Prixview – United States Grand Prix

Prixview Testing & Race Reports

Round nineteen of the season sees Formula One head to the capital of the lone star state of Texas and Austin for the United States Grand Prix. The US GP is the oldest Grand Prix outside of Europe, this year marks the 110th year since the race was first held.

The idea for the US GP came about as a showcase for American talent on the island of Long Beach. Long Beach would hold the race three times before the war, but F1 and Grand Prix racing would return Long Beach in the 1970’s, however, plans for its reveal in recent years would fail.

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 1920’s, but all plans to rename the race failed. Indianapolis would also be the only world championship round outside Europe in the 1950’s.

The first world championship Grand Prix would be held on 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 1960’s.

America has also hosted other races, one of only two countries outside Europe to host more than one world championship race a year. Plans are currently being discussed for Miami to host a race from 2020. In the 1970’s the main US GP was referred to as the United States East Grand Prix, with the one in the west the US West GP.

After that, the name United States Grand Prix would be dropped, racing continued in the states with races in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Detroit keeping the race on the calendar until 1988. The saga of the New York race continues, the idea was to build a new circuit on the site of the 1910’s Long Beach circuit, that never happened. To this day the New Jersey race remained ‘postponed’

The race returned to Indianapolis in 2000, on a new road course built within the banking. 2001, the race took place less than three weeks after September 11, attacks in the US, and many teams and drivers featured special tributes to the USA on their cars and helmets.

Indianapolis was the scene of the most controversial race in the history of the sport, most teams withdrew because of problems with Michelin tyres led to seven teams withdrawing from the race after the formation lap. Only the three teams (six cars) with Bridgestone tires started the 2005 United States Grand Prix, and the event was considered a farce.

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 is the only other driver to win in Austin and America in the last decade.

Facts and figures

Race 2018 Formula 1 Pirelli United States Grand Prix
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 01:37.766 (Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 2017) (official)

01:33.108 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2017) (Qualifying)

Most wins drivers Lewis Hamilton (6)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (9)

Fast facts

  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver in America with six wins and four pole positions.

Event timetable

Session Local BST
P1 10:00-11:30 15:00-16:30
P2 14:00-15:30 20:00-21:30
P3 12:00-13:00 18:00-19:00
Qualifying  16:00-17:00 22:00-23:00
Race 13:10 19:10

What happened in 2017?

Lewis Hamilton looked very strong throughout the race despite Sebastian Vettel’s best attempts to try and pass the Mercedes. Hamilton’s win allowed him to open a sixty-six point lead going into Mexico. Ferrari tried to force Hamilton into a late stop, but Vettel had been under pressure from Verstappen.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen snatched third away from Kimi Raikkonen in a brilliant last lap move. However, as the chequered flag fell the stewards decided that the Dutchman had gone too wide and awarded him a five-second penalty, moving off gaining an unfair advantage when he made the move. That means Raikkonen was prompted to third with Verstappen finishing fourth.

What to watch for?

Austin is a circuit which should favour Mercedes, as it has elements of circuits where the silver arrows have been very strong. The circuit has good rhythm between long straights and fast corners, like Maggots and Becketts, Istanbul’s turn eight as well as elements of Interlagos and the Red Bull Ring. This should create high chances of overtaking, and action.

This circuit should favour Mercedes once again as they have been very strong here and Lewis Hamilton has just been in the zone. Hamilton’s attacking driving style really suits COTA as you need to be on the limit and attack the track through the high speed sections.

Hamilton knows that this weekend he can win the title, he goes into the race with the same margin over Vettel that he had after this race last year. He then went onto seal the title in Mexico, this championship I feel is all but over and it would take a major error for him to lose this title.

How Hamilton can win the title this weekend

  • If Hamilton wins in Austin, Vettel must finish second to take the title fight on to the Mexican GP
  • If Hamilton finishes second, Vettel must finish fourth
  • If Hamilton finishes third, Vettel must finish sixth
  • If Hamilton finishes fourth, Vettel must finish seventh
  • If Hamilton finishes fifth, Vettel must finish eighth
  • If Hamilton finishes sixth, Vettel must finish 10th
  • If Hamilton finishes seventh or lower, the title race goes on to Mexico City

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2017 01:36.335 01:34.668 01:34.478 01:34.822 01:33.437 01:34.822 01:33:50.991 01:37.766
Diff -1.093 -2.690 -2.288 -2.606 -3.921 -0.177 -:42.387 -2.121
2016 01:37.428 01:37.358 01:36.766 01:37.428 01:37.358 01:34.999 01:38:12.618 01:39.887

Data Profile



Team Ultrasoft Supersoft


L. Hamilton

Mercedes 7 3 3
V. Bottas 7 3


S. Vettel

Ferrari 8 3 2
K. Raikkonen 7 3


D. Ricciardo

Red Bull – Tag Heuer 6 4 3
M. Verstappen 6 4


S. Perez

Force India – Mercedes 9 2 2
E. Ocon 9 2


S. Sirotkin

Williams – Mercedes 9 2 2
L. Stroll 9 2


F. Alonso

McLaren – Renault 5 2 6
S. Vandoorne 5 3


P. Gasly

Toro Rosso –Honda 7 5 1
B. Hartley 7 4


R. Grosjean

Haas – Ferrari 8 4 1
K. Magnussen 8 3


N. Hulkenberg

Renault 8 3 2
C. Sainz 8 2


M. Ericsson

Sauber – Alfa Romeo 9 2 2
C. Leclerc 9 3



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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