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Hamilton wins US GP, Ricciardo third

AAP logoAAP 23/10/2016

Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton produced a flawless performance to win the US Grand Prix from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, while Daniel Ricciardo was third.

Hamilton started from pole and, with a smooth start, led from start to finish at the Circuit of the Americans to end a five-race losing streak.

Rosberg lost a spot at the start but recovered to finish around 4.520 seconds behind Hamilton with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium in third.

Hamilton has now won four of the five US Grands Prix held in Austin, Texas, where he clinched the 2015 championship, and this 50th career success could prove crucial as the season draws to a close.

Rosberg, however, remains firmly in charge of the current standings as he searches for his maiden title.

He leads Hamilton by 26 points with three races remaining, starting next week in Mexico, where he could even clinch the title with victory if Hamilton finishes outside the top 10.

The German would have been well aware of Hamilton's problems starting this season and perhaps this led him to be overly aggressive in trying to make up ground in the race to turn one.

Unable to threaten Hamilton, Rosberg simply opened the door for Ricciardo, on the quicker super-soft tyres, for a pass which he made stick around the next corners.

"The start went OK," Ricciardo said.

"The plan was to get both Mercedes, but we only managed to get Nico in the end."

Rosberg admitted he "lost out a bit" in the opening dash but "gave everything to come back."

While the leading pack got away cleanly, Nico Huelkenberg had to retire his Force India after being shunted between the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Esteban Gutierrez also retired early in a disappointment for Haas at their home grand prix.

Red Bull pitted Australian Ricciardo after nine laps and Rosberg followed suit, returning on mediums with the intention of going for a long mid-race stint.

Hamilton went in a lap later but stayed with softs and could easily manage his advantage when he returned in the lead.

"I love being here in the States, it feels like home," Hamilton said. "The team did a great job this weekend."

Verstappen, who started fourth on the grid, surprised his team on lap 27 by jumping in for an unscheduled stop having misheard a radio instruction and his race shuddered to an end soon after with a gearbox problem.

That caused a virtual safety car which Mercedes used to pit both drivers. They each emerged with mediums to make the 24-lap stretch to the end.

But with Ricciardo unable to jump in as well, Rosberg moved up to second albeit more than 10 seconds behind Hamilton.

"We were holding second, then it was the virtual safety car and Nico managed to jump me during that period which is frustrating," Ricciardo said.

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