Grand Prix of the United States – Race


The circuit is a little overcast but it’s warming up and there’s no rain forecast for the race. There was a little drizzle at the very end of qualifying but it didn’t really affect the session.

Provisional grid after Quali: VER, HAM, PER, BOT*, LEC, SAI, RIC, NOR, GAS, TSU, OCO, VET*, GIO, ALO*, RUS*, STR, LAT, RAI, SCH, MAZ
*BOT will drop to P9; VET, ALO and RUS will drop to P18, 19 and 20 respectively

The top 10 will all start the race on the same tyres they used in Q2, which means they’ll all be on medium compound tyres except SAI on softs

The green light comes on so drivers can leave the pit lane; they’ll do a practice start and head to the grid
Grid: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, SAI, RIC, NOR, GAS, BOT, TSU, OCO, GIO, STR, LAT, RAI, SCH, MAZ, VET, ALO, RUS

Air temperature 27°C; track 36°C; it’s still warming up
Radio from PER reporting an issue with his drink – “If it doesn’t stop leaking, I will have to change my balaclava”
GAS seems to have an issue – the AlphaTauri mechanics are crowded around his car, trying to hide the problem from the cameras, but they’ve fired up the engine so maybe they’ve fixed it – apparently it was a sensor issue

Christian Horner says he’s told his drivers to get through Turn 1 and then “get stuck in” … hmmmm, or did he tell PER to give HAM a nudge?

VER leads everyone away on the formation lap
GAS seems to be going ok

01/56: HAM gets a good start
VER pushes HAM off track as they head to Turn 1
HAM runs wide, making VER go off-track in T1
VER rejoins P2, ahead of PER

02: HAM, VER, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, NOR, TSU, BOT, GAS, GIO, RAI, OCO, RUS, VET, ALO, STR, SCH, LAT, MAZ
Close battle between RIC, SAI and NOR

03: DRS enabled
VER is under 1sec behind, so he’ll have DRS to attack HAM

04: Replay of the start shows LAT tagged STR and spun him
OCO pits; new front wing; switches to hard tyres

05/56: HAM, VER, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, NOR, TSU, GAS, BOT, GIO, RAI, VET, ALO, STR, SCH, LAT, MAZ, OCO
HAM f/lap 1:41.071

06: Radio for VER for exceeding track limits in Turn 19
LAT pits; new front wing and hard tyres

07: RUS has made it up to P13
Radio from HAM, “He’s quicker than me”
ALO closing up on VET

08: ALO pits from P15; hard tyres; rejoins P17
Radio from VER, “He’s sliding a lot”

10/56: HAM, VER, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, NOR, TSU…
TSU pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins P14
RUS pits too

11: VER pits; hard tyres; rejoins P5

12: RIC pits, as does SAI

13: PER pits; used mediums go on;
VER f/lap 1:40.426
LEC pits

14: HAM pits; looked like a quick entry but VER passes while HAM takes on hard tyres; rejoins P2
VER f/lap 1:40.1

15/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, BOT, RIC, SAI, NOR, VET, STR
GAS is slowing; reports a suspension problem
Radio for BOT, “Strat 4 – everything you’ve got”

16: BOT pits; rejoins P11
GAS pits; retires
RAI and ALO going elbow to elbow through Turn 1
Radio from ALO complaining RAI passed him while off track

18: HAM over 6sec behind VER

19: BOT takes P9 from STR… and then STR pits

20/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, NOR, TSU, BOT, RAI, GIO, ALO, RUS, VET, STR, LAT, OCO, SCH, MAZ; out: GAS
BOT steals P8 from TSU
VER laps MAZ (P19)

21: ALO brakes way too late, dives inside RAI, runs well off track, passes GIO – surely he’ll have to give that back

23: Radio for ALO telling him he has to give the place (P11) back to GIO

25/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, NOR, BOT, TSU, RAI, GIO, ALO, RUS, VET, STR, LAT, OCO, SCH, MAZ
ALO has another go at passing GIO, pushes him a bit wide

26: Radio for GIO telling him to give P11 to ALO
That squabbling has allowed RUS and VET to catch GIO
VET around the outside of RUS for P13

27: HAM under 3sec behind VER; when will they make their second stop?
VET trying to pry P12 from GIO

28: Virtual Safety Car deployed while a marshal picked up some debris
Radio from PER reporting his drink system’s not working

30/56: VER pits; new hard tyres; rejoins P3
Radio for HAM, “Target plus six”
SAI pits; rear-right was slow going on; rejoins P8
VER passes PER for P2

31: HAM f/lap 1:40.081
PER pits; hards go on
RIC pits from P4, followed by teammate NOR

32: HAM, VER, LEC, PER, BOT, RIC, SAI, NOR, TSU, RAI

33: LEC pits; rejoins P4, just ahead of BOT who has yet to stop
PER f/lap 1:39.566

34: HAM laps TSU (P11)

35/56: HAM, VER, PER, LEC, BOT, RIC, SAI, NOR, VET, STR, TSU, RAI, ALO, GIO, RUS, SCH, LAT, OCO, MAZ; out: GAS
BOT pits; rejoins P7

36: VER is taking about 0.5sec out of HAM’s lead each lap, so hopefully Mercedes will pit soon

38: HAM pits; new hard tyres; clean stop; rejoins P2

39: ALO closing on RAI again

40/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, BOT, NOR, TSU, RAI, ALO, GIO, VET, STR, RUS, LAT, OCO, SCH, MAZ; out: GAS
Everyone has made their second stop

41: VER and HAM both post personal fastest laps
SAI closing on RIC

42: HAM f/lap 1:38.485
Radio for OCO telling him they need to retire the car
Black and white flag for RAI for not letting VER pass him soon enough

43: BOT catching the RIC/SAI battle
RIC squeezes SAI

45/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, BOT, NOR, TSU, RAI, GIO, VET, ALO, STR, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ; out: OCO, GAS

46: HAM under 3sec behind VER

47: BOT close enough to look for a gap to pass SAI

49: HAM continues to close on VER; gap is now under 2sec
Black and white flag for STR for exceeding track limits

50/56: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, SAI, BOT, NOR, TSU, RAI, GIO, VET, ALO, STR, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ

51: ALO pits, retires the Alpine
VET takes P11 from GIO

53: VER is holding his lead at about 1.8sec
RAI loses the tail, slides off and across the gravel; brief yellow flag as he returns to the track

54: BOT filling SAI’s mirrors but can’t find a gap

55/56: Gap is 1.1sec
VER picks up his pace again; gap over 1.5sec
VER closing to lap SCH

56 = final lap: BOT past SAI for P6

VER takes the chequered flag
HAM under 1sec behind

Interviews:
VER: “We lost out in the start so had to try to do something else. Tyre wear is high around the track so we did go aggressive. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. The last few laps were fun, a bit sideways through the high-speed corners, but I’m super happy to hang on.”
HAM: “It was such a tough race. Got a good start and gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day they had the upper hand this weekend.”
PER: “Since lap one I ran out of water so could not drink at all. By the middle of the second stint it was starting to get difficult, I was losing strength. It was my toughest race physically.”

Provisional result: VER, HAM, PER, LEC, RIC, BOT, SAI, NOR, TSU, VET; GIO, STR, RAI, RUS, LAT, SCH, MAZ
DNF: ALO, OCO, GAS
Fastest lap: HAM (1:38.485)

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]