Kimi spoils Hamilton’s historic run

FERRARI driver Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, holds the trophy after winning the Formula One US Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. AP

AUSTIN, Texas — Kimi Raikkonen’s second stint with Ferrari has been long on frustration and short on victories.

That finally changed Sunday at the US Grand Prix where the Finnish driver earned his first win in five years, while a good enough day from Ferrari and a late block from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen denied Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton a fifth career Formula One championship.

A former world champion with Ferrari, Raikkonen hadn’t won after his return to the team in 2014 while teammate Sebastian Vettel fought Hamilton for the championship the last two seasons.

Raikkonen’s most previous win had been with Lotus at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2013. He’d driven his Ferrari to three second-place finishes this season before Sunday’s victory.

Success finally came with a muscular performance by both driver and car on a day when Hamilton could have clinched the championship with a sixth US Grand Prix in seven years.

Raikkonen seldom cracks a smile or shows much emotion, but he shouted an expletive on the team radio after the final lap. He was then his typical stoic self after a brief victory celebration at the podium.

“It’s nice to win. It doesn’t change my life,” Raikkonen said. “The biggest difference is how people look @ you.”

For Hamilton, a rare defeat in Austin means his fight with Vettel for the championship continues to next weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix. Hamilton finished third and Vettel was fourth to stretch Hamilton’s championship lead 70 points with three races left.

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