Vettel acknowledges ‘mutual respect’ in Hamilton rivalry

Vettel acknowledges ‘mutual respect’ in Hamilton rivalry

Vettel acknowledges ‘mutual respect’ in Hamilton rivalry

Meanwhile Britain's Lewis Hamilton has been kept waiting for his fifth Formula One world championship after the Mercedes driver finished third in a US Grand Prix won by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

The British racer proved to be the fastest on the Circuit of the Americas as he completed the lap in 1:32.237 minutes.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen will start second and Mercedes' Vallteri Bottas will start third.

Bottas, who was second fastest in the morning but did not set a time in the afternoon session, said: "It was a pretty boring day".

The news was music to Vettel's ears as the German challenged Daniel Ricciardo for fourth place, but things turned sour for the title contender when he attempted to pass the Red Bull Racing auto.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said this week he could use team orders to help protect Hamilton to win the title. "In FP1 I only did a few laps because we need the tires to last until FP3 and there's very little to learn in the rain".

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne qualified last but will move up the grid thanks to engine penalties applied to the Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, who will go to the back of the field. "We've got to push hard for the next race".

"It's been a great weekend", he said.

"I would say that you can't write Ferrari off and it has been close through the whole season so it will be close all the way to the end of the season". The first one was decent but not good enough.

"It is the first time we have had this ruling in the wet and you literally have to stop 30 or 40 kilometres per hour which I should do next time".

After Vettel made his own stop on Lap 26, the race entered a stage of strategic tension, with Ferrari adamant that Hamilton would have to make a second stop, which would hand Raikkonen back the race lead. Getting around that group and still keeping Hamilton close will be hard.

Hamilton could smell championship glory, and went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen in a dramatic finale, but the Dutchman held firm to retain the position.

Hamilton needs to beat fellow-four-time champion Vettel by eight points to clinch his fifth drivers championship.

Sebastian Vettel's slim title hopes may have taken another hit after he was summoned to the stewards following first practice at the U.S. Grand Prix.

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