Photo: Circuit of the Americas
An all-Red Bull front row topped the grid in Austin, Tex., with Sebastian Vettel taking his eighth pole and Mark Webber starting next to him. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) qualified third and Nico Hulkenburg (Sauber) fourth. Grosjean took P2 from Webber at the start, with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) moving from fifth to third.
Adrian Sutil (Force India) left the course and hit a guard rail later in Lap 1 following contact with Pastor Maldanado (Williams). Hamilton, last year’s winner, was challenging Grosjean for second before deployment of the safety car. The Vettel, Grosjean, Hamilton running order remained in place following the Lap 4 restart.
Vettel’s lead stood at 3.619 sec at the start of Lap 10 (of 56). Webber passed Hamilton for third during Lap 13 and was pulling away two laps later. Hamilton was instructed to pace himself for tire wear, with Sauber and Hulkenburg hoping to overtake him for fourth. Hamilton took his first pit stop on Lap 26.
Vettel pitted from the lead two laps later, with Hulkenberg also stopping at the halfway point. Grosjean inherited the lead and pitted from it during Lap 30. Meanwhile, however, Vettel was setting the fastest lap of the race. Webber set consecutive fastest laps on 31 and 32, closing on Grosjean in second.
An unforced error by Webber in the next few laps allowed Grosjean to regain a small cushion, with the final podium steady as Vettel (P1), Grosjean (P2), and Webber (P3). Hamilton finished fourth, with Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) taking P5 from Hulkenberg in the late going. Hamilton’s finish moved him into third in the drivers’ standing, passing Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) who sat the race out following back surgery. Valtteri Bottas, fast all weekend, moved from 17th on the grid to finish eighth, marking Williams’ second point-scoring event of the year.
Driver standings - Top 10
372 - Sebastian Vettel (Germany) - RBR-Renault
227 - Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Ferrari
187 - Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes
183 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Lotus-Renault
181 - Mark Webber (Australia) - RBR-Renault
161 - Nico Rosberg (Germany) – Mercedes
132 – Romain Grosjean (France) – Lotus-Renault
106 – Felipe Massa (Brazil) - Ferrari
61 - Jenson Button (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
48 – Paul di Resta (Scotland) – Force India-Mercedes
Constructor standings - Teams scoring points
553 - RBR-Renault - Vettel, Webber
348 – Mercedes – Hamilton, Rosberg
333 – Ferrari – Massa, Alonso
315 - Lotus-Renault – Raikkonen, Grosjean
102 – McLaren-Mercedes – Button, Sergio Perez
77 – Force India-Mercedes – Adrian Sutil, di Resta
53 - Sauber-Ferrari – Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez
32 – STR-Ferrari – Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne
5 – Williams-Renault – Pastor Maldonado, Vallteri Bottas
Next event: Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil, Interlagos – Nov. 22-24, 2013