AUSTIN, Texas, CMC – Legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was among a list of high profile celebrity guests who witnessed Lewis Hamilton inch even closer to a fourth Formula One drivers title with a dominant win in the United States Grand Prix here yesterday.
The 32-year-old Hamilton started on pole, lost the lead to championship rival Sebastian Vettel on the first lap before rebounding to overtake the German and dominate the latter stages of the race, taking the chequered flag 10 seconds clear of the German.
With the victory – his fourth straight at Circuit of the Americas and fifth in six years, Hamilton moved 66 points clear of Vettel on 331 points and is now all but virtually assured of adding to the titles he won in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
“I love this track. I think this track is now my favourite track to be honest. I just… honestly. I loved the swing of the corners today. Honestly, bro, I’m honoured that you’re here,” Hamilton told Bolt who conducted the podium interviews.
Usain Bolt celebrates on the podium with Lewis Hamilton after the Brit won the US Grand Prix on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Formula1.com website)
He added: “The race was great. I have to say probably one of the most fun races that I’ve had for a while. I mean there’s been quite a few fun ones this year.
“Didn’t get away to a great start, not really sure why, but Sebastian got a great start but I was kind of chilled about it, just knowing in the past that you can overtake here.”
Sent on his way by Bolt, the multiple-time World and Olympic sprint champion, who was the official starter for the race watched by former US President Bill Clinton, Hamilton found himself in trouble early when he was overtaken on Turn One by Vettel.
Hamilton was then forced to trail Vettel for the next five laps before expertly producing an overtake at Turn 12 on the sixth lap, to re-assert control in the contest.
The Mercedes driver then overcame a small scare on lap 20 when he was almost caught by Vettel following a pit stop, to pull away and complete his fifth win in the last six outings since the August summer break, and deliver another constructors title for Mercedes.
Two hours before the start of the race, Hamilton took the recently-retired Bolt for a hair-raising spin around the Austin circuit – an outing the world’s fastest man joked was like a near-death experience.
“I genuinely was not ready for that,” he said. “That was really stressful. He took the traction control off. I thought I was going to die.”
Following Hamilton’s victory, Bolt presented the Brit with a pair of track shoes on the podium.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished third while Red Bull’s exciting Max Verstappen – whose last-lap passing move on the Finn was deemed illegal and attracted a five-second penalty – finished fourth after starting 16th on the grid.