United States Grand Prix Preview, Who will be the next Texan Cowboy?

GP USA F1/2016 – AUSTIN (TEXAS) 23/10/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Formula One is travelling to the United States and more specifically in Texas for the American Grand Prix which will be held in Austin.

Lewis Hamilton needs to score 16 more points than Sebastian Vettel in order to secure his fourth title in his Formula 1 career, considering Ferrari’s performance in the last races, it is not an unachievable target for the British driver.

Ferrari was not able to be competitive in Asia and now Lewis Hamilton has the upper hand in the drivers’ championship. Scuderia, must finish ahead of the two Mercedes if they want to stay in the game and go to Mexico, a track which suits Ferrari, with more confidence and hopes.

Austin entered Formula 1 in 2012, it is an anti-clockwise circuit which is contained by 20 corners.  The 5.5 kilometre track, designed by Hermann Tilke in collaboration with local architects, the layout of the circuit was inspired by other tracks.

Circuit of the Americas

Laps: 56

Circuit Length: 5.513 km

Race Length: 308.405 km

Lap Record: 1:39.347 (Sebastian Vettel – 2012)

Pirelli will provide three tyre compounds to the teams, Ultrasoft (purple), Supersoft (Red) and Soft (Yellow).

Lewis Hamilton is the only driver, on the grid, who have won more than once in COTA, Sebastian Vettel have won only one time in the American Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen’s best finish was second, whilst Daniel Ricciardo have finished two times on third place.

Brendon Hartley will make his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso, the New Zealander will replace Pierre Gasly, who will race for the Super Formula series in Japan.

Carlos Sainz will make his debut with Renault in COTA, the Spanish driver said:

“I’m very excited to joining the team and I hope to hit the ground running. We have some hard work ahead of us going into Austin with lots of things to learn and many people to meet. I’m going to give everything to be on the pace as soon as possible even though I know it can take a bit of time to adapt, but I’m confident we can do it. It’s key to have this immediate taste with Renault and get to know the people and the car. It’s a big challenge, but it motivates me. We have this last push for the season and I have to find where the limit of the car is, get used to the steering wheel, things like that. That’s the procedure and I will embrace the challenge. It’s good to see the people at Enstone putting the work in to get back to the top. They can be sure all the effort being put in is being matched on my side of things and I will be pushing flat out to help the team. Austin is one of my favourite tracks and I had one of my best races in Formula 1 there last year, finishing sixth. I can go there with confidence as I know how to go fast in Austin. I just need that adaptation to the car and the engineers. The first sector is special, it’s one of these modern tracks which is well designed, very fast with quick changes of direction and high G-forces. I love these sort of tracks and it’s a good opportunity for me to test the limit of the R.S.17.”

GP USA F1/2016 – AUSTIN (TEXAS) 20/10/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Red Bull Racing was competitive in the final races and they want to keep up the pace. The Bulls aiming for another podium, if Ricciardo finishes on the podium, it will Daniel’s 10th podium this season.

“Everyone knows I love the city of Austin but I also love the circuit. It’s certainly unique with the wide apexes, you can pass in more than three areas, it’s fast, it flows well and it’s definitely one of the best tracks on the calendar for overtaking.In the city there is so much to see, I like going to the well-known places like Pete’s Piano Bar but also some of the more local places for live music and food. I have done Barton Springs, visited a ranch and this year I’m doing Austin City limits, there’s so much to do and it’s all so good.Some people are asking if I have a beard plan for Austin this year, I haven’t thought that far ahead yet but I still feel my little beard in 2014 was my best, so I might just bring that one back.”

Watch Max Vertappen’s preview for the U.S. Grand Prix via Mobil 1 The Grid.

I am expecting to see a fast and strong Lewis Hamilton who will give everything for the pole-position and the chequered flag, the British feel comfortable in COTA and he wants to secure his fourth title as soon as possible.

Twitter * FP_Passion

Discipline is the Key to the Success

Marina Bay Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore.
Sunday 17 September 2017.
World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _R3I1034

Discipline is the key to the success, is what every athlete must have, even if we are talking about a team sport like football and basketball or even if we are talking about a one man show sport like tennis.

In Formula One if a driver is willing to win a world title must be able to control himself and his reactions, must be able to know when he must attack and when to hold off in order to secure his position and score points and must have the luck to his side.

A few days ago, in Singapore, Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap in the Saturday’s qualification session and took the pole-position, but the next day he ruined everything. Kimi Raikkonen had a good start, squeezed Max Verstappen they collided with Sebastian Vettel, who moved aggressively left, and a few seconds later, Raikkonen, tagged Alonso’s car, who retired a few laps later due to heavy damage on his McLaren.

Marina Bay Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore.
Saturday 16 September 2017.
World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _R3I9943

Four of the best drivers on the grid retired in the first meters of the race, Lewis Hamilton, as a smart and an experienced driver, took advantage of that incident, lead the race from the start to the end and won the Singapore GP. A victory which even Mercedes’ most ambition fan couldn’t imagine. Now Hamilton is enjoying his loneliness at the top of the drivers’ standings, 28 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

I am not willing to blame some of the three drivers (Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Vettel), but my question is why Vettel had to close Raikkonen and Verstappen instead of letting them go or even let them pass him and catch up later in the race. Here comes today’s key word, discipline. The German has won four world titles in his Formula One career, this year has the chance to win his fifth title, but decided to ruin everything in a few meters.

Let’s assume that Vettel couldn’t think clearly, not an easy thing to do especially under this conditions, Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene had to inform and advice his driver to take it easy, as it was a very good chance for Vettel to re-take the lead on the drivers’ championship and put some pressure on Hamilton for the following races. When Lewis took the lead of the race, Mercedes said to the Brit, through the team-radio, to deliver the car home in one piece, that is what Ferrari had to say to Vettel before the race.

Marina Bay Street Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore.
Sunday 17 September 2017.
World Copyright: Zak Mauger/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _X0W5640

Both Vettel and Arrivabene are on pressure now, Ferrari had/have the chance to return to trophies after nine years, but now the chances to achieve that is very low. Six races are remaining to complete this season, and most of these races suit more to Mercedes’ car set-up, that means that Ferrari must make the ‘break’ and Sebastian Vettel must win more than two races, hoping that at the same time Hamilton will finish third or even a lower position.

The next race will take place in Malaysia, Ferrari must win at least once in the two following races if they want to close the gap or even pass Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship. The ‘second’ drivers will play a crucial in this year’s title.

Victor Archakis

Twitter @FP_Passion

Mercedes 2017 Season So Far: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas closer than anyone predicted

For Mercedes, the hybrid era beginning in 2014 had meant unbridled success and Formula One domination which for three years had seen just eight non-Mercedes victories to the end of 2016.

For 2017, the aerodynamic regulations changed plenty about F1. The cars were lower, faster, wider. And Mercedes were no longer having it all their own way.

They’ve more than played their part in a season-long two-team battle with Ferrari that arguably rivals the McLaren-Ferrari duels of 1998-2000 and 2007-08.

Großer Preis von Australien 2017, Sonntag – Wolfgang Wilhelm – Mercedes AMG F1
Mercedes were given a warning by Ferrari in Australia

They were served notice at the Australian Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton was edged out by Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari despite the Silver Arrows claiming a familiar pole position. New recruit Valtteri Bottas was a close third.

Hamilton’s victory in China confirmed what the watching motorsport world hoped they knew: That 2017 was going to be a grand battle between two of Formula One’s living greats. Vettel was second while Bottas managed sixth after a chaotic race.

It was a second 2-3 in three races as Hamilton headed Bottas in Bahrain, while in Sochi Bottas took his first Grand Prix win as Hamilton toiled with handling issues all weekend.

Hamilton restored order at Mercedes to win well in Spain ahead of Vettel after earlier falling behind the German as Bottas first collided with Raikkonen and Verstappen before retiring with an engine failure.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Sunday 14 May 2017.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _ONZ6499
Vettel got his elbows out in Spain but Hamilton eventually took an important victory for Mercedes

Vettel’s consistency was a thorn in the Mercedes side, and at the Monaco Grand Prix he stretched his lead over Hamilton to 25 points. Bad luck in qualifying left Hamilton starting 13th and he did well to recover to seventh, while Bottas could manage only fourth behind the Ferraris and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The Canadian Grand Prix was a throwback to the good old days of 2014-16. Lewis Hamilton swept all before him to handsomely head teammate Valtteri Bottas, who in turn was well clear of Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

Bottas drover arguably his greatest race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but his drive to second having been a lap down was overshadowed by a controversial incident involving Hamilton and Vettel. Infuriated at what he perceived to be brake-testing, Vettel rammed Hamilton under the Safety Car.

Vettel would finish fourth after a stop-go penalty, which would have seemed severe had Hamilton not had to pit to replace a loose headrest. He would finish fifth.

Bottas took his second career win at the Austrian Grand Prix, holding off Vettel by the slimmest of margins in an impressive rearguard action while Hamilton recovered from eighth on the grid following a gearbox penalty to finish fourth.

Mercedes AMG F1 – Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 Hybrid celebrates at Formula One World Championship, Rd10, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday 15 July 2017.

At the British Grand Prix, everything went right for Hamilton as it so often does. He took his fourth straight win at Silverstone to head the charging Bottas, who went from ninth to second. HE was helped by both Ferraris suffering tyre failures, with Raikkonen third and Vettel only seventh.

Ferrari were back on song at the Hungarian Grand Prix just before the summer break and secured a 1-2 finish, while Bottas and Hamilton were third and fourth. Bottas had allowed Hamilton through to attack the Ferraris on the condition that should he not pass them, the Finn regained third. Hamilton honoured this agreement at the very end.

Three-time World Champion Hamilton has not bowled the calm Bottas as many had predicted at the start of the season. Bottas has outraced Hamilton five times from eleven starts and sits just 19 points behind the Brit and 33 behind Championship leader Vettel.

Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes have both drivers in title contention at the halfway stage of the season. They might have a difficult decision in the coming weeks.

Sebastian Vettel Verdict – FIA Right Not to Undermine Their Stewards

Happy Birthday, Sebastian Vettel.


It certainly will be one for him to celebrate, as on his 30th anniversary he avoided being hit with more sporting penalties following his rash clash with title rival Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Vettel was angered by what he saw to be a brake-test on lap 19 at the end of a Safety Car period, and ploughed into Hamilton.

While gesticulating wildly, he then ploughed into the side of his rival and sparked a mass debate over whether he is in fact mad, bad and dangerous to know.

For this, he received a 10-second stop/go penalty, costing him 30 seconds and almost certainly the race victory.

The FIA has noted Vettel’s sincerest apologies and his commitment to devoting time to educational courses over the next 12 months.

They have also warned that a repeat of this behaviour would immediately herald another tribunal, and most likely worse consequences.

In not punishing Vettel any further they have avoided turning themselves into a laughing stock across the wider motorsport world.

It would have sent a bad message out to the stewards to overrule them on something not as cut and dried as many would have you believe.

The debate about whether they awarded the right penalty will no doubt rage on through to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

No doubt partisans on both sides will claim it either to be the biggest injustice of human kind or that in fact it is a victory for the golden old days where “men were men”.

The issue of whether the stewards got the decision right or wrong is not easy to resolve.

The incident does set a bad example to younger drivers, but the fallout following the handbags should act as enough of a pointer to show that a driver must always stay in control.

While mindless and daft, it is difficult to believe Vettel would deliberately risk damaging his car and putting himself out of the race, even at 30mph. This was pointed out by of all people Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

Hamilton was right to be aggrieved, angry and upset at the outcome of the race and Vettel’s impromptu dodgems ride.

However, much of that stemmed mostly from his own dramas and had he not had to make an unscheduled pit-stop to replace a broken headrest, he’d have walked home.

It would have been wrong to punish Vettel based on others’, including Hamilton’s, misfortune.

Far more dangerous and indeed pivotal acts have been committed in the heat of F1 battle.

Michael Schumacher in 1994 cutting across Damon Hill’s Williams to after earlier contact with the wall at the title-deciding Australian Grand Prix to ensure that if he couldn’t finish, neither would Hill.

And then we have the infamous first corner of the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, where Ayrton Senna made sure that Alain Prost didn’t the corner ahead of his McLaren – whatever the cost.

Yes, Vettel’s silliness was under controlled conditions but that just adds to the stupidity of the incident, not the danger.

The FIA have rightly avoided changing the result of the football match because the referee awarded a free-kick instead of a penalty.

With the fall-out from this decision, the Austrian Grand Prix now has more needle than it already had.

Now, let’s get on with racing and watch this intriguing, absorbing title fight play out over the next twenty weeks.

Maybe we’ll all then have our (birthday) cake and eat it.

©2017 The Pitcrewonline