Grand Prix of America – Race

In theory, Lewis Hamilton can win his 4th Drivers’ Championship today; it’s unlikely but here’s how:

(a) HAM wins, VET is 6th or lower; (b) HAM is P2, BOT P3, and VET P9 or lower.

Yesterday’s qualifying session wasn’t the most exciting; there are so many penalties to apply that some might think it was almost pointless.

Provisional grid: HAM, VET, BOT, RIC, RAI, VER*, OCO, SAI, ALO, PER, MAS, KVY, VAN*, GRO, HUL*, ERI, STR*, HAR*, WEH, MAG*
Penalties: HAR +25; HUL +20; VAN +30; VER +15; MAG +3; STR +3

Revised grid: HAM, VET, BOT, RIC, RAI, OCO, SAI, ALO, PER, MAS, KVY, GRO, ERI, WEH, STR, VER, MAG, HUL, HAR, VAN

Air temperature 23°C; track 31°C
There was a lot of rain overnight so the track is pretty green again

Bit of a change in process leading up to the start of the race
Apparently the drivers are taking part in something new but it’s not clear what yet
Rob Smedley (Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams) said, “It’s all a bit Hollywood at the moment!”

Oh dear – it’s the “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” guy (Michael Buffer) announcing the drivers … and struggling with some of the international names!
This is just painful! Please make those stupid announcements stop!!
And on to the warbling of the anthem.
Can we just get started please?
Finally that’s over and the drivers can head to their cars
Oh, and after all that Buffer didn’t even say his (literally) trademark phrase – kind of defeats the purpose of him being there, doesn’t it?
Ah, there it is – “Gentlemen start your engines” (huh?) and then “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” – so can we now agree never to do that ever again? Please!

Tyre warmers are coming off and the mechanics clear the grid
Everyone on pink ultrasofts except MAS, STR, MAG, ERI, VER & VAN
HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
He’s keeping it fairly slow to try to keep everyone closed up
It’s also a good tactic to try to keep VET’s brakes & tyres from reaching peack temp too

01/56: VET makes a good start and holds the inside line into Turn 1 – tyre contact but nothing major
ALO past SAI for P7
OCO has taken P5 from RAI

02: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, OCO, RAI, ALO, SAI, MAS, PER
RIC dives inside BOT into Turn 1 – BOT runs very wide but hangs on to P3
MAG pits
RAI reclaims P5 from OCO

03: VET fastest lap 1:41.056
HAM f/lap 1:40.945
VER easily past KVY for P11 … and then past PER too
HAR has passed WEH – his first F1 overtake

04: VET f/lap 1:40.654
RIC has another dive – locks up and runs wide; BOT stays P3
HUL pits and retires the Renault

05/56: VET, HAM, BOT, RIC, RAI, OCO, ALO, SAI, VER, MAS, PER, KVY, GRO, STR, VAN, ERI, HAR, MAG, WEH; retirement: HUL
HAM f/lap 1:40.531

06: HAM f/lap 1:40.387
HAM dives inside VET and steals P1
WEH pits

07: WEH still in the pits – will he return?
Lap 1 incident involving MAG and WEH was investigated – no further action

08: WEH is out of his car
Replay of MAG/WEH collision – looks like a racing incident to me
Radio for HAM – “Plan A, Plan A” which is presumably 1-stop strategy

09: HAR in the pits
Incident involving RIC/BOT incident from lap 2
Radio for RIC asking about tyres; RIC’s struggling in the dirty air behind BOT

10/56: HAM, VET, BOT, RIC, RAI, OCO, VER, ALO, SAI, MAS, PER, KVY, GRO, VAN, STR, ERI, MAG, HAR; retirements: WEH, HUL
RAI closing on RIC

11: HAM’s lead just over 2.5secs
STR pits
VER inside OCO for P6
Radio for VER – “we’re back in the game”

12: Radio from VET reporting “blistering on the front left”
RAI looking for a way round RIC
No further action for the lap 2 RIC/BOT incident

13: RIC pits from P4; rejoins P9
PER pits too

14: RIC easily past SAI for P8

15/56: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, VER, OCO, ALO, RIC, SAI, MAS, KVY, GRO, VAN, ERI, PER, MAG, HAR, STR
OCO pits from P6, followed by ALO; OCO rejoins P12, ALO P14 with ERI between them
RIC f/lap 1:40.102

16: RIC runs wide; he’s pulled off and retired the Red Bull
Radio from RIC – “engine’s gone”
Yellow flags while they remove RIC’s car

17: VET pits from P2; soft tyres go on; rejoins P5
GRO pits too
Radio from HAM saying he’s OK to extend this first stint

19: BOT pits from P2; rejoins P5
Radio from ALO asking which plan they’re following; told “Plab B”
VET f/lap 1:39.702
VET runs wide as he pushes hard

20/56: HAM pits from P1; rejoins P3 only just ahead of VET
VET f/lap 1:39.379
VET looking to strike quickly at HAM while HAM’s tyres are coming up to temp

21: RAI pits; rejoins P5
Radio from HAM asking how VET was allowed to get so close

22: VER currently P1 but HAM, VET, BOT and RAI have all pitted (VER started on supersofts so should go a lot further)

23: HAM alongside VER but VER holds on to P1
HAM finally finds a way to pass and keep P1

24: HAM f/lap 1:39.233
SAI takes P10 from VAN

25/56: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, RAI, MAS, OCO, PER, ALO, SAI, KVY, VAN, GRO, MAG, STR, HAR, ERI
ALO is falling down the order – another problem for the McLaren?
Radio from ALO – “I think I have an engine issue”; “OK, back off”; “I can’t believe it – another 6 or 8 points”
ALO pits and retires

26: VER pits; rejoins P5

27: VER f/lap 1:38.523

28/56 = half distance

29: Radio from PER complaining his teammate isn’t fast enough, again

30/56: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, VER, MAS, OCO, PER, SAI, KVY, GRO, MAG, VAN, STR, HAR, ERI; retirements: ALO, RIC, WEH, HUL
MAS locks up; OCO tries to take P6; PER attacks too; MAS holds on to P6
MAS pits, leaving the Force India pair to fight amongst themselves

31: Official word from Force India is they don’t want their drivers to fight and won’t be asking OCO to let PER through

32: Radio from PER – SAI is coming; please tell OCO to let me through
Radio for PER telling him OCO is doing (fuel or tyre?) management; need PER to do the same

33: SAI is catching PER

34: SAI attacks; PER defends P7 but SAI finds a way through
PER tries to fight back but now KVY is closing on PER

35/56: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, VER, OCO, SAI, PER, KVY, GRO, MAS, MAG, VAN, STR, HAR, ERI
Radio for VER encouraging to attack RAI

37: Radio from VET – “think about Plan B” – does he want to switch to 2-stop strategy?
RAI right on the tail of BOT
HAR makes 2nd stop; rejoins P16 = last

38: VER pits from P5; switches from softs to new supersofts; rejoisn still P5, well ahead of OCO
Radio for VER – “you know what we’re up to”

39: HAM’s lead almost 8secs over VET
VET pits; quick stop; rejoins P4, just ahead of VER
Radio from HAM – “tyres are still good”

40/56: HAM, BOT, RAI, VET, VER, OCO, SAI, PER, KVY, GRO, MAS, VAN, MAG, ERI, STR, HAR; retirements: ALO, RIC, WEH, HUL
VER f/lap 1:38.060
MAS takes P10 from GRO
RAI has DRS and is all over BOT’s rear wing

41: Radio for MAS – “we can have some fun here!”
HAM picking up his pace

42: RAI dives inside BOT and forcefully steals P2

43: VET is just close enough to prevent HAM from pitting (if HAM pits he’ll come out behind VET)

44: Radio for HAM “38.8 last lap”; “How are they so close?”

45/56: HAM, RAI, BOT, VET, VER, OCO, SAI, PER, KVY, MAS, GRO, VAN, MAG, ERI, STR, HAR; retirements: ALO, RIC, WEH, HUL

46: Radio for RAI telling him to make turbo setting change for fuel management; RAI not impressed

47: ERI tagged MAG, spinning him just after VET lapped them

48: SAI attacking OCO but OCO keeps P6

49: VET f/lap 1:37.957
Incident involving MAG/ERI under investigation
SAI tries to find another gap; OCO still defending well
ERI given 5-second time penalty for hitting MAG

50/56: HAM, RAI, BOT, VET, VER, OCO, SAI, PER, KVY, MAS, GRO, VAN, STR, ERI, HAR, MAG
VET all over BOT’s tail

51: BOT dealing with some back markers; tries to defend from VET at the same time; VET makes a clean move to take P3
MAG pits
Now VER is right on BOT’s gearbox

52: VET f/lap 1:37.766
Radio for RAI – “VET is the car behind”
RAI lets his teammate through for P2
VER attacks – dives inside BOT
BOT defends but VER attacks again and this time takes P4

53: BOT pits from P5 – he’s got a big gap to OCO in P6

54: MAS has passed KVY for P9

55/56: HAM, VET, RAI, VER, BOT, OCO, SAI, PER, MAS, KVY, GRO, VAN, STR, HAR, ERI, MAG
VER closing on RAI but will he have time to attack the Ferrari?

56 = final lap: VET seems to be off the pace
RAI trying to defend but VER dives inside and steals P3 just yards from the line

HAM takes the chequered flag – Mercedes are Constructors’ Champions
VET P2
VER P3 but will Ferrari appeal that move?

Provisional result: HAM, VET, VER, RAI, BOT, OCO, SAI, PER, MAS, KVY; STR, VAN, HAR, GRO, ERI, MAG
DNF: ALO, RIC, WEH, HUL

Yup, VER’s pass is under investigation
He’s given a 5-second penalty for gaining an advantage 🙁
So that drops VER down to P4 (or P5??)

In the pre-podium room VER tells VET how he made that pass
But then RAI arrives and an official tells VER he’s been penalised

Only one penalty all race for running off track? Terrible decision by the stewards. Inconsistent. Or was that because Ferrari lost out?

I’m not disputing that VER had all 4 wheels off the track – the problem is that no-one had been penalised all weekend until a Ferrari is passed on the final lap.

2 Replies to “Grand Prix of America – Race”

  1. “Red Bull heavily criticised the decision to drop Max Verstappen off the podium at the United States Grand Prix for abusing track limits.” [BBC]

    Verstappen said the decision was “very weird” and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said it was “appalling”.
    Verstappen added: “Consistency is lacking and understanding racing. They do understand how to kill the sport.”

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