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United States Grand Prix

29 years old Lewis Hamilton delivered a heroic performance on 20-turn, 3.427-mile Circuit in Texas and extended his World championship lead to 24 points after finishing 4.3 seconds ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, to take his third win in a thrilling race in the United States. It was an enormous leap towards a second drivers’ championship and almost like six years to the day since he secured his first drivers’ title in Brazil. No wonder he is thinking about making this place home. With a 24-point lead over Rosberg after five wins in a row, it seems that only double points in Abu Dhabi or a bout of unreliability can stop Hamilton now. This triumph, the 32nd of his career, took him beyond Nigel Mansell (31 Grand Prix wins) to give him the most Grand Prix victories of any British driver. Ten of those have come in this season alone.

Hamilton was within striking distance of Rosberg. With the rear-wing flap on his Mercedes wide open, Hamilton was gaining all the way down the long back straight. Seemingly from nowhere, the Briton made an enormous lunge heading into the hairpin. It caught Rosberg unaware, forcing the German wide and into second place. According to Rosberg, “It’s pretty simple. I didn’t find my rhythm early on – it took a long while. In the overtake I knew there was a chance he could try. I tried halfway defensive, Lewis did a good job, and that was it.”

Hamilton wore a cowboy hat at the end of the race when a crown would have been more appropriate, for whatever happens now he has been the outstanding driver of the 2014 Formula One season. He would now be on his way to Brazil to seal his second world championship next weekend but for the absurdity of the double-points rule in Abu Dhabi in the final race on 23 November.

Hard-charging Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium by recovering superbly from a slow start to take the place for Red Bull. Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams was a relatively quiet fifth, while Fernando Alonso fought his way through to sixth. He only just held off a charging Sebastian Vettel, who started from the pits and made four stops en route to seventh for Red Bull.

635505502124247019-AX147-539F-9Hamilton now has 316 points to Rosberg’s 292, which effectively means he can clinch the 2014 title by finishing second to Rosberg over the remaining two Grands Prix. Ricciardo strengthened his grip on third place, on 214. In the constructors’ stakes, Mercedes have 608 points to Red Bull’s 363, with Williams third on 238. Ferrari are fourth with 196, 49 points ahead of McLaren.

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