Skip to main content

Alonso keeps title race alive as Hamilton pips Vettel in Austin

updated 5:56 PM EST, Sun November 18, 2012
(L-R) Sebastian Vettel, former F1 champ Mario Andretti, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on the podium in Texas
(L-R) Sebastian Vettel, former F1 champ Mario Andretti, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on the podium in Texas
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • F1 title will go to the final race of the season after Lewis Hamilton wins US GP
  • Sebastian Vettel is second and extends lead over Fernando Alonso to 13 points
  • Red Bull's Vettel and Ferrari's Alonso will go head-to-head for the title in Brazil
  • Vettel's display secures Red Bull their third successive constructors' championship

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will battle it out for the Formula One title at the final race in Brazil after Lewis Hamilton's victory in Texas ensured the German must wait for his third successive championship crown.

Hamilton secured back-to-back victories at the United States Grand Prix in front of a capacity crowd of 135,000, overtaking Red Bull's Vettel on lap 42 of 56 in Austin and relegating the 25-year-old to second in his 100th F1 race.

Alonso kept his title dream alive by finishing third, and gained a controversial place on the grid before the race after teammate Felipe Massa broke the seal on his Ferrari's gearbox and took a five place penalty.

It all points towards a dramatic climax in Sao Paulo, where Vettel will defend a 13-point lead over his Spanish rival, needing to finish fourth or higher to retain the world championship.

Latest F1 standings

The race marked a triumphant return to the United States for Formula One after an absence of five years, with drivers and pundits impressed with the show put on at the newly built Circuit of the Americas.

Though he didn't clinch the drivers' championship crown, Vettel's performance did ensure Red Bull won the constructors' championship for the third time in a row.

F1's spiritual home in the U.S.
Mario Andretti's biggest fear: poverty
Ride on the new Formula One track
CNN Greatest F1 Driver: Day One

But the German, who was heard to be angry on the team radio after Hamilton passed him, blamed Force India backmarker Narain Karthikeyan for slowing him down at a critical moment of the race.

"I wasn't too happy to send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I had to go through Karthikeyan," he said.

"He was right behind in the DRS zone. He took that opportunity, fair enough, down the straight and he passed me. I tried to defend, but I knew he would have so much more speed.

"I was obviously not too happy. Lewis had one chance and he took it. After that I tried to stay with him, but there wasn't much between us."

Vettel got to the first corner in front of the chasing pack off the grid and his teammate Mark Webber was able to steal a place on Hamilton and move into second.

But after Webber retired with mechanical failure on lap 17 Hamilton began stalking Vettel until he engaged his DRS boost to flick past the German 14 laps from home, the pair's cars only a matter of inches apart.

Can F1 rekindle its American dream?

Alonso jumped a place after Ferrari's decision to invoke a five-place grid penalty for Felipe Massa, which meant he switched from the dusty, slower portion of the track to the clean side.

The difference was clear as Alonso charged round the outside and gained three places going into the first corner. The Spaniard also benefited from Webber's retirement as he held on to third place.

Massa battled his way up to fourth place while Hamilton's McLaren teammate Jenson Button claimed fifth.

Hamilton, who will end his long association with McLaren after the final race of the campaign in Brazil, was elated with his victory, his second successive triumph in the States after winning the last US GP at Indianapolis in 2007.

"First-time winner! I'm so happy," he said. "The fans were amazing, thank you. It was such a warm welcome and one of the best, if not the best, race of the year -- especially for me and the team.

"It's been a long time since we had a win. I'm so proud of the team and grateful for the support we've had."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
updated 12:14 PM EST, Fri November 7, 2014
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
updated 1:14 PM EST, Fri November 7, 2014
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
updated 5:58 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Sun October 12, 2014
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
updated 6:39 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
updated 12:04 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
updated 7:10 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
ADVERTISEMENT