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Austin Grand Prix Report


The second event to be held at the Circuit of the Americas saw the start of any running for the teams delayed as the track was hit by fog, disrupting the medical helicopter.

For most drivers that wouldn't be the biggest problem in the world as they will have extensively run the circuit in simulators beforehand and some have raced their before, but or one Mr. Kovalainen it was more of an issue due to his 'race rust' having not been behind the wheel competitively for just under a year.

After his performances across the weekend Heikki is apparently a surprise candidate for the remaining Lotus seat but we think he will be back in a Caterham next year if he does secure a seat.

It took him a litle while to get up to speed but he was consistent and produced a star performance in FP2 as he went 5th quickest.

The Red Bulls went into the weekend as the favourites again and set about confirming dring FP2 and FP3, although Alonso did top the time sheets in FP1. All of the momentum and pace Alonso had at the beginning of the year seems to have just disappeared, now is that down to the tyre change like Ferrari keep saying or does that mean all attention has been taken off of this years car to focus on a better package for next year?

McLaren have also announced that Kevin Magnussen will be driving for them, so is it the last time we will see Perez start a US grand prix? He has been outperforming  Button as of late, and those of you that know me at all will know how big a Jenson Button fan I am so I am likely to be biased, but I still believe that McLaren have got rid of the right driver based on the season as a whole. Button has conducted himself much better and been consistently quicker across every race, it can't all be judged on the last 3 or 4 races. Magnussen has had a lot of praise from a lot of different people so he does have some pressure on him to perform right from day one with the team, but if his track record in the FR.3.5 World Series by Renault is anything to go by he will be just fine and can hopefully help McLaren find the form they desperately need.

 

 

Qualifying

Continuing on from the last point about McLaren, qualifying just reinforced the fact that they need to see a rise in performances next season as Button could only manage 13th and Perez managing 7th. Althought Button did also have a 3 place grid drop to make matters even worse.

One of our favourite drivers, Nico Hulkenberg, yet again shone as he qualified in a brilliant 4th place, just ahead of a struggling Hamilton and behind an in form Grosjean-perhaps his team mate next season?

Red Bull were in a class of their own, easily securing a front row lock out by around 8 tenths of a second to anyone else. Webber nearly snatched pole away from his German team mate but with a blistering final sector Vettel found the tenth he needed to secure pole position.

Away from any action on the track the biggest story was perhaps coming from the Williams garage, with Maldonado accusing his team of tampering with his car.

 

 

 

Race

Austin gave us a great race last year, with Hamilton going toe to toe with Vettel to take victory away from him, but this year was unfortunately a bit more more of a procession after the first few laps. After the action into Turn 1, which saw Grosjean almost go around both Red Bulls and the contact down the long back straight that caused Sutil to retire, there wasn't really anything to keep you on the edge of your seat. Hopefully next year we will see a change and there will be much more wheel to wheel racing and less tyre conservation.

Hamilton did a great job of managing his tyres to stay ahead of Alonso and bring the car home in 4th, his team mate Rosberg had a couple of laps competing with Ricciardo for position eventually gaining the upper hand.

Hulkenberg drove well again to come away with 6th place, and with neither Force India securing points Sauber will be looking to keep their momentum going in the hope they can somehow pass Force India in the constructors wih more points in Brazil.

Our friend, Max Chilton, managed to finish another race, still keeping his 100% finish record this season. It has been a good rookie season for Max, using his intelligence to captitalise on chances when they appear to take home some good performances.

 

Unfortunately Austin didn't give us a huge amount to talk about so we will be hoping that Interlagos offers us a bit more, we will be posting our last report of the year next week so make sure to check back or even book yourself onto a session and experience the race with us in the centre.