Formula One

 
             === Hamilton outruns Vettel for USGP win in Austin ===
 
 Austin,  TX  (Sports  Network)  -  McLaren's Lewis  Hamilton  won  his  second
 consecutive  United  States Grand  Prix on  Sunday after  holding off Red Bull
 driver  and current  points leader Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps at the
 brand new Circuit of the Americas.
 
 While  Hamilton  picked up his  fourth win  of the season  and the 21st of his
 Formula One career, Vettel finished second to increase his championship points
 lead  to 13 over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished third. Vettel entered
 this 56-lap race with a 10-point advantage over Alonso. The 20-round F1 season
 concludes next Sunday with the Brazilian Grand Prix.
 
 Vettel,  the two-time defending F1 world champion, started on the pole and led
 the  way for 41  laps before Hamilton overtook him for the top spot. Hamilton,
 who  started  second, led the  final 15  circuits around the 3.4-mile, 20-turn
 course,  located 15  miles southeast of downtown Austin. He beat Vettel at the
 finish by just 0.6 seconds.
 
 Hamilton won the last USGP during his rookie season in 2007, which was held on
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road-course.
 
 "First-time  winner (at COTA), and I'm so happy," Hamilton said. "I think this
 is  probably one of  the best, if not the best, grand prix we've had all year.
 This  is so  special for me and my team.  It's been a long time since we had a
 win."
 
 Hamilton's last win came in the Sept. 9 Italian Grand Prix.
 
 Vettel  made his 100th  grand prix start. His F1 debut came in the '07 USGP at
 Indy.
 
 "It  was  a close fight with  Lewis," Vettel said.  "He had one chance, and he
 took it. After that, I tried to stay with him and maybe pass him again, but he
 was  probably  as quick as I  was. There wasn't too  much between us. It was a
 great race and a great result for us."
 
 Vettel  is  attempting to  become just the  third driver in  F1 history to win
 three  straight championships. The young German would join Juan Manuel Fangio,
 who  had four  titles  in a  row  from 1954-57,  and  Michael Schumacher,  who
 captured five straight from 2000-04.
 
 His  second-place  finish  allowed  Red  Bull to  clinch  its  third  straight
 constructors'  championship.  Red Bull has  accumulated 440 points compared to
 367 for Ferrari and 353 for McLaren.
 
 "I'm  happy  for the team that  we won the constructors' championship," Vettel
 said.  "Now  we have  another  race  coming up  in  Brazil.  In terms  of  the
 (drivers")  championship, it's  looking a  little  bit better  after the  race
 today."
 
 Vettel's  teammate, Mark  Webber, experienced an alternator issue in the early
 going,  which led  to his retirement. Webber and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne
 were the only drivers who retired in this race.
 
 "It  was an alternator  problem," Webber said. "We had a good start and a good
 fight  with Lewis  in the first few laps.  Then we had a lot of issues that we
 had to manage."
 
 Felipe Massa from Ferrari finished fourth after starting 11th. Massa qualified
 sixth  on Saturday, but  his team made a gearbox change hours before the start
 of  the  race, which led  to a five-spot grid  penalty. That allowed Alonso to
 move up to seventh on the grid. Alonso jumped to fourth on the opening lap.
 
 Jenson Button from McLaren took the fifth spot after he rolled off 12th on the
 grid.
 
 Kimi  Raikkonen, who  won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, finished sixth, followed
 by  his  Lotus teammate, Romain  Grosjean, who  also received a five-spot grid
 penalty for an unapproved gearbox change.
 
 Force  India's Nico  Hulkenberg placed eighth, followed by the Williams duo of
 Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna.
 
 11/18 17:50:16 ET

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