Lewis Hamilton took pole over Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Racing made up Row 2, with Daniel Ricciardo starting P3 on supersoft tires (vs. the softs both in front of him and on teammate Max Verstappen’s car). The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen lined up in Row 3.
Ricciardo pushed for second in Turn 1 and took it through the next turn at Circuit of the Americas. Ricciardo pitted during Lap 9 to take off the supersofts and change to softs. Hamilton, meanwhile, set fastest lap. Rosberg came in two laps later, switching from softs to mediums, with Hamilton stopping from the lead during Lap 12. The Brit took as second set of softs. All teams were required to run the mediums and softs at least once during the race.
Vettel circulated in first in advance of his own first stop, Hamilton, Ricciardo, and Rosberg occupying P2-4. Vettel stopped during Lap 15 (of 56), rejoining in sixth. Verstappen began closing on Rosberg in Laps 17-18. Ricciardo made his second stop during Lap 26, taking the mediums intended to see him to the finish.
Verstappen’s engine failed, bringing out a virtual safety car in Lap 31. Hamilton pitted with 10 sec on Rosberg one lap later. Rosberg came in the following lap, rejoining in P2 as the virtual safety car slowed Ricciardo’s on-track pace. Hamilton led Rosberg by 9.2 sec with 20 laps to go, and 9.6 sec during Lap 45. Ricciardo, however, was closing on Rosberg.
Rosberg responded by setting out after Hamilton, closing to within 6.6 sec with 5 laps remaining. Hamilton held on the for the win, 4.5 sec ahead of Rosberg, with Ricciardo third, Vettel fourth, and Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) fifth. Vettel’s finish combined with Raikkonen’s late-race retirement to move the German into fourth in the driver standings.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 331
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 305
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 227
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 177
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari –170
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull – 165
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 84
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 81
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany), Force India-Mercedes – 54
Fernando Alonso (Spain), McLaren-Honda – 52
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 636
Red Bull Racing (Ricciardo, Verstappen) – 400
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 347
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Perez) – 138
Williams-Mercedes (Felipe Massa, Bottas) – 130
McLaren-Honda (Alonso, Jenson Button) – 74
Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Carlos Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat) – 55
Haas-Ferrari (Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 29
Renault (Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer) – 8
MRT-Mercedes (Pascal Wehrlein, Esteban Ocon) – 1
Next event: Grand Prix of Mexico – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Oct. 28-30, 2016