Motor Sport

Historic victory

November 6 - 12, 2019

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Historic victory

Despite a second place finish at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix behind team mate Valtteri Bottas, British racer Lewis Hamilton secured a historic sixth world Formula 1 title, after fending off a late attack from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Bottas raced to his seventh victory in Formula One, his fourth of the 2019 season and first at the Circuit of the Americas, finishing 4.148 seconds ahead of his Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team mate.

Bottas added: “It’s been a really good weekend for me and the team. I struggled at this track in previous years, so it was great to cross the line in first place. It was not an easy race; I had a strong start and a good first stint, but we had to switch to a two-stop to cover Max and I was a bit worried that Lewis on the one-stop might be on the better strategy. It was a proper fight and quite a bit of fun; I had to really push, but my pace was strong and I managed to catch Lewis towards the end. We had a good battle on track and I passed him to secure the win. It feels really good to win the race like that when you have to really fight for it.”

Mercedes-AMG’s ninth one-two finish of the 2019 season means they head Ferrari in the constructors’ standings by 216 points with two Grands Prix to go, with 695 points to Ferrari’s 479.

The race proved to be a challenging and rough ride for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel retiring with suspension failure on Lap 8 and Charles Leclerc finishing the race in an extremely distant fourth, leaving the Monegasque puzzled about his poor performance.

Bottas was able to pit from the lead on Lap 14 and pass the non-stopping Leclerc for P2 just two laps later, with Leclerc eventually finishing the race 52 seconds down the road from the Finn – not helped by a 7.7-second stop when he did eventually pit for the first time of two on Lap 20.

Verstappen was on a charge in the final laps, but the Dutchman ultimately ran out of time to make a dart from Hamilton’s second place, ending up less than a second behind the Mercedes at the chequered flag, as Leclerc and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon rounded out the top five.

Hamilton made his one-stop strategy work to clinch a third consecutive drivers’ crown, and join Michael Schumacher as one of only two drivers to hold as many as six F1 championship titles.

After the race, the Brit who considers racing icon Niki Lauda his mentor, commented: “It’s hard to explain what I’m feeling right now, to be honest. Cloud nine doesn’t even get close, it’s somewhere far above that. It’s been the hardest year I can remember; it’s been so challenging, going through the ups and downs, so right now I’m just so full of emotion, it’s overwhelming. I feel truly humbled, and really, really grateful to everyone back at the factories, the entire Daimler family and everyone at PETRONAS – everyone who has worked so hard to enable us to do what we do and achieve this. It’s such a privilege and honour to work for this team, to be able to go out there and have the platform to put in performances like today. And Niki, I miss him so much. Today, he’d have taken his cap off. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Niki, he’s here with us in spirit. I saw my parents right after the race and seeing my dad’s smile, it says it all. My family have supported me since day one, they worked so hard for me to be here today. I’m so glad they could all come out here, together. Yesterday was a difficult day and today I just wanted to recover and deliver a one-two for the team. Valtteri did a fantastic job, so huge congratulations to him.”

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