Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to win US Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton took a key step towards his second championship after winning the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

The Briton produced an excellent pass on team-mate Nico Rosberg around halfway through the race and stayed ahead of the German to claim his tenth win of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo produced some excellent overtakes and had good pit-stops to beat the two Williams and claim third for Red Bull.

Rosberg leads from the start

At the start it was Nico Rosberg who led away from pole into the first corner as Hamilton slid in behind.

The two Willliams followed in third and fourth as Fernando Alonso moved into fifth passing Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

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The whole field may it through the tricky first corner, however, two drivers would have an early bath as Sergio Perez made an ambitious move into turn 12, hitting the back of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari while taking out Adrian Sutil's Sauber.

The German's car was left stranded on the outside of the track and caused the second safety car on the opening lap in as many years at the Circuit of the Americas as the Mexican Force India driver recovered back to pits and eventually retired.

Ricciardo makes his move

At the restart it was Rosberg still leading from Hamilton as Daniel Ricciardo found his overtaking shoes once again pulling a tremendous move on Fernando Alonso down the inside at turn one.

That promoted the Australian to fifth behind the two Williams as team-mate Sebastian Vette, who made two stops during the safety car period, looked to make an impression in the midfield pack after starting the race from the pit-lane.

It was a struggle for the German, however, who made a move on Esteban Gutierrez but spent much of the first three-quarters of the race battling with the Lotuses and Toro Rosso's with very poor pace as Ricciardo maintained his position near the front.

Changes at the first pit-stops

The early slow laps behind the safety car also took the pressure off the first stint in terms of making the tyres last.

Most managed to reach the mid-teens before needing fresh rubber and changes in position as well as strategy would occur.

As Felipe Massa moved ahead of Valtteri Bottas before the stops, the Finn would fall foul of the undercut as Daniel Ricciardo pitted a lap earlier and was able to jump ahead of the Williams, holding him off impressively as well as the more powerful FW36 couldn't use its speed advantage on the run to turn 12.

While the Williams remained on the soft Pirelli's, Ricciardo opted for the medium compound and but the two different strategies had very little impact as the three cars ran in close formation and also kept the leading Mercedes within sight.

Hamilton takes the lead

Following the first stop, a small adjustment to Lewis Hamilton's front wing for the new tyres gave him an advantage over Rosberg and the championship leader quickly closed down a near two-and-a-half second gap to make his move on lap 24.

Staying close in the first sector, Hamilton used DRS to get a good slipstream down the back straight and Rosberg was too late in spotting the attack from his team-mate as the no. 44 Silver Arrow squeezed down the inside to take the lead.

From there the Briton pulled out a small but comfortable margin to Rosberg as the second stops approached.

Ricciardo's trick ends with a treat

At the second scheduled pit-stops it was a replay of what had occurred earlier in the race as Daniel Ricciardo pitted a lap later to cover Bottas behind but a lap earlier than Massa in front and his extra pace - allied to a slower stop for the Brazilian - gave the Australian the final podium place which he would hold onto for the rest of the race.

The two Williams had to settle for fourth and fifth but behind a colossal battle for the final points positions was taking place.

Differing strategies across the midfield allied to plenty of overtaking saw many cars in position to score points, however , late pit-stops for fresh soft tyres worked for Fernando Alonso to claim sixth just half a second clear of Sebastian Vettel who produced some excellent overtaking to climb seven places in eight laps.

Kevin Magnussen produced a strong move on team-mate Jenson Button early on and was near the bottom of the top ten for much of the race before eventually finishing eighth, while Jean-Eric Vergne also showed plenty of fight in his quest to stay in F1 next year to claim ninth ahead of Pastor Maldonado who recovered from two five-second penalties in the race to claim his first points of the year in tenth.

Hamilton extends championship lead

But despite what appeared a possible late charge from Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton was in control at the front and eased to his fifth consecutive win and tenth of the 2014 season surpassing Nigel Mansell and join Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher as only the third driver to win double digit races in a year.

It also extended his championship lead over his team-mate to 24 points but at the same time Rosberg's second guaranteed the battle will go to Abu Dhabi in three weeks time with 50 points available and only a maximum of 49 points between the two Mercedes' after the next race in Brazil in a week's time.

In my view, however, it would have to take a mechanical retirement to stop Hamilton now, who not only has the measure of his team-mate in wheel-to-wheel action but also all the momentum heading into the final two races of a pulsating 2014 F1 season.

Formula 1

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