Lewis Hamilton was able to move from second on the grid to secure a much-deserved win in a thrilling return for Formula One (F1) to the US.
Ahead of the race, the biggest talking point was whether Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel could clinch this year's F1 Driver's Championship – a feat he could achieve by outscoring his remaining rival for the 2012 crown Fernando Alonso by 15 points or more.
Heading into the race Vettel had momentum on his side after a fine drive had seen him carve his way through the pack to third in the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after starting from the pit lane.
This time, Vettel secured pole position in qualifying to give his title dreams a major boost, but with Hamilton a close second on the grid it was set to be a real battle for the German to win the race with so much to lose.
Conversely, McLaren's Hamilton had a point to prove after recent mechanical faults had seen him retire from the lead of a Grand Prix twice in the last five races.
A thrilling scrap therefore ensued, as the two drivers battled for the lead, but on lap 42 Hamilton was able to pass the German after he had been held up by back markers.
The race was not without its controversy however, as Ferrari pulled a slightly suspect move – although it was within the regulations – to promote Fernando Alonso on to the clean side of the track for the start of the race by replacing the gearbox of his teammate Felipe Massa following qualifying.
It was a ploy which kept the Spaniard within touching distance of the title though, as it helped him secure third at the finish; albeit more than 30 seconds behind the front two come the chequered flag.
With just one race left – the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos this coming weekend – the title remains Vettel's to lose, but with ongoing reliability issues playing on the mind of the defending F1 champion, Alonso will be hoping he can steal the championship on the final day.
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Posted by Mark Thompson
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