Grand Prix of America – Race

There are all sorts of stats that people are bringing up (e.g. every race at COTA has been won from the front row) but there’s no guarantee HAM will win the race and/or the drivers’ championship …. but it should be a great race!

Provisional grid: HAM, VET*, RAI, BOT, RIC, OCO, HUL, GRO, LEC, PER, SAI, MAG, GAS*, HAR*, VER*, ALO, SIR, STR, ERI, VAN
*VET has a 3 grid spot penalty; GAS and HAR are dropped to the very back because of engine changes; VER drops to 18th after a five-place penalty for a gearbox change [F1]

Grid: HAM, RAI, BOT, RIC, VET, OCO, HUL, GRO, LEC, PER, SAI, MAG, ALO, SIR, STR, ERI, VAN, VER, GAS, HAR

Christian Horner asked what he’d do if he was in charge of Ferrari today: Get Kimi to put Lewis in the fence 🙂

It’s warmer than Qualifying: air 20°C; track 28°C; humidity 41%
Pirelli have increased the minimum tyre pressures, which seems to be causing some concern

Mechanics clear the grid
Puff of smoke from a Force India
HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
Will RAI get off the line quicker on his ultrasofts? He can make HAM’s life quick difficult

That was a long hold for the lights
01/56: HAM defends but RAI leads into Turn 1
Contact between
VET takes P4 from RIC; RIC fights back; contact; VET spins

02: RAI, HAM, BOT, RIC, HUL SAI, OCO, PER, VER, MAG, SIR, HAR, VAN, VET
LEC pits, as does STR, GRO, ALO
ALO still in the pits

03: RAI fastest lap 1:40.368
DRS enabled
Race control: First lap incidents under investigation (I guess too many for them to list)
GRO pits again

04: HAM f/lap 1:40.302
Replay of collision between ALO and STR
VER already up to P7!

05/56: RAI, HAM, BOT, RIC, HUL, SAI, VER, OCO, PER, VET, MAG, SIR, HAR, VAN, ERI, GAS, LEC, STR; retirements: GRO, ALO
HAM closing on RAI
Radio from RAI asking the team to check his rear tyres

06: RAI f/lap 1:40.126
Drive-through penalty for STR for causing the collision with ALO
STR pits; serves his penalty; rejoins P18

07: Lap 1 incident involving GRO and LEC will be investigated after the race
VET takes P8 from OCO

09: Incident involving RIC and VET – no further action
RIC has parked off the track, at the exit of Turn 11

10/56: RAI, HAM, BOT, VER, HUL, SAI, VET, OCO, PER, MAG, SIR, HAR, VAN, ERI, GAS, LEC, STR
VET past SAI for P6

11: Virtual Safety Car deployed
SIR pits; so do VAN, GAS
Radio for HAM telling him to do the opposite of RAI if they’re still under VSC as they approach the pit entrance

12: RAI tries a little dummy but doesn’t pit
HAM pits; soft tyres go on; rejoins P3
VSC ends
Radio for RAI telling him HAM is probably 2-stopping (sure?)

13: Radio for BOT giving him the gap to HAM; “don’t hold him up”

14: HAM f/lap 1:38.860
HAM easily past his teammate for P2
VET past HUL for P5

15/56: RAI, HAM, BOT, VER, VET, HUL, SAI, OCO, PER, MAG, HAR, ERI, SIR, VAN, GAS, LEC, STR; retirements: RIC, GRO, ALO
Radio from PER asking the team to tell OCO to let him take P8

17: HAM closing on RAI again; gap is under 1.5sec

18: SAI under investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on lap 1

19: HAM under 1sec from RAI, so he gets DRS too

20/56: RAI, HAM, BOT, VER, VET, HUL, SAI, OCO, PER, MAG, HAR, ERI, SIR, VAN, GAS, LEC, STR

21: HAM still within DRS range of RAI
SAI given 5-sec penalty for leaving the track on lap 1
HAM alongside RAI – that’s risky

22: RAI pits, freeing up HAM; softs go on; rejoins P5, behind VET
I’m surprised Ferrari pitted RAI – I would have thought they’d have kept him in from of HAM until his tyres explode!

23: VER pits from P3; supersofts go on (he started on softs); rejoins P5
OCO pits too

24: BOT pits from P2; softs go on; rejoins P5
RAI f/lap 1:38.856
RAI closing on VET – will Ferrari tell VET to let RAI through or tell RAI to back off?
VET lets RAI take P2

25/56: HAM, RAI, VET, VER, BOT, SAI, PER, MAG, HUL, HAR, ERI, SIR, OCO, VAN, GAS, LEC, STR
SAI pits

26: RAI f/lap 1:38.742
Radio from VET – “my rears are done”
PER pits
VER takes P3 from VET

27: VET pits from P4; softs go on; rejoins P5
Replay of VET’s stop – right rear was a bit slow coming off
Presumably Ferrari still believe HAM will have to pit again and VET will go to the end

28 = half distance
Sky commentators say VAN has been given a black+white flag (“your driving is under scrutiny”) for exceeding track limits in Turn 19

29: VET f/lap 1:38.715

30/56: HAM, RAI, VER, BOT, VET, MAG, HUL, SAI, OCO, ERI, SIR, VAN, PER, GAS, HAR, LEC, STR; retirements: RIC, GRO, ALO

32: VET f/lap 1:38.575
HAM runs very wide in T19

33: Radio for LEC – “we will retire the car; box”
LEC pits; parks the Sauber in the garage
HAM’s lap times are dropping off; he’ll probably stop soon but he has no supersofts left so will ultras last long enough?

34: HAM slower again; hopefully it is a tyre problem (i.e. they can change tyres) and not something more serious

35/56: HAM, RAI, VER, BOT, VET, HUL, SAI, OCO, MAG, PER, VAN, GAS, HAR, ERI, SIR, STR; retirements: LEC, RIC, GRO, ALO
VET f/lap 1:38.462

36: VET f/lap 1:38.445 (HAM was 1:41.247)
Radio from HAM talking about his rear tyres graining

37: Mercedes mechanics bringing soft tyres to the box

38: HAM pits from P1; rejoins P4, behind BOT and about 3sec ahead of VET

40/56: HAM f/lap 1:37.702
BOT lets HAM take P3

41: HAM f/lap 1:37.392

42: VET closing on BOT as HAM closes on VER

43: Radio for VET telling him they see blisters on BOT’s tyres

44: It’s 113 races since RAI lost won one
Radio for RAI telling him “he (HAM, presumably) will catch you with 3 laps left”

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

46: RAI and VER have both set personal best lap times, and yet HAM is still quicker

47: 3.6sec cover the top 3 – RAI +1.9s to VER +1.6sec to HAM

48: RAI laps STR; the Canadian stays out of the way for VER and HAM

50/56: VET has wound up his engine; he’s closing on BOT

51: HAM now within DRS range of VER

52: RAI +1.06sec VER +1.1s HAM
Radio for VER telling him HAM does not have DRS

53: HAM is close enough now; he does have DRS to attack VER

54: VER 1.2sec back from RAI but HAM still under 1s off the Red Bull
VER runs wide; HAM attacks; VER defends; HAM cuts back; VER fighting hard but fair; HAM on the marbles and loses grip

55/56: RAI, VER, HAM, BOT, VET, HUL, SAI, OCO, MAG, PER, HAR, ERI, VAN, GAS, SIR, STR
VET attacks; BOT runs wide; VET inside to take P4

56 = final lap: The gaps are big enough that the fights are over for the top five

RAI takes the chequered flag – first time since Australia 2013

Provisional result: RAI, VER, HAM, VET, BOT, HUL, SAI, OCO, MAG, PER; HAR, ERI, VAN, GAS, SIR, STR
DNF: LEC, RIC, GRO, ALO

Interviews
RAI: wow, more than 3 words! Still not demonstrating much excitement though
VER: “good start, good first lap”
HAM: “not sure how the strategy ended up like that”; “very happy we got a top 3”
VER has worn through his right race shoe!
FIA photog joking with VER that he’ll be allowed to stay in the cooldown room this year (last year he was penalised and lost his podium position)

VET: blah blah RIC’s fault for lap 1 contact (wrong!)
BOT: “one stop (strategy) didn’t work; the last stint was too long”

Breaking news – OCO (finished P8) is under investigation for exceeding fuel flow in lap 1

Next race is Mexico next weekend.

5 Replies to “Grand Prix of America – Race”

  1. “Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen have both been disqualified” [pitpass.com]
    “The Frenchman, who finished eighth, was disqualified for exceeding the fuel mass flow during lap 1, a breach of Article 5.1.4 of the technical regulations.”
    “Magnussen, who finished ninth, behind Ocon, was disqualified for another fuel infringement, in this case consuming more than the allowed 105kg of fuel over the course of the race.”
    “The disqualifications promote Sergio Perez to eighth, Brendon Hartley to ninth and Marcus Ericsson to tenth.”

  2. “Romain Grosjean has received a three-place grid penalty for Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix after hitting Charles Leclerc and is now two penalty points from an automatic one-race ban.” [autosport.com]
    “He will lose one of his penalty points on the Monday after the Mexican GP, which puts him on a tightrope for the entirety of the upcoming event.”

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