Monday, 18 November 2013

United States Grand Prix: where were the Stetsons?!

Sebastian Vettel is on top of the world, his dominance is unrivalled and his achievements are already historic. He broke yet another record today to become the first driver to win eight grands prix consecutively. The emotion was clear, up on the podium, and before that through Seb's team radio. There was an outpouring of praise and love from Vettel, broken up with sobs and tears. Sebastian looks utterly invincible as the season approaches its conclusion.

Mark Webber, on the other hand, had another frustrating race, in this his penultimate grand prix. He had yet another terrible start, finding himself slipping back behind Romain Grosjean and then Lewis Hamilton. He was later able to get past Hamilton but was unable to overtake Grosjean and gain the second step of the podium. The frustration was clear for all to see, in his face and his mannerisms. A combination of not making the most of qualifying, not being able to make more of his second position on the grid, and the fact that his season isn't proving to be a fairy tale send off, is obviously taking its toll on the Aussie.

The vast majority of the race was as dull as dishwater. There were very few passes and very little incident, the only real excitement coming on the first lap. Adrian Sutil was unaware of Pastor Maldonado moving up on his left hand side and moved over in to his path. As he clipped Pastor's front wheel he was spun around and was powerless to stop his Force India car from being wrecked against the barrier. The incident resulted in a safety car, but once the race got back underway all action went out of it. The DRS zones were relatively ineffective and drivers didn't seem to want to commit to anything risky or daring, at least not until the final few laps.

Any action there was, occurred in the middle of the pack and mainly between the Ferrari's and McLaren's. The final laps threatened to be extremely exciting, but it was all a bit of an anti-climax. In the final couple of laps Mark Webber lost touch with Romain Grosjean as the tyres on his Red Bull car went off, whilst Alonso passed Hulkenberg with a fantastic move, but Hulkenberg was unable to fight back again.

The biggest controversy of the weekend was the absence of Stetsons. I was looking forward to seeing those hats on the podium and without them the American Grand Prix was lacking. Hopefully next year we will see the return of the Stetson!

Race result:
1 Sebastian Vettel 1 Red Bull 1 1:39.856 1:39:17.148 25
2 Romain Grosjean 8 Lotus 3 1:40.445 +00:06.284 18
3 Mark Webber 2 Red Bull 2 1:40.591 +00:08.396 15
4 Lewis Hamilton 10 Mercedes 5 1:40.818 +00:27.358 12
5 Fernando Alonso 3 Ferrari 6 1:41.186 +00:29.592 10
6 Nico Hulkenberg 11 Sauber 4 1:40.952 +00:30.400 8
7 Sergio Perez 6 McLaren 7 1:41.830 +00:46.692 6
8 Valtteri Bottas 17 Williams 9 1:40.492 +00:54.509 4
9 Nico Rosberg 9 Mercedes 12 1:41.133 +00:59.141 2
10 Jenson Button 5 McLaren 15 1:41.285 +01:17.278 1
11 Daniel Ricciardo 19 Toro Rosso 10 1:42.119 +01:21.004 0
12 Jean-Eric Vergne 18 Toro Rosso 14 1:41.320 +01:24.574 0
13 Felipe Massa 4 Ferrari 13 1:41.209 +01:26.914 0
14 Esteban Gutierrez 12 Sauber 20 1:41.401 +01:31.707 0
15 Heikki Kovalainen 7 Lotus 8 1:41.028 +01:35.063 0
16 Paul Di Resta 14 Force India 11 1:41.148 +01:36.853 0
17 Pastor Maldonado 16 Williams 17 1:43.058 lapped 0
18 Jules Bianchi 22 Marussia 19 1:43.419 lapped 0
19 Giedo van der Garde 21 Caterham 18 1:43.933 lapped 0
20 Charles Pic 20 Caterham 22 1:43.968 lapped 0
21 Max Chilton 23 Marussia 21 1:43.775 lapped 0
22 Adrian Sutil 15 Force India 16 No time retired, 0 laps 0