Race Report: Raikkonen wins US Grand Prix

14
Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

It was looking to be a bleak weekend for Ferrari heading into Austin for the United States Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel had garnered a 3-place grid penalty on Friday’s first practice session and the Merc’s looked quick albeit in the rain.

The soggy Friday left only Saturday’s practice session in the dry and this was precious little time for teams to harvest data and allow them good insight into how the tires would react for an anticipated dry race. As Sunday came around, the sun, heat and dry weather appeared but with Vettel starting 5th and Lewis Hamilton on pole, it looked as if he could take his fifth world championship in Austin Texas at the Circuit of the Americas and win the race for the fifth time in a row.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

In the end, it was not Lewis’s day because this day belonged to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who did precisely what he needed to do to not only help Sebastian Vettel by denying Lewis the win but also securing the first victory at the US Grand Prix for Ferrari since 2006 when Michael Schumacher did it. Kimi’s win and Lewis finishing behind Max Verstappen for third place means that his 5th title will have to wait until the Mexican Grand Prix next weekend. Lewis will need to beat Seb by 5 points in Mexico to take his 5th title.

Win

A huge win for Kimi Raikkonen who hasn’t won since Australian in 2013 and breaks the record for longest winless drought. The last win for Kimi happened when Lewis only had one title to his name. Kimi’s had 30 podiums since his 2013 win but no victories until today and the drive he put in was the drive his fans knew he was capable of. No errors, defending from Hamilton on dodgy tires and effectively costing Lewis enough time to put him third on the podium behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Ferrari’s strategy team gets a win today for ignoring the free Virtual Safety Car pit stop on lap 11 and keeping Kimi out. At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer to box Kimi but Ferrari either knew better or reacted better to recover from a strategy error. Either way, they didn’t box Vettel and one could argue they should have but in the end, Kimi’s defensive driving cost Lewis the win, handed Raikkonen the win and protected Vettel’s points deficit for another race.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A big win for Max Verstappen who took his Red Bull car from 18th to 2nd in the race. A strong performance and level-headed drive when being seriously hounded by Lewis who desperately needed second place to win the title (at the time as Vettel hadn’t passed Valtteri Bottas yet). A brilliant performance from the young Dutchman!

A win for Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz despite the Spaniard garnering a 5s penalty for running wide at turn one on the first lap. The Renault duo finished 6th and 7th and they were fighting hometown heroes, Haas F1, for 5th in the constructor’s championship so the points haul it massive for the team.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A good race for Brendon Hartley who is trying to convince the F1 world that he should stay at Toro Rosso by finishing 11th while the much-vaunted Pierre Gasly was a distant 14th.

A big win for Formula fans who were treated to a terrific race with three teams fighting for the win.

Fail

On one hand, you have to hand it to Sebastian Vettel who managed a recovery drive that didn’t just bank on Max keeping Lewis in third as Vettel passed Bottas for 4th in the waning laps to keep his head above water in the title fight. Despite what was otherwise a terrific drive, Vettel once again put himself in the position of needing heroics in order to survive. No one loves heroics more than I but a team or driver shouldn’t continually have to deliver heroics to win a title. Was it Sebastian’s fault that he collided with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo? The stewards didn’t see it that way and nor did I. Seb desperately needed that position and ran out of corner when Dan was holding his position. A similar pass attempt happened later with Hamilton and Verstappen but Lewis backed out and ran wide. The stewards reviewed and felt neither driver was a fault.

Mercedes didn’t get the entire weekend put together and missed their chance to close Lewis’s 5th title in Austin. The strategy didn’t play out for the team and the lack of running in dry, warm weather on Friday simply didn’t give them enough data to know how their Soft tires would react to long stints. To be fair, it seemed to be a logical call to bring Lewis in for a free stop under the VSC but as it turns out, Ferrari covered that strategy, knew Mercedes were going to have to two-stop Lewis and Kimi’s defensive driving put the nail in their coffin. Lewis drive a great race but the USGP turned into a close fight between three teams and a chess match on unknown tires for Mercedes.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

 

Equally, a fail for strategy with Valtteri Bottas who couldn’t make much of a 1-stop strategy, hence the reason for the 2-stopper for Lewis. Valtteri couldn’t hold off Vettel and finished 5th.

A fail for Lance Stroll who managed to ruin Fernando Alonso’s while Romain Grosjean decided to ruin Charles Leclerc’s race.

WTH

A WTH for the issues that Daniel Ricciardo is having with reliability while Max isn’t. Same car, same engine but Dan seems to have the worst of it when it comes to power unit failure and that can’t be giving him big confidence in his employer next year. Dan punched a hole in the wall of his room in the motorhome such was his frustration. One wonders what may have happened if Dan had the car to finish the race? Surely in the podium mix given Max’s pace.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A WTH for Sergey Sirotkin who was setting some terrific lap times early on to fade to the very back with his naughty teammate, Lance Stroll.

Also, a WTH for Mercedes who were allowed to change water pumps in both cars while in Parc Fermé condition…I didn’t think that was allowed.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

US Grand Prix Results

POS DRIVER CAR GAP
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1h34m18.643s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1.281s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2.342s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 18.222s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 24.744s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m27.210s
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m34.994s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m39.288s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m40.657s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m41.080s
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Lap
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Lap
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
16 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 2 Laps
Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari Retirement
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault Retirement
Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari Collision
Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault Collision

Driver Championship

POS DRIVER POINTS
1 Lewis Hamilton 346
2 Sebastian Vettel 276
3 Kimi Raikkonen 221
4 Valtteri Bottas 217
5 Max Verstappen 191
6 Daniel Ricciardo 146
7 Nico Hulkenberg 61
8 Kevin Magnussen 55
9 Sergio Perez 54
10 Esteban Ocon 53
11 Fernando Alonso 50
12 Carlos Sainz 45
13 Romain Grosjean 31
14 Pierre Gasly 28
15 Charles Leclerc 21
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Lance Stroll 6
18 Marcus Ericsson 6
19 Brendon Hartley 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1

Constructor Championship

POS CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Mercedes 563
2 Ferrari 497
3 Red Bull/Renault 337
4 Renault 106
5 Haas/Ferrari 86
6 McLaren/Renault 58
7 Force India/Mercedes 48
8 Toro Rosso/Honda 30
9 Sauber/Ferrari 27
10 Williams/Mercedes 7
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

14
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
8 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
Negative CamberDan CooperFabioPeterjtr Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Arctic-Epsilon
Guest
Arctic-Epsilon

Win for Verstappen owning that fire suit! When in Texas………..

The Late Idi Amin
Member
The Late Idi Amin

“LEWIS…ITS CHASE. DON’T PASS…SPIN IT OUT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF RACES……please?”

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

Credit Will Buxton for this observation, a big hats off to Kimi!!

“Just watched the podium back and so impressed with the respect Raikkonen showed Gen. John M Murray. Often forget Kimi, like all Finns, did military service. His sudden cap removal when he realised who was shaking his hand was a really classy moment.”

jtr
Member
jtr

Vettel played it off in his post-race interview like the collision was all Ricciardo’s fault, but it looked to me like it was all Vettel. You could see on Seb’s onboard that he countersteers hard to the left right before the collision. When you try to pass on the inside like that, you better be damn sure you can actually hold to the inside line, and this is two races in a row where Vettel couldn’t. He also had a pretty telling comment where he said something like “Ricciardo would have had me on the next corner anyways” which means… Read more »

Member

Small correction Todd on the comment: “Lewis will need to beat Seb by 5 points in Mexico to take his 5th title.”

Lewis is 70 points ahead of Sebastian
There are three races left with a maximum of 25 points/win = 75 points

Lewis only has to finish 7th or better in one race (to score 6 points in total) to win the Driver’s Championship. He doesn’t need to outscore Sebastian anywhere else this season

JG
Member
JG

Actually, I think the math is a little more complicated than that. A 7th on Hamilton’s part would make it mathematically impossible for Vettel to overtake him. But Vettel also needs to win out. A double DNF collision (to give a very extreme and unlikely example) would crown Hamilton champion. Perhaps of more concern for Ferrari, if either Red Bull pulls off a win next week, it doesn’t matter if Lewis even starts the race, he’s still won. To get really into the weeds of unlikely scenarios, does anyone know how a points total tie is handled? Vettel winning out… Read more »

jtr
Member
jtr

Yeah, either Hamilton has to pick up 6 points, or Vettel has to leave 6 points on the table. Since the gap between first and second is 7 points, anything less than sweeping the table with three victories would guarantee Hamilton a title.

The tiebreaker is most race wins. If that’s tied, it trickles down to most second-place finishes, then most third-place finishes, and so on until the tie is broken.

Peter Riva
Member
Peter Riva

If you want to know how to measure the reaction to Kimi’s win, you need look no further than my wife. Normally hardly watching, fussing around the house asking, “Mercedes again?” and going about her business. This time? She was on the edge of her seat, cursing Ferrari if they goofed up on Kimi once again – they didn’t for once – and when Kimi crossed the line? She punched my arm and let out a yell. Joy around this household – long overdue joy.
Yeah, and Ferrari are trading him away… great for the sport… not.

Fabio
Member
Fabio

Kimi finally lucks in with a win after 5 years.
Bring on Lecrec I say.

Dan Cooper
Guest
Dan Cooper

Kudos to NC for placing Vettel (excessively gently perhaps) in the fail column. I wanted him to win this year but – maybe since I’ve never ridden in a car with him – it’s been obvious to me for awhile (Azerbaijan 2017) he can’t take the pressure of competing with Lewis and is consistently sh**ing in his mess kit. NC’s been kindly putting some of the blame on the car, but with Kimi taking that same car to the house while Vettel smacks it on whatever’s handy (AGAIN) I think the time for speculation is over. Certainly it is for… Read more »