Lewis Hamilton will have to wait another week to claim his fifth Formula 1 world title after finishing third at the US Grand Prix on Sunday evening, with Kimi Raikonnen claiming his first win in five years.
The Mercedes driver started from pole position in Austin, Texas and only needed to score eight more points than championship rival Sebastian Vettel to defend his title.
But Hamilton could only finish a single place – and three points – ahead of Vettel, meaning the battle for this years championship will continue in Mexico City next week.
Hamilton got off to a poor start, with Vettels Ferrari teammate Raikonnen – starting in second spot on ultrasoft tires – providing the early fireworks when he overtook the Brit into the first corner.
Seconds later, Vettel – who had been demoted to fifth position on the grid – went past Daniel Ricciardo, which would have put just one car between himself and Hamilton, but touched wheels with the Red Bull and spun out, dropping down to 15th place.
With Hamilton running in second place, Vettel knew he only needed a top-four finish to deny the Brit and quickly started to make his way through the field.
But Ricciardo caused more drama when he lost power and was forced to retire, bringing out a virtual safety car, and Hamilton opted to pit while Raikkonen stayed out – a decision that had a huge effect on the race.
He quickly caught the Finn again but struggled to overtake the Ferrari, only taking the lead when Raikkonen eventually pitted – all the while, Max Verstappen moved up from 18th on the grid to third.
Hamilton's verdict on finishing third
Firstly a big congratulations to Kimi, he did a great job today. No mistakes. He had a great start and managed it all the way. Also Verstappen did a great job as well. He was on a slightly better tire than us at the end, so naturally a bit of a struggle.
I thought we would have been able to do better, but this was the best we were able to do in the end. But it was great that we got to do some racing at least and we just have to keep working, keep pushing to the next race. (Sky Sports)
But Hamilton was losing time and pitted in the 38th lap with his tires blistering, coming out in fourth place, though quickly set the fastest lap as he looked to chase Raikkonen down again.
Teammate Valteri Bottas moved aside, but Raikonnen and Verstappen were too quick; the young Dutchman almost gave Hamilton a sniff, but managed to hold him off in the closing laps and claim a dramatic second-place finish.
Raikonnen, meanwhile, wins his first Grand Prix since 2013 in Australia – ended a run of 113 races without a win – while Hamilton and Vettels battle will continue in Mexico where he needs to outscore the German by just five points.
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