Formula Racing

US Grand Prix - The Race

Formula 1 in Austin - Texas is really History in the making – By Armaan Ebrahim

This is probably the best thing that happened for Formula 1 in 2012 and that is by having its GP in the beautiful little town of Austin. The Circuit was a combination of the American culture which is Big, Bold and Beautiful and a bit of what the Texans like - Raw Speed.

The most impressive part of the circuit was the S Curves which makes it look easy on TV, but really difficult to get the whole section right. When a track is very wide, it may give one the feeling that all corners are fairly simple. But that's surely not the case. In some parts you would need to use the full width and in the others you would need to use only 70 to 80% of the width. In addition, the flow and sequence is so important and if you do not find a good rhythm through the whole section, you may as well forget that lap. Many a time, one would enter the sequence either too quickly and get out of shape for the remaining corners which means losing momentum through the sequence and coming out of the bunch of fast and medium corners at least 10 km slower.

Qualifying seemed to be a foregone conclusion with the way Vettel dominated in practice and in Q1 and Q2. But lurking in the dark was Lewis Hamilton who seemed to relish the challenge and was all up for this circuit. He knew he had the power to back him in the fast corners and then excelled in what he does best, which is the braking zone. He has this unique ability to carry so much speed into the corner without compromising his exit too much and that is simply by having a supreme feel on the brake pedal and the confidence to take it in so deep.

When Vettel posted a time of 1.35.657, all thought it was over by a mile. But then came Hamilton with a 1.35.766 which put him on P2 for the race. This ensured that every enthusiast sat up late in the night to watch a classic duel in store between Vettel and Hamilton. Vettel had to show to Lewis that he was better than Alonso and Lewis had to prove that he was right in saying that Alonso was the better driver than Vettel and what better way of proving it by beating Vettel himself which then puts himself on par or even better than Alonso.

Webber came in for his customary 3rd place on the grid followed by Romain who did a fantastic job by out qualifying his team mate Kimi Raikonnen and winner of the ABU Dhabi GP. Michael was in top form coming in 6th followed by Massa, Hulkenberg and Alonso for the 7th to 9th place with Maldonado taking 10th. One has to mention the continuous good performances of Nico Hulkenberg from Force India who has been continuously outshining the more fancied and favored Paul Di Resta.

Alonso benefitted from the late grid penalty to Massa and that again set the tone for a top 3 finish from him. Question was how far ahead would Vettel finish to further extend his Championship lead. The race got off to a normal start. Webber could not capitalize on the cleaner surface being in P3. Without going into the normal pit stops and the change of a few positions in the midfield area, what I would like to focus on here is the attack mounted by Lewis on Vettel from half way through the race. If one were to watch this race closely, you could easily see that Lewis was in a world of his own and he was by far the better driver than Vettel.

It was so obvious that the Red Bull car of Vettel had so much more traction coming out of the slow and medium speed corners as compared to Lewis and anyone else on track. The level of grip and traction available to Vettel made driving so much easier for him as compared to the others who had to pull every single nerve out of their system and drive 11 tenths out of 10 to stay in the race. The way in which Lewis caught Vettel in every braking zone was not funny. But he could do nothing when it came to the exit of the corner as the Red Bull car would just pull 2 to 3 car lengths out of the corner for nothing. It was so visible that on one hand you could see that one car was doing everything right which was the Red Bull and on the other hand you could see a car that could not keep pace with the Red Bull out of the corners, but was being goaded and pushed to its limits by the driver and that was none other than LEWIS Hamilton in the Mclaren.

Finally the move on Vette l by Lewis. He got the DRS Zone perfectly and just buzzed past a puzzled Vettel. The World Champion was so startled that he had to come on to the Team Radio and talk to his engineer trying to figure out what happened. Not much mate. Just that you got buzzed by a driver who was in a different zone to you is all that I could say to myself. Vettel tried to counter attack strongly to salvage his reputation, but Lewis would have none of that and kept the gap over 1.2 seconds thus not giving Vettel a chance to get into the DRS Zone.

This drive of Lewis does take your memories back to the late Ayton Senna's last race for Mclaren when he won in a car that was not good enough to win the race. 30 seconds behind was Alonso who again put in a heart rendering drive to keep his Championship Title hopes alive by a whisker. Come what may in the last race, Alonso will surely be the People's Champion given the way he has driven this year with a car that has been nowhere as competitive as the Red Bull.

Germany GP

31st July 2016

  • Driver Team Time/Lag
  • Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30:44.200
  • Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing + 6.996s
  • Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing + 13.413s
  • Nico Rosberg Mercedes + 15.845s
  • Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 32.750s
  • Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari + 37.273s
  • Nico Hulkenberg Force India + 70.049
  • Jenson Button McLaren + 1 lap
  • Valtteri Bottas Williams + 1 lap
  • Sergio Perez Force India + 1 lap

Belgian GP

26th - 28thAug 2016

  • Practice 1 Fri 26th Aug 2016

  • Practice 2 Fri 26th Aug 2016

  • Practice 3 Sat 27th Aug 2016

  • Qualifying Sat 27th Aug 2016

  • Race Sun 28th Aug 2016

standings

Formula One World Championship 2016

  • Driver Points Team
  • Lewis Hamilton 217 Mercedes
  • Nico Rosberg 198 Mercedes
  • Daniel Ricciardo 133 Red Bull Racing
  • Kimi Räikkönen 122 Ferrari
  • Sebastian Vettel 120 Ferrari
  • Max Verstappen 115 Red Bull Racing
  • Valtteri Bottas 58 Williams Mercedes
  • Sergio Perez 48 Force India Mercedes
  • Felipe Massa 38 Williams Mercedes
  • Nico Hulkenberg 33 Force India Mercedes