Motorsport: Hamilton takes chunk out of Rosberg's lead

Lewis Hamilton during the United States Formula One Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton during the United States Formula One Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton took a bite out of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's championship lead with his 50th Formula One win victory at the US Grand Prix, the Brit's fourth triumph in five years in Texas.

Rosberg, chasing his 10th triumph of the season, finished second as his lead atop the championship was cut to 26 points, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo coming home third for his seventh podium finish of 2016.

Hamilton's win ended a barren and frustrating stretch for the triple world champion dating back to his last win in Germany in July.

"This has always been a good hunting ground for me," said the Briton, the third driver after Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost to win 50 races.

"I love being here in the States, it very much feels like home.

"All I can do is do my best and continue to drive as I have this weekend. Nico has been driving fantastically well all year so the battle will continue."

Rosberg finished 4.5 seconds behind, but he can still take his first world title without having to win again this season given the German has 331 points to Hamilton's 305 - with seven points the difference between a win and second place.

The Mercedes drivers are the only ones in title contention and the team has already won the constructors' championship for a third year in a row.

Ricciardo's Red Bull teammate Verstappen had pushed Rosberg hard early on but any hope of him getting between the Mercedes drivers ended when he pitted with his team expecting it.

The 18-year-old then dropped to a crawling pace before pulling across the gravel and parking up but marshals were unable to move the Red Bull to safety without the use of a crane, leading to a virtual safety car.

That allowed the Mercedes drivers to pit and gain time on Ricciardo, who had already done so.

"They basically got a free pit stop," said the exasperated Australian over the radio.

Verstappen said the team had told him to keep going initially.

"I said there is a serious issue...

and then once I jumped out it was in neutral and the car suddenly got stuck," he explained.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished fourth but a bungled stop put paid to teammate Kimi Raikkonen's race with the Finn leaving before the wheel had been fully detached and stopping at the pit lane exit.

Fernando Alonso was fifth for McLaren with fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz sixth for Toro Rosso and Brazilian Felipe Massa seventh for Williams.

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