F1 title goes down to the wire after Hamilton wins in Texas
Will it be Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso? All will be decided at season's final race in Sao Paulo
LEWIS HAMILTON won the US Grand Prix in Texas on Sunday in a dramatic victory that denied Sebastian Vettel the chance to clinch the Formula One title.
The German Red Bull driver started the race on pole position, needing to cross the line first to secure the points necessary to end the challenge of Fernando Alonso.
For much of the race it looked like Vettel was on course for victory but Hamilton then made his move at Turn 12 on lap 42. "I wanted it more," said Hamilton afterwards. "I was hungrier than him. It's not even possible he wanted it as much as me."
Vettel hung on for second place, with Alonso coming third, a result which means the championship will go down to the last race of the year next week in Brazil with 13 points dividing the the two men and 25 up for grabs.
It was a suitably exciting race at the new £250 million circuit in Austin, Texas, and for Hamilton it was another victory to go with the one in 2007 in Indianapolis, the last time the States staged a Grand Prix. "I'm so happy," the McLaren driver said later. "This is the best Grand Prix we have had this year and I am so pleased for the team."
Though Vettel missed out on personal glory, he scored the required points to ensure Red Bull won the Constructors' Championship despite the retirement on lap 18 of Mark Webber with an alternator problem.
Nonetheless there was no masking the disappointment he felt at being edged out by Hamilton, particularly in what was his 100th Formula One race. "It was a shame to lose first place," he admitted. "We knew Lewis was the one we were racing against. Everything seemed to be in control but the traffic was difficult and did not work in my favour. Lewis was able to get close enough and, once he opened his rear wing on the back straight, he took the lead."
Alonso now trails Vettel by 13 points ahead of next week's race in Sao Paulo. The Ferrari driver had an excellent yesterday, roaring up from seventh to fourth.
Felipe Massa finished fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen, but all eyes now turn to Brazil. The 25-year-old Vettel, who hopes to join Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as the only drivers to win three championship titles in a row, remains upbeat despite the setback in Austin. "We've been very quick in Brazil the last few years," he said, "so plenty to look forward to."