After a serious downpour in the morning, the sun came out and exposed a green Circuit of the Americas for the US Grand Prix in Austin. Could Lewis Hamilton convert his 72nd pole position into a 6th win at a US Grand Prix which would be the most wins of a US Grand Prix for any Formula 1 driver?
After turning the start of a grand prix into a US boxing event and NFL-style pomp, the race got away quickly just like Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari but wresting the lead away from Hamilton’s Mercedes was never going to last due to DRS and the superior shove of the Merc.
It was a gamble to pit Vettel late for new tires but he did everything he possibly could and still delivered a 2nd place finish. The Ferrari just didn’t have the legs at COTA and Lewis took his 4th consecutive US Grand Prix win.
A big win for Mercedes who secure their fourth constructor’s championship on the trot and Lewis for his 6th US Grand Prix win and 4th in a row. The entire team put yet another capital season together with a terrific mid-season push from Lewis Hamilton to secure the title.
A great start by both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton but slightly better from the German to take the lead. A lead Ferrari needed but weren’t able to keep through seven laps due to the massive shove of the Mercedes and DRS.
A big win for Max Verstappen who started way back on the grid and managed to make it to the podium only to be denied third to a 5s penalty assessed for running off track and getting an unfair advantage. This, of course, led to accusations about Mika Salo (guest steward) and many strains of mobocracy armchair philosophy which was tedious and exhausting to read. All the DVR kings were scrolling back over the race looking for anyone who went wide there to heap scorn on the FIA and Salo.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said:
“There’s been cars going off track all day today and no action at all so I think it’s unbelievably harsh to give Max a penalty for that,” the Red Bull team boss told Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz. “It’s wrong, it’s wrong.
“For me, it was fair, hard racing and I think that’s a bad judgement by the stewards to have made that call. We’ve seen cars off track all weekend so to penalise him at this stage is not right.”
A win for Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz who put on a great show for 6th and 7th Sunday with the latter nearly equaling the team’s best result this year on his first outing in the car. A great job by Carlos Sainz.
With all the talk of Brendon Hartley, for good reason, Daniil Kvyat quietly scored points in a good run for the Russian. Brendon deserves some credit too as he hasn’t been in an F1 car in six years so it was a tall order but he represented himself very well.
To be fair, it was a good run for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who may have finished in 13th had he not been given a penalty which I found to be a bit harsh.
A fail for Renault who couldn’t manage to keep Nico Hulkenberg in the race longer than four laps. Retiring the car for mechanical issues and denying Nico a shot at the points.
Red Bull Racing gave Max Verstappen a new engine for the race but Daniel Ricciardo’s gave up the ghost on lap 16. Daniel looked set for a possible podium and had some great battles with Valtteri Bottas but it wasn’t to be.
A fail for McLaren who couldn’t get the Honda-powered car of Alonso’s to the end of the race causing yet another DNF.
Tough weekend for Lance Stroll who’s teammate was in the points but he languished back in 11th. Equally a tough weekend for Haas F1 who failed to score in their home race.
I was watching the first pit stop by Brendon Hartley and then some of the close-up shot of corners seemed to have a lot of rubber balled up off line. It rained hard in the morning so it seemed the Ultrasoft tires were taking a beating early on.
A WTH for DRS once again. Sure, Mercedes may have had the more powerful engine and the Ferrari of Vettel may not have ultimately held off Hamilton’s charge but the DRS was a free pass and the system deprived us of a good battle that would have forced Lewis to make the pass. To artfully set Vettel up and make a real effort at getting by his main rival in the championship. What we got was a sitting duck in Vettel and a massive gift to Lewis to not have to work at all to pass his rival for the lead and win. The fact is, this is happening every race weekend and we just don’t see it in the mid-field battles but this system has got to go.
You can’t say it is the same for Vettel because his car didn’t have the shove to take advantage of it but he may have had enough shove to keep Lewis behind him long enough to allow the undercut to work etc. It is a ham-fisted system that has got to go.
What’s the deal with Valtteri?
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:33:50.993
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari +00:10.143
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:15.779
4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 00:16.768
5. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 00:34.967
6. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India – Mercedes 01:30.980
7. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Renault 01:32.944
8. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 1 lap
9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
10. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap
11. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
12. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1 lap
13. Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap
14. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas – Ferrari 1 lap
15. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari 1 lap
16. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas – Ferrari 1 lap
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 32 laps
r. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer 42 laps
r. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber – Ferrari 51 laps
r. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 53 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel,1:37.766, lap 51.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 331
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 265
3. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 244
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 192
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 163
6. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull 123
7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 86
8. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India 73
9. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Renault 54
10. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 36
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault 34
12. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams 32
13. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas 28
14. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas 15
15. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 13
16. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 10
17. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 8
18. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber 5
19. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 5
20. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 0
21. Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) Sauber 0
22. Pierre Gasly (France) Toro Rosso 0
23. Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) Toro Rosso 0
1. Mercedes 575
2. Ferrari 428
3. Red Bull – TAG Heuer 315
4. Force India – Mercedes 159
5. Williams-Mercedes 68
6. Toro Rosso – Renault 53
7. Renault 48
8. Haas – Ferrari 43
9. McLaren 23
10. Sauber – Ferrari 5