Kimi Raikkonen wins his first Grand Prix in over five years, Lewis Hamilton loses a position for the first time at COTA and fourth on the grid is the unluckiest place to start from in Texas. Here are all the best facts and statistics from the 2018 United States Grand Prix weekend!
On Sunday, Kimi Raikkonen took his 21st Formula 1 victory, making him the most successful Finnish driver in F1 history. It was the fiftieth win for a Finnish driver. It had been 114 races since his last race win at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, which is the highest ever number of races between wins for a driver. It’s also the fifth longest amount of time between two race wins for a driver in F1 history. It was Raikkonen’s first victory at the Circuit of the Americas as he became the fifth different driver to win a Grand Prix in 2018. It was his 101st podium finish.
Raikkonen becomes the third different driver to win the U.S. Grand Prix during its tenure at the Circuit of he Americas, as Ferrari become the fourth different team to win here. The victory marked Ferrari’s 233rd Formula 1 win.
Before the weekend, Raikkonen had only scored 23 points at the track. His win more than doubles the points he’s amassed here on his five previous appearances. It was also the first time Kimi Raikkonen has gained a position on the first lap since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The result marked Raikkonen’s second podium finish at the track, and Ferrari’s fifth top three finish at COTA. Raikkonen remains the only Finnish driver to have taken a podium finish at the track.
Max Verstappen took a nineteenth podium finish, equalling Dan Gurney, Patrick Depailler, Mario Andretti and Giancarlo Fisichella. It was Verstappen’s best result at the track as he became the ninth different driver to finish on the podium at COTA. It was the sixth podium finish for Red Bull at the track.
From eighteenth on the grid to second at the end of the Grand Prix, Verstappen gained sixteen positions – the most places he’s ever gained in a race and the most positions ever gained by a driver during a Grand Prix at this track. It was also the most positions gained in a race since Lewis Hamilton similarly gained sixteen places at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix.
2018 is the first time a driver starting from eighteenth on the grid has scored points at COTA. Before this weekend, eighteenth was the only grid slot in the top twenty to have never scored at the track.
Red Bull have had one car retire from the U.S. Grand Prix in every season since 2015.
Lewis Hamilton took pole on Saturday. It was his 81st pole position in Formula One and his ninth pole of the 2018 season. He’s now guaranteed to be the driver with the most poles at the end of the year. Hamilton became the first driver to take three poles at the Circuit of the Americas, taking all three consecutively. It was the third pole for a British driver at the track, placing Britain one pole behind Germany in the list of total starts from the front at the circuit.
Mercedes took their 99th pole at the Texas track. Another pole next weekend in Mexico would see them become the fifth team to take a century of poles in Formula 1. It was the team’s fifth pole position at the track.
Hamilton took pole by just 0.061 seconds – the closest ever qualifying result at this circuit, and the first time pole has been decided by less than a tenth of a second in Texas. 3.498 seconds separated Lewis Hamilton on pole from Stoffel Vandoorne, who qualified in twentieth. That’s the smallest gap between the slowest and fastest car in qualifying yet at this track.
Fernando Alonso recorded his worst Circuit of the Americas qualifying performance with sixteenth. It’s the first time he’s been eliminated in Q1 at the track. This marks the first time Alonso has recorded three Q1 exits in a row since the end of the 2015 season. Another Q1 knock out in Mexico would equal his longest string of consecutive Q1 exits.
2018 is the first time both McLaren cars have been eliminated in Q1 at COTA. It’s the fourth time that Stoffel Vandoorne has qualified in last place this year. This season also marks the first time Williams have encountered a double Q1 exit at the track.
Sauber continue their record of having at least one driver eliminated in Q1 at the track, which has happened in every season since 2014. Charles Leclerc became the first Sauber driver to reach Q3 since Adrian Sutil did so in 2014.
Max Verstappen’s Q2 exit marks only the second time a Red Bull driver has failed to reach Q3 at this track. The only other time it happened was in 2014, when Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q1. Verstappen ends his 100% Q3 record at the track. He’s never beaten Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying at this track during their time as Red Bull team-mates. This weekend is the first time Ricciardo has out-qualified Verstappen since he did so at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It’s also the first time the Australian has started from the front two rows of the grid since he started from pole position in Monaco.
Haas reached the final part of qualifying at their home event for the first time. It was the first time Romain Grosjean has reached Q3 at this track since 2013.
Qualifying in seventh, Nico Hulkenberg equalled his best Saturday performance of the season. He’s also qualified seventh in China, Canada and Germany so far this year.
Carlos Sainz missed out on Q3 after setting a lap time just 0.002 seconds slower than his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon each recorded their best Texas qualifying result, setting the third and fifth fastest times respectively.
After qualifying nineteenth, 2018 marks the first time in his career that Marcus Ericsson hasn’t qualified in sixteenth for the U.S. Grand Prix, though he did line up sixteenth on the grid. It was also the first time the Swedish driver has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the circuit. He, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin are the only drivers on the 2018 grid to have never progressed further than Q1 at COTA.
Nico Hulkenberg finally ended his unlucky streak in America. He finished a U.S. Grand Prix for the first time since 2013. Hulkenberg finished sixth in the race, just as he did the last time he finished a Grand Prix here.
Valtteri Bottas finished in fifth for a third time at COTA, equalling his best result at the track. 2018 marks the first time Lewis Hamilton has lost a position from his starting place at the Circuit of the Americas. Mercedes’ drivers were the only two drivers who finished the race to lose positions from their starting slot.
While the title celebrations had to wait for another week, Lewis Hamilton took his sixth podium finish at the Circuit of the Americas and the 132nd podium finish of his career. It was the eighth podium finish for the Mercedes team at the track. Hamilton also set the fastest lap of a Grand Prix for the 41st time in his career.
The 2018 U.S. Grand Prix is the first time three different teams have finished on the podium at the track since the first race here in 2012.
Sergio Perez has finished eighth in all of the last three U.S. Grands Prix.
Marcus Ericsson scored a point at COTA for the first time, as Sauber scored for the first time at the track since 2015.
Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon were both disqualified from the U.S. Grand Prix. It was the first DSQ in each of their Formula 1 careers, making them the fifth and sixth drivers on the 2018 grid to have taken a DSQ at some point in their career.
After a good Saturday for the Haas team, the American outfit saw both cars not classified in the final result for the first time at the track, following Kevin Magnussen’s disqualification and Romain Grosejean’s first lap retirement.
Both Renault cars scored points for the first time in a race here. The last time the Enstone-based team scored with both drivers at the track was under their Lotus guise back in 2012.
2018 marked only the second time Williams have failed to score at COTA. The last time they did so was in 2015 when both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas retired from the race.
Charles Leclerc recorded back-to-back retirements for the second time in his career, while Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo all recorded their second DNFs at the Circuit of the Americas.
For the fourth year in a row, the driver starting from fourth on the grid failed to finish the Grand Prix at COTA.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.