Valtteri Bottas did exactly what he had to do this weekend to keep his 2019 Formula One championship hopes alive. Bottas, won the pole on Saturday and dominated Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. It was his first podium in seven career starts at the Circuit of the America’s but sixth in his last seven races in his No. 77 Mercedes on the season. Among those are two wins in the last three races though as Bottas triumphed for the fourth time of the season.
He handled his business.
But, unfortunately for him, so did Lewis Hamilton. Bottas’ Mercedes teammate earned his sixth career F1 title, trailing only Michael Schumacher now, by virtue of his runner-up finish on Sunday.
Hamilton, started fifth but quickly moved up and stalked Bottas in the end. With Hamilton just needed to finish ninth or better, why push it? He settled in and would come away with his 14th top two finish of the year which netted him his fifth title in the last six years.
The England native now has a podium in every year with the exception of one in COTA as his season as of now is 10 wins and four runner-ups. It was Mercedes’ ninth 1-2 finish of the year, five of which coming in the first five races to the season. It was also their sixth COTA victory in eight tries but the first not coming from Hamilton.
Hamilton, has the championship locked up with only two races remaining in 2019 (Brazil, Abu Dhabi).
Max Verstappen finished third in his No. 33 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda for his third podium in five COTA starts. It was also his first podium in the last four races on the season and second in the last seven.
Charles Leclerc was fourth in his No. 16 Ferrari for his second straight fourth place run. He’s now scored zero podiums in the last three races though after going four straight prior.
Alex Albon rounded out the top five in his No. 23 Honda for his seventh straight top six and ninth straight top 10.
Sebastian Vettel had early troubles and was forced to retire.