Hamilton triumphs, Vettel profits in thrilling US GP
Lewis Hamilton may have defeated Sebastian Vettel in a dramatic and absorbing United States Grand Prix, but the German still profited heavily in both the championship and the Castrol EDGE Rankings.
It was the Briton who gained a place, moving ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber and into fourth overall.
That rise was deceptive however, owing almost wholly to the points Webber haemorrhaged when he retired with an alternator failure while running third.
Hamilton himself actually lost points – the legacy of his more dominant triumph in the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – but gained position as a result of Webber’s woe.
The opposite was true of Vettel: an early retiree last year in Abu Dhabi, second was therefore enough to send him soaring in the Rankings.
While he cannot rise higher than the No.1 spot he has now held for 139 straight weeks, his victory moved him clear of his nearest challengers – led by nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb – and ensures he will end the year in top spot.
His joy in the Rankings mirrored his position in the overall championship, as he was able to once extend his advantage over title rival Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard was at least able to come home third, and with Hamilton winning managed to limit the damage to just three points.
The final step of the podium was also enough to keep Alonso third in the Rankings, still some way behind Loeb but with a reasonable gap to Hamilton.
While Alonso held position, there were significant changes below him as Jenson Button slipped out of the top six for the first time in 14 months.
As he did so, he also fell into the clutches of Abu Dhabi racewinner Kimi Raikkonen, who has been an unstoppable force in the Rankings since making his F1 comeback at the start of the year.
Button’s woes centred around a throttle problem in qualifying which left him 12th on the grid, and effectively limited his race hopes. In the end he performed superbly to capture fifth.
That was not enough to prevent him falling one place down the order, with IndyCar’s 2012 runner-up Will Power filling the vacated sixth spot.
As Button fell Raikkonen rose, the Finn reaching a new season-high of eighth following his drive to sixth.
He began the year in 205th.
His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean also profited heavily, gaining six places to move into 43rd overall.
That was outdone only by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, the German gaining seven spots on the back of another faultless weekend.
He now sits 45th, just behind Pastor Maldonado (44), Grosjean, Kamui Kobayashi (40) and team-mate Paul di Resta (39).