October 24, 2016

2016 US GP: Exciting track but yet another snooze fest

(Mark Thompson/Getty/RedBull Content Pool)

You could not watch Lewis Hamilton's pole lap on Saturday and not felt amazement at what F1 cars are capable of on a spectacular track like Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

The change of direction in the "esses",  the speed through that long right hans turn towards the end of the lap.

Incredible stuff.

And then there was the race.

A vague promise of Red Bull taking it to Mercedes evaporated fairly quickly.  And let's get real, the Germans are still just toying with the rest of the field,  anyone knocking at the door and they turn the PU up to 11.

Bye bye.

Hamilton did what he had to do, Rosberg did the least he had to do.   A hint at how safe Nico played it came lap one, turn one:  had he been interested in attacking, he would have pointed to the inside, like his teammate did to him in 2015.   He instead chose not to tangle with Hamilton and Ricciardo and went for the outside line.  It was the smart thing to do.

For his part, Hamilton drove, shall we say, a very Rosberg like race:  precise and error free, leading start to finish.
Interesting who Lewis "threw a Pirelli hat" at his teammate in pre race interviews when he happily told anyone who would listen (many) Rosberg had a lot of easy wins this season.
After this easy win, Lewis went on about how hard it was and how nervous he wasthat his engine might blow.


Despite his refusal to listen to team strategists and his ridiculous error of coming into the pits without the team telling him to, there was not much criticism for Verstappen. Shocking, right?    Later, Max blamed the team for telling him to stop the car in a place where it caused the Virtual Safety Car that destroyed the race and gave Hamilton certain victory.
It's not all bad for Max though,  he was voted "Driver of the Day" in an internet clicker poll...


Speaking of drivers of the day,  many chose Carlos Sainz but I would have to go with Fernando "Yee Haw"  Alonso.   When a two time world champion, who has not won a race in years and is racing with that dog of a team that is current day Mclaren Honda gets that excited about making a last lap pass for P5, he's the man.

That being said,  how he escaped any sanction for causing a collision (with Massa) and track limits, given recent decisions by the FIA Stewards is...inscrutable.

Can we not talk about Ferrari?   Thank you.

Now the gap is 26 points with 75 still to be awarded.  Mexico is this coming week end and the first "match point" for Rosberg: if Nico wins and Lewis does not score, there will not be enough points for the Briton to make up in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

If the reverse happened, Rosberg would go into the final two only one point ahead and then it would most likely be advantage Lewis.

Barring a DNF it's unlikely Rosberg will score less than two seconds and third place in the last three races. But not impossible, maybe Lewis is wishing his old friend Timo Glock were still racing!

I kid, I kid.

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