The 2014 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Circuit of the Americas on November 2, 2014. The race was the seventeenth round of the 2014 season, and marked the third running of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, and thirty-sixth time the race has been run as a round of the World Championship.
As both the Marussia and Caterham teams were under administration, they did not participate in the Grand Prix, and thus the race featured a field of only 18 cars. This is the smallest field entered into a Grand Prix event since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. The race was won by Lewis Hamilton. Jean-Éric Vergne scored his last ever World Championship points at this race.
Pirelli brought their white-banded Medium compound tyre as its prime selection and yellow-banded Soft as the option, as opposed to the previous two meetings in Austin where the Hard and Medium compounds were selected.
Caterham and Marussia were each granted permission to miss the Grand Prix after both teams were afflicted with long-term financial problems and placed into administration. With the grid limited to eighteen cars, the qualifying procedure was revised. Instead of the six slowest cars being eliminated after the first and second rounds, only the slowest four were eliminated. The third and final round of qualifying remained unchanged to determine the final top ten spots on the grid.
The FIA elected to retain the two DRS zones they used at the previous year's event, with the first being along the backstretch between turns 11 and 12, and the second on the start-finish straight between turns 20 and 1.
After both Friday practice sessions, the FIA tested for the first time this new system, which is in response to minimising the risk of serious accidents and injuries, such as those suffered by Jules Bianchi at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Its aim is to force drivers to reduce their speed by about 35% in an accident zone, with the aid of a dashboard display. Drivers have agreed it is a worthwhile system that, however, requires refinement for further testing at subsequent Grands Prix before introduction in 2015.
Three practice sessions were held before the race; two 90-minute sessions on Friday and one lasting an hour on Saturday. Lewis Hamilton was fastest in all three practice sessions, with his teammate Nico Rosberg second fastest in all three sessions.
Hamilton went fastest in Q1, setting his best time on the soft tyres. Rosberg, who had set his best time on the medium tyres, was second fastest.
Rosberg set the fastest time in Q2. Hamilton was struggling with braking, locking up multiple times on each of his laps and ended the session second fastest.
Rosberg was fastest again in Q3, securing his ninth pole of the season ahead of teammate Hamilton, who again struggled with braking in the third session.
Following the initial pitstop phase, Lewis Hamilton overtook Nico Rosberg at turn 12 on lap 24. Rosberg briefly regained the lead on Hamilton's second stop, but again relinquished the top spot during his own stop. Hamilton would go on to win the race comfortably, with Rosberg four seconds adrift in the runner-up position. Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the podium in what he would describe as "the best possible result" he could achieve after starting the race from 5th and getting off to a slow start on the opening lap. The Williams drivers of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas both ran a fair pace for the entire race, finishing 4th and 5th, respectively.
Fernando Alonso continued to push the Ferrari to its limit, ultimately finishing in 6th place. Sebastian Vettel, having started the race from pit lane, looked to benefit greatly from the opening lap collision between Adrian Sutil and Sergio Pérez, getting into the pits for soft tyres from last place before the safety car held up the front runners. However, he would then immediately switch back to medium tyres on the next lap after running over debris. Vettel would use a late race pitstop for a final set of soft tyres to push his way through the field, setting the fastest lap in the process. Despite pitting four times, he would go on to finish in 7th place after a final lap pass of Kevin Magnussen, who scored McLaren's only points of the race in 8th place. Jean-Éric Vergne made a furious push towards the end of the race, making contact with fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean under heavy braking into turn 1. Vergne would initially finish the race in 9th place, but had a 5-second penalty added to his time for avoidable contact and forcing Grosjean off track, relegating him to the final points paying position in 10th. This promoted Pastor Maldonado to 9th, scoring his only points of the season in the Lotus.
With his victory, Hamilton achieved five consecutive wins for the first time in his career, his tenth win of the season and 32nd Formula One win overall - the most for a British driver in his career, breaking Nigel Mansell's record held since 1994. With Ricciardo finishing third, he became mathematically excluded from winning the Drivers' World Championship; with two races remaining, only Hamilton and Rosberg remained in contention for the title.Notes
^1 — Jenson Button qualified 7th but dropped five places on the starting grid due to a gearbox change to his McLaren.
^2 — Daniil Kvyat qualified 14th but dropped ten places on the starting grid due to an engine change to his Toro Rosso.
^3 — Sebastian Vettel was required to start the race from pit lane after being penalised for exceeding the season limit of five power unit component changes, by changing a sixth on his Red Bull prior to qualifying.
Notes:^4 — Jean-Éric Vergne finished 9th but had 5 seconds added to race time for making contact with Romain Grosjean while overtaking him.
Bold text indicates who still had a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.
Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.