Lewis Hamilton became just the second British driver to win the Formula One world championship three times, after Sir Jackie Stewart, when he won a rain-slicked U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
The two met for a quick congratulatory handshake after the race, in a face-off that was much warmer than the interaction between Hamilton and his teammate Nico Rosberg, who started the race from pole position.
American driver Alexander Rossi nearly scored a top-ten finish before events late in the race saw him slip back to 12th spot in just his third Grand Prix for the uncompetitive Manor Marussia team. "In the end, it wasn’t to be, but that doesn’t detract from what has been a fantastic day for me and I’m now looking to carry that momentum forward to Mexico, where we race in just a week’s time," Rossi said.
On the start, Hamilton visibly steered his car toward Rosberg's, and when the pair reached the first turn Hamilton used his position on the inside to force Rosberg off the track and take the lead. Rosberg was understandably upset by this tactic, and his obvious dissatisfaction after the race lit up the Twittersphere, with comments such as this observation from NBC Sports reporter Blair Soden at the post-race press conference.
"He didn't leave enough space and drove into me, which was one step too far because I was leading in the middle of the corner," Rosberg said. "But this is something we can discuss together as a team at another time."
For his part, Hamilton seemed unconcerned, focusing on equaling the number of championships won by his idol, Aryton Senna. "It's just incredible to equal Ayrton," he said. "My target was always three titles as he was the one who inspired me."
The win was Hamilton's 43rd career Formula One victory, moving him into third place on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Prost had a famously fraught relationship with Senna that many see as the prototype for today's Hamilton/Rosberg tension, so you can be sure Hamilton is keen to displace Prost from second place.
Photos by Mercedes AMG