and it's a nice, clean stop from Ferrari. Off he goes again and he rejoins in fifth place.

  • 20:32 Lap 18

    Vettel has taken on the hardest of the available compounds - the yellow softs. Those on the softs are considered to be one-stopping. Is Vettel?

  • 20:33 Lap 18

    Hamilton has told the pit wall that he's comfortable on his tyres at the moment and can keep going.

  • 20:34 Lap 19

    Ocon breezes past Vandoorne to move up to 8th

  • 20:34 Lap 19

    Valtteri Bottas has come into the pit lane, the first of the two Mercedes drivers to stop. He's also taken on the yellow tyres.

  • 20:35 Lap 19

    Team radioTeam radio from Fernando Alonso: "It would be nice to know what strategy we are doing... are we still on strategy B?"

  • 20:36 Lap 20

    Race leader Lewis Hamilton comes in to take his pit stop. Superb work by the crew to send him on his way quickly, on the soft tyres.

  • 20:37 Lap 20

    It was a slow exit from the pit lanes for Hamilton, though, and he's immediately under pressure from Sebastian Vettel, who has been putting in some fast laps. Hamilton remains ahead in a theoretical P1, but Vettel is super close behind him.

  • 20:38 Lap 21

    Kimi Räikkönen piles into the pit lane which puts Verstappen into a temporary lead of the race.

  • 20:38 Lap 21

    Felipe Massa, running in sixth place, also hasn't stopped yet, running a longer first stint.

  • 20:42 Lap 23

    Hamilton pulls alongside Verstappen to try and retake the lead, Max defends for a couple of corners but can't withstand the might of the Mercedes power and has to settle back into second.

  • 20:43 Lap 24

    StopwatchNow released out front, it's a fastest lap for Hamilton - 1:39.233.

  • 20:45 Lap 25

    Max Verstappen takes his pit stop, but he's overshadowed by a slowly circling Alonso. Another retirement for McLaren!

  • 20:45 Lap 25

    Team radioTeam radio from Fernando Alonso: "I have an engine issue."

    "Back off, please, back off."

  • 20:45 Lap 25

    TweetTweet from @lukehmuse: Alonso's Honda breaks down for the second time in a US race this year

  • 20:47 Lap 26

    Only Massa and Vandoorne yet to stop, everyone else (still running) has one stopped so far.

  • 20:47 Lap 26

    Brendon Hartley is doing a solid job, running in 15th place, second to last.

  • 20:47 Lap 26

    Vandoorne comes into the pit lane, the sole surviving McLaren in this race.

  • 20:48 Lap 27

    The two Force India drivers are in 7th and 8th, with Pérez less than two seconds behind his teammate. They have history when battling for the same piece of tarmac.

  • 20:50 Lap 28

    QuoteDaniel Ricciardo: "I was certainly racing with a full heart, as always. With Valtteri, I had to try. I felt like the longer I stayed behind him, the more damage it was doing to my tyres. We don't have the straight-line speed... I always had to come from far back... obviously a lot of the moves were quite late but I wasn't just going to sit around in fourth all afternoon. I think after so many attempts then my tyres were done, so we pitted. I actually nearly crashed in the pit entry... came in way too hot. We were losing oil pressure I believe. I could tell something was going wrong, the team were telling me to change a lot of things as well."

  • 20:50 Lap 28

    Team radioTeam radio from Lance Stroll, running 13th: "It's unbelievable how bad the traction is."

  • 20:52 Lap 29

    Ocon has been held up behind Massa (who still hasn't stopped) and so Pérez has indeed closed up behind his teammate. Nervous times on the Force India pit wall, no doubt.

  • 20:53 Lap 30

    Massa runs wide and Ocon pulls alongside, but the Williams stays ahead. Pérez pulls alongside his teammate as well, but things stay as they are.

  • 20:53 Lap 30

    Massa pits.

  • 20:57 Lap 32

    And there it is, it took only a couple of laps for Pérez to start negotiating with the team. "Sainz is coming. I have a lot more pace, can you tell Esteban to let me past."

  • 20:59 Lap 33

    In terms of tyres, the field is dominated by softs, with just Massa and Vandoorne opting for the ultrasofts, and Hartley running on an old set of supersofts.

  • 20:59 Lap 34
    Gap Analysis
  • 21:00 Lap 34

    Pérez didn't get the chance to move past Ocon, and is now under pressure from Sainz. The Renault pulls alongside and it's so close as they run side by side through several corners. Heartstopping moments but Sainz just won't give it up and he takes the position.

  • 21:01 Lap 34

    Into the first corner, Pérez looks like he wants to have another go but he has nothing to fight the Renault now, and has actually fallen into the clutches of Kvyat who was waiting calmly behind.

  • 21:01 Lap 35

    TweetTweet from @ChrisMedlandF1: Sweet Carlos Sainz. Beautiful move on Perez all the way from Turn 12 to the penultimate corner. Up to P7

  • 21:02 Lap 36

    Vettel asks whether they are going to start thinking about Plan B and is told "we are thinking."

  • 21:04 Lap 36

    Bottas is finding himself in an uncomfortable position, sandwiched between the two Ferrari drivers. Vettel is up ahead a little, but Kimi Räikkönen has closed up behind the second Mercedes.

  • 21:06 Lap 38

    QuoteFernando Alonso: "We were seventh because we were the seventh quickest. We fought for that seventh, it was not a gift. We did a great qualifying yesterday... unfortunately we miss another opportunity. We changed the engine in Japan, in the last race we start last. Everything runs okay there. We have to change the engine again for Mexico, another race we will start last... maybe an investment for Brazil."

  • 21:07 Lap 38

    Max Verstappen has come into the pit lane, an unexpected second stop from the Red Bull.

    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverM Verstappen
    TeamRed Bull
    Pit lane23.423s
  • 21:07 Lap 39
    One to Watch
    E Oconvs.C Sainz
  • 21:08 Lap 39

    The Ferrari crew have run out into the pit lane, and it's Sebastian Vettel who comes in for a second lap. Supersets going on the cars after these second stops.

  • 21:09 Lap 39

    Team radioTeam radio from Lewis Hamilton: "Keep me up to date, what you want me to do. The tyres still feel good."

  • 21:09 Lap 40

    Somehow, Vettel is now under serious pressure from Verstappen, in fourth place to Max's fifth.

  • 21:10 Lap 40

    StopwatchVerstappen is busy putting in fastest laps as well - 1:38.060.

  • 21:10 Lap 40

    Grosjean was defending from Massa, but hit a bump and lost momentum to allow the Williams driver through for the final points position.

  • 21:11 Lap 41

    Räikkönen is pressuring Bottas once again, the Ferrari looking for second place.

  • 21:14 Lap 43

    Räikkönen takes to the inside of Bottas, and makes the move - he overshoots the following corner which allows Valtteri back in, but Kimi sticks it out and stays ahead. P2 for Kimi now.

  • 21:21 Lap 46

    Before this race, Lewis Hamilton said he wanted a nice and close battle here in Austin, but with the win just a few laps away for him, he's getting on the radio antsy about the "small" eleven second gap to the rest of the field.

  • 21:21 Lap 47

    Fewer than ten laps to go now.

  • 21:22 Lap 47

    Räikkönen has been on the receiving end of a string of instructions to change setup so as to save fuel, but the Finn has complained that the car is undriveable now and they'll have to change some back.

  • 21:22 Lap 48

    Yellow flagYellow flags as Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen crash together.

  • 21:23 Lap 48

    Both cars are still running. Slight front wing damage to the Sauber, and the Haas looks okay - but has dropped back to last place.

  • 21:25 Lap 49

    Replays of the incident show that Magnussen had pulled out wide to let the front runner Ferrari through, and then was retaking his position on the racing line. Ericsson was trying to take the opportunity for a position but Magnussen didn't see him coming at all. Contact was inevitable.

  • 21:25 Lap 49

    Meanwhile, Sainz has closed the gap to Ocon even further and is hunting that Force India for sixth place.

  • 21:25 Lap 50

    Race control5 second time penalty for Marcus Ericsson - causing a collision.

  • 21:27 Lap 50

    Vettel has moved firmly into the wing mirrors of Bottas in third place, looking to move past and salvage his championship chances.

  • 21:27 Lap 51

    We can only assume that if Vettel does get through (any second now), Kimi will be asked to step aside.

  • 21:28 Lap 51

    Vettel is on fresher and softer tyres than the Mercedes ahead, and he snatches the place from Valtteri at turn one.

  • 21:29 Lap 51

    Vandoorne was loitering on the outside of that corner, and Vettel must have had a heart-stopping moment seeing a McLaren in his path as he surged into third place.

  • 21:29 Lap 52

    Bottas has now dropped into the clutches of Max Verstappen.

  • 21:29 Lap 52

    "Seb is now the car behind," Kimi is told and yep, there they go. He's now the car ahead.

  • 21:31 Lap 53

    Verstappen brakes late into the corner and pushes Bottas wide, he lets him take the place back there, but quickly sweeps past round the next corner. Verstappen disappears into the distance, and Bottas comes into the pit lane.

  • 21:31 Lap 53

    There's plenty of gap to Ocon behind, so he takes on fresh rubber and rejoins in that fifth place.

  • 21:35 Lap 55

    Verstappen has now closed the gap to Räikkönen in super quick time, the Finn is fuel saving so will be hard pushed to hold him off if he has a go.

  • 21:36 Lap 56

    Final lap.

  • 21:37

    Chequered flagLewis Hamilton wins the US Grand Prix!

  • 21:38

    In an incredible last lap move, Verstappen just sweeps past Räikkönen and snatches that final podium position!

  • 21:39

    Vettel's second place means the championship fight moves on to Mexico, but it just gets harder from here.

  • 21:39

    Mercedes have won the constructors championship here, another superbly successful season for the team.

  • 21:40

    Team radioTeam radio to Max Verstappen (from Christian Horner): "Max, you are brilliant. What an overtake."

    "Oh that was a good one. I really enjoyed that one."

  • 21:42

    Race controlTurn 17 incident involving Max Verstappen under investigation - leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

  • 21:42

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Congratulations to @MercedesAMGF1 for a fourth consecutive constructors’ title, after a hard-fought race that again came down to strategy!

  • 21:42

    Race control5 second time penalty for Max Verstappen - leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

  • 21:44

    Disappointing after such a great overtaking move, but credit to the stewards for making the decision so quickly so there's no stripping podium finishers of their trophies after the ceremony is over.

  • 21:46
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton1
    20S Vettel2
    32K Räikkönen1
    412M Verstappen2
    5-2V Bottas2
    60E Ocon1
    70C Sainz1
    81S Pérez1
    91F Massa1
    101D Kvyat1
  • 21:46

    TweetTweet from @natesaundESPNF1: Verstappen told about penalty and leaves cool-down room like a naughty kid getting a detention.

  • 21:47

    Turns out to be a double podium finish for Ferrari then. Vettel takes to the podium, waving but he doesn't really look that happy. Hamilton, though, leaps to the top step for the national anthem.

  • 21:48
    Gap Analysis
  • 21:49

    Another double points finish for Force India, a good result for them, and of course, a cracking race for Carlos Sainz in his Renault debut.

  • 21:49

    Hartley finished 13th, nothing particularly spectacular there, and Kvyat picked up the final points place on his F1 return.

  • 21:53

    Disjointed race that one, with an epic start, a really dull middle, and then some fab final laps of overtaking. Title battle lives on, and we only have one week until the next installment in Mexico. Join me then!

All content in the series United States 2017