Prime & Option: the week in review; November 18

This past week was dominated by the action in Austin for the United States Grand Prix and the return of Heikki Kovalainen, with a sprinkling of silly season thrown in as Williams announced that Felipe Massa will partner Valtteri Bottas next year. Pastor Maldonado responded angrily after qualifying, but quickly backtracked as he looks for a nearly confirmed place for 2014. Sergio Perez also announced that he had been dropped by McLaren, with the team highly encouraging another team to pick up the young Mexican driver.

Sebastian Vettel Wins USGP as Field Fights Behind Him
In his eighth straight win, Vettel took the top step of the podium in the penultimate race of the season and at the second to last track he has not yet won on the F1 calendar. Only the Hungaroring awaits his celebrations next season. Though Mark Webber looked set to have pole sewn up at the end of Saturday’s qualifying sessions, Vettel beat his teammate to it on his own final lap, the last man to cross the line Saturday after the flag.
On Sunday, Vettel kept the lead on the start, but Romain Grosjean went around the outside of Webber into Turn 1, and nearly up the outside of Vettel as well, to take second. Though Webber would attempt to attack late in the one-stop race, the Frenchman gained his second second position of his F1 career. Further down the order, a number of drivers showed their willingness to move up the ranks with aggressive moves and a surprisingly scrappy race resulted. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top five finishers. Read the entire Grand Prix Redux here, find out what the drivers had to say after the race, after qualifying, and after the practice sessions.
Heikki Kovalainen replaced Kimi Raikkonen as the latter Finn underwent back surgery, missing the final two races of the season for Lotus. Kovalainen did well enough, qualifying eighth, but damage in the race necessiated a second stop to change the front wing on his Lotus and he finished only fourteenth.

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Williams Confirm Felipe Massa for 2014 Race Seat
Sir Frank Williams and company confirmed that Massa would have a soft landing at Williams after Ferrari’s release of it’s longstanding Brazilian driver earlier this season. Sir Frank Williams said, “We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience.”

Perez Announces Lack of Contract with McLaren for 2014, Team Announces Kevin Magnussen as Replacement
Using social media to announce his availability, Perez expressed regret that he had only one season at McLaren, but thanked his fans as “They have never let me down, especially in difficult moments like these. I truly appreciate their support, they have never forgotten me.”
Meanwhile, despite not actually wanting Perez in his McLaren, team principal Martin Whitmarsh has expressed an interest in seeing his current driver in another team’s car next season. “I am trying to help him get a drive…I have rung Force India and I have rung Lotus. They both do a good job and I have recommended him because he deserves to be in Formula One,” said Whitmarsh.

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