Sunday, 2 November 2014

United States Grand Prix: Sebastian flies in Texas!

The first corner of the race surprised me, because I expected drama. In fact, privately, I had predicted that Hamilton and Rosberg wouldn't get through the first hairpin, without making contact. Actually, the first few corners were extremely tidy, for everyone. Then all hell broke loose. Perez ran deep in to one of the corners, colliding with the back end of Kimi Raikonnen's Ferrari, and then spinning Adrian Sutil's Sauber around, spreading debris across the circuit. It was very unfortunate for Sutil, who had been so successful in Saturday's qualifying, and led to a lengthy safety car period. It was during this safety car period that Vettel and Red Bull made the decision that resulted in a decent turn around for the German reigning World Champion.

Vettel had been forced to start from the pit lane, due to the fact that he had needed an engine change. As the safety car came out, for the recovery of Sutil's Sauber, Vettel proceeded to make two pitstops, to cover both of his tyre stints, leaving him with an opportunity to go to the end of the race on virtually one set of tyres. Unfortunately, that feat wasn't quite possible, but the decision did give him the chance to have a run at a decent points paying position. On lap forty-nine he was forced to pit one final time, dropping him down to fourteenth, but he fought, with tenacity, back up to seventh place.

It is for this determination that Sebastian Vettel achieves Driver of the Day. He had a couple of opportunities to retire from the Grand Prix, as he reported his lack of pace and his struggle for grip, over the team radio. However, he continued to fight and it paid off in the end. There were some fantastic battles, at different stages of the race. At one point Button and Alonso were trading places, whilst Ricciardo managed to out-pace the two Williams drivers, despite the usual gulf in speed between the teams. Overall, however, the race didn't feature much incident.

The United States Grand Prix wasn't the most action-packed of the season, but it certainly made for an exciting spectacle. The result, at the front, was as predictable as always, with the two Mercedes drivers having very tidy races. That, in itself, was frustrating since we expected to see some action, some contact and maybe even a little foul play. However, Lewis and Nico were extremely civil and boringly responsible. Hopefully we'll see some fireworks in the penultimate race of the season, as both drivers close in on their last chance to take the title.

The Result:
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes561:40:04.785225
26Nico RosbergMercedes56+4.3 secs118
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault56+25.5 secs515
419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes56+26.9 secs412
577Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes56+30.9 secs310
614Fernando AlonsoFerrari56+95.2 secs68
71Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault56+95.7 secs186
820Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes56+100.68 secs74
925Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault56+103.86 secs142
1013Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault56+107.87 secs101
118Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault55+1 Lap16
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes55+1 Lap12
137Kimi RäikkönenFerrari55+1 Lap8
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari55+1 Lap15
1526Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault55+1 Lap17
Ret27Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes16Engine13
Ret11Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1Accident damage11
Ret99Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari0Accident9