Prixview – United States Grand Prix

Prixview Testing & Race Reports

Round twenty takes Formula One across the border to the Texan capital Austin for the United States Grand Prix. The US Grand Prix is the oldest Grand Prix outside of Europe having first been held in 1908.

Grand Prix racing would not really happen in the States until 1958, with the Indianapolis 500 becoming the de-facto US GP. The Indy 500 became a round of the Grand Prix season in the late 1920s, but all plans to rename the race failed. Indianapolis would also be the only world championship round outside Europe and North Africa in the 1950s.

The first world championship Grand Prix would be held in 1959, a year after the first race in thirty years was won by Chuck Daigh. The race was held a Sebring and was won by Bruce McLaren, followed nine years of British dominance. Lotus winning six out of nine races in the 1960s.

Over the following years, the race would move around the states, going to New York State and then Riverside in 1960. Watkins Glen became the home of the race, it became popular with drivers and fans. It was one of the season’s most popular events with the teams and drivers as well, receiving the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association award for the best organized and best staged Grand Prix.

1962 saw Jim Clark win in a Lotus; the next three races were won by fellow-Briton Graham Hill, each time in a BRM. Hill’s 1964 win was crucial to him as he carried a points advantage into the next and final race in Mexico. 1966 and 1967 saw Clark win. Both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships were clinched by Australian Jack Brabham and his Brabham team.

1970 saw Emerson Fittipaldi claim his first race, following the retirement of Jackie Stewart, an emotional win for Lotus following the death of world champion Jochen Rindt at Monza. Results saw the Austrian seal the drivers championship, the only posthumous champion.

Four years later, Fittipaldi finished fifth which won him his second Drivers’ Championship. The event was marred by yet another fatal accident. The young Austrian Helmut Koinigg crashed at the fast, long Outer Loop corner, the bend after the extended back straight on Lap 10.

Long Beach held the US West Grand Prix, following the demise of Watkins Glen the race struggled to find a home. Cities like Detroit, Phoenix brought a temporary home. Like many races on the streets of America between 1989-1991. In the eight years before there had been races in the US, but these were run by city or state names. The long-running saga of the New York Grand Prix has run for thirty years.

In 2000 after an eight-year hiatus the race returned to Indianapolis, which hosted its first world championship race since 1959.

Since 2012, Austin has been home to F1 on the circuit of the Americas. Austin takes in some of the best corners from around the world and requires high speed and downforce. Traces Istanbul, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Interlagos and The Red Bull Ring can all be seen.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are the most successful in Austin as they won six races in ten years, one at Indianapolis in 2007 and with McLaren in 2012 and he looks for a fifth back to back win in Austin. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen is the only other driver to win in Austin and America in the last decade.

Facts and figures

Round 19 of 21
Race Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix 2019
Venue Circuit of the Americas, Travis County, Austin, Texas
Circuit Length 5.513km (3.426mi)
Laps 56
Race Distance 308.405km (191.634mi)
Lap Record 01:37.392 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2018) (official)

01:32.237 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2018) (Qualifying)

Most wins drivers Lewis Hamilton (6)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (10)

Fast facts

  • Lewis Hamilton has been the most successful driver in the US winning five times in Austin, as well as Indianapolis. He wrapped his third world title up victory in 2015
  • No American has ever won the US GP since it has been a round of the World Championship. However, a total of six American drivers have won the United States Grand Prix, all except one when it was known as the American Grand Prize. Mario Andretti won the 1977 United States Grand Prix West
  • Austin was originally named Waterloo when the city was officially chosen as the new capital of the Republic of Texas. The name was changed to Austin in honour of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state.
  • Circuit of the Americas is one of only five anti-clockwise tracks on the current F1 calendar (the others are Baku, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil). It’s also one of the hilliest tracks, with a difference of 30.9 meters between the lowest and highest points.

How Lewis Hamilton wraps up the title

Lewis Hamilton needs eighth place or higher in Austin to wrap up the title. To keep his slim championship hopes alive Valtteri Bottas would need the win and fastest lap, with Hamilton ninth and cannot finish the race in any other position.

Event timetable

Session

Local

GMT

Friday

P1 11:00-12:30 16:00-17:30
P2 15:00-16:30 20:00-21:30

Saturday

P3 13:00-14:00 19:00-20:00
Qualifying 16:00-17:00 21:00-22:00

Sunday

Clocks go back one hour on Sunday in the US at 02:00 local time (07:00 GMT)

Race 13:10 19:10

What happened in 2018?

Lewis Hamilton took pole by six hundredths of a second over Sebastian Vettel, however, Vettel would start sixth following a red flag infringement in practice. Vettel’s penalty further dented his hopes of keeping his title hopes alive, but the German knows that he needs to be second if Hamilton win. Vettel’s penalty meant that Valtteri Bottas would join his teammate on the front row.

Austin provided one of the tensest races of the season as there were six cars all fighting for the win. Vettel’s drama-filled second half of the season continued, the German spun on the opening lap and dropped to the back. Meanwhile, Hamilton jumped past Kimi Raikkonen fending off the Ferrari.

Hamilton got ahead of Raikkonen during the first round of stops, however, lost out when the Finn came in from second. But then Hamilton was unable to rejoin in third and was released by his teammate Bottas to try and catch Verstappen.

It was another error from Vettel, arguably it was a must-win race for the German as he knew if Hamilton won he would need second, with various other results would also see the Englishman seal a fifth world title. But Vettel recovered through the field to fourth, that was enough to keep a very narrow chance of him sealing the title alive for now.

Kevin Magnussen was disqualified from the race, as his Haas car was found have exceeded the allowed fuel limit for the race, breaching Article 30.5 of the sporting regulations. The Dane’s exclusion from the final result means that Hartley gains his first points of the season, as well as Ericsson.

Race Result – 1) K. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 01:34:18.643, 2) M. Verstappen, Red Bull – Tag Heuer, +1.281, 3) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +2.342

What to watch for?

Austin is a similar race to Spa Monza where Ferrari was strong, but we have seen momentum shift away from Mercedes since the summer break. However, the question this weekend is do Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton play it safe to wrap up the title? This is a race where he is likely to do it.

Austin’s layout lends itself to great racing, through Maggots and Becketts as we saw a Silverstone, and in Mexico city. As on Sunday, we know the teams will be close and don’t underestimate Ferrari, Red Bull won’t be as good here because we are back at sea level.

Red Bull I think will want to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari, but will struggle I believe in the closing the top two out in qualifying. But never count Max Verstappen and Alex Albon out as we seen in recent races we know they are both good racers.

While the drivers and constructors are effectively settled for the top three, the focus shifts towards the McLaren Renault battle for fourth in the constructors. Recent races have seen McLaren come out on top, I don’t see that really changing with the performances we saw in Japan and Mexico.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:47.502 01:48.716 01:33.797 01:34.130 01:32.884 01:32.237 01:34:18.643 00:00.000

Diff

-10.072 -11.358 -2.969 -3.298 -4.476 -2.762 -04:06.035

2017

01:37.428 01:37.358 01:36.766 01:37.428 01:37.358 01:34.999 01:38:12.618 00:00.000

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 2 3 8
V. Bottas 1 4

8

S. Vettel

Ferrari 2 3 8
C. Leclerc 1 3

9

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 4 8
A. Albon 1 4

8

D. Riccardo

Renault 1 2 10
N. Hulkenberg 2 1

10

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 2 2 9
R. Grosjean 1 3

9

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 2 3 8
L. Norris 2 3

8

S. Perez

Racing Point –Mercedes 2 2 9
L. Stroll 2 2

9

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 3 9
A. Giovinazzi 2 2

9

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 3 9
P. Gasly 2 2

9

G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 2 2 9
R. Kubica 1 3

9

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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