Hamilton’s Austin power play
In which Lewis asserted the supremacy of man and machine to take the win and his third world title
Unforgettable: how else to describe the 2015 US GP? Historic Hamilton, now Britain’s most successful driver, with 43 wins and a third world title; a breathtaking race with three leaders; blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action from lights to ag; a weekend of meteorological extremes; and a vivid exposition of the ne line between success and failure in elite sport.
In the middle stage of the race, the day seemed to be Nico Rosberg’s. He had started from pole and looked set to win and extend the title ght to Mexico. But multiple Safety Car periods foiled his escape and allowed Hamilton back onto his tail and into the endgame. A lick of wheelspin exiting T15 on lap 48 was all it took. Hamilton needed no second invitation and he was through and gone, the crown within his grasp.
Rosberg could match Hamilton’s late lead pace but he couldn’t catch him, and with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel chasing in third the world title was decided, barring further incident.
They crossed the line in that order, only 3.4 seconds covering the lead trio: to Hamilton the spoils; to Rosberg the most crushing defeat. And to Vettel a podium after a ghting drive and the prospect of a starring role in a tantalising 2016 battle between him and Hamilton – between silver and scarlet.
Yet more remarkable than any of this: the 2015 US GP very nearly didn’t happen. Qualifying was abandoned on Saturday, owing to the truly biblical storms that had drenched Austin for much of the previous 48 hours. Given early Sunday’s continued Stygian murk, the question was: would any track activity take place?
In the event, qualifying did start, at 9am, but