After a three week hiatus Formula 1 returned to our screens in the lone star state of Texas for the American Grand Prix. The driver’s championship was still the talk of the town with either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg on track for the win.
Marussia and Caterham Out
The weekend was slightly marred by the difficult news that both Marussia and Caterham shall no longer be competing this season, both teams having been forced into administration. Talk around the paddock was all about money in the sport, whether it is shared out fairly and what could be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
With only 18 cars on the grid instead of 22 the race did seem lacking without the other four cars on the circuit.
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) October 28, 2014
Rosberg began from pole, Hamilton close on his heels. There was never really a doubt that a Mercedes car would win in Texas, bets most likely on Hamilton as he has previously won at the track.
Both the Mercedes cars had great starts, leading away from the pack. Further down the grid Force India’s Sergio Perez clipped the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, forcing the Mexican into the Sauber of Adrian Sutil whose excellent qualifying of tenth place was all for nothing as he was instantly retired.
Perez managed to limp back to the pits but his mangled car was forced to retire too, bringing the safety car out on track due to debris.
On lap four the safety car went back in and Rosberg did a good job to fend off Hamilton as he restarted the race.
Need for Speed
There were plenty of investigations for the stewards to get their teeth into, Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez and Jean Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso all given 5 second penalties for speeding behind the safety car. This was a particular shame for Maldonado as he sat in 8th position, his best of the season.
Some fantastic racing came from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams’ Valterri Bottas as the pair battled for fourth position on lap 17. After pitting Bottas was pushing for the overtake but Ricciardo defended well to hold on.
By lap 24 Hamilton had gained considerably on Rosberg and, using his DRS and slipstream, he pulled ahead to take the lead. Rosberg didn’t seem to defend as well as he might have done, a possible example that he wasn’t expecting the Brit to make a move.
There was some confusion at McLaren as Jenson Button was told to pit then told to continue on his lap as the team favoured Magnussen for the pit stop. On his next lap Button was brought in, asking on team radio of they were sure this time. With talk of Button being pushed out next season in favour of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso incidents like this surely don’t help the rumour mill.
Current world champion Sebastian Vettel had a shocking race for Red Bull. By lap 26 he had been passed by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and was talking via team radio about how much the car was struggling. His team-mate Ricciardo didn’t seem to share these problems though as he moved himself nicely into third.
Grosjean was having a strong race but on his final laps he struggled for grip and barely remained on the track. Vettel managed a strong 7th place finish with Alonso just ahead in 6th, the Spaniard behind the two Williams cars. Magnussen, Vergne and Maldonado rounded off the top ten with Button down in 12th.
Happy Hamilton is Best Brit
Hamilton sealed the win emphatically, Rosberg now having finished second ten times in one season, the only driver ever to achieve this in a single year. The Brit is now the most successful British Formula 1 driver in history.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 3, 2014
Next weekend Formula 1 moves to Brazil, usually the final race of the season. This time it is the penultimate one and Rosberg needs to win here to be in with a more comfortable shot of the title. Judging by the rest of the season another Hamilton win looks likely.