The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

GRAND PRIX : USA : Hamilton Gets Another

08-11-2014

report by Steve Lawson-Dickinson (@SteveF1_458)

 

The Circuit of the Americas, another track designed by Tilke Engineers & Architects.

The design is inspired from several European Formula 1 circuits, including a recreation of Silverstone’s Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence, Hockenheim’s Arena bends, and a replica of Istanbul’s Turn Eight. This estimated $300m. circuit is one of only a handful on the Formula One calendar to be run counter-clockwise, placing greater physical demands on the drivers. A fantastic feature of the circuit is a deliberate widening of corners, creating 3 or 4 different lines available to the drivers and in turn making it very difficult to defend.

If a Ferrari-powered car had won the USA Grand Prix it would have been the first Ferrari turbo win since the 1988 Italian Grand Prix. Of course, not surprisingly that didn’t happen. Ferrari are clearly sighted on next year’s championship and at this race they debuted a totally new rear wing assembly which will serve as a starting point for the solution on next year’s car; a similar design was introduced by Red Bull earlier this year in Malaysia.

Mercedes again dominated the front row of the grid. Hamilton had been quickest in all the pre qualifying sessions, but with a few minor set up changes Rosberg clinched pole.

From the start Rosberg controlled the race with ease all the way through to the first pit stops. He stopped on Lap 15 with Hamilton following one lap later. But the second stint was a different story. Taking some front wing out during the stop, Hamilton steadily hunted Rosberg down, taking almost 2s off him in a few laps. Rosberg was taken by surprise at Turn 12 on lap 24 when Hamilton came from a long way back and dived down the inside to take the lead. It was just a matter of controlling the race from there for Hamilton. He opened up the gap and maintained it to the chequered flag.

It’s good to note that there were several fierce midfield scraps which raged over the closing stages of the Grand Prix, no doubt assisted by the tracks excellent widened corners.

Nico Rosberg revealed post race that he made an error deploying his car’s hybrid power, he apparently used the wrong switch, opening the door for Hamilton to take the lead . Before this race, Rosberg has made three significant mistakes under pressure from Hamilton this year — in the Canadian, Italian and Russian Grands Prix.
Lewis Hamilton has now extended his world championship lead to 24 points, six years to the day since he secured his first drivers’ title in Brazil. Lewis has won 5 in a row now. No British driver has ever won six F1 Grands Prix in a row, or celebrated 11 victories in a single season. Hamilton, who has already overtaken 1992 champion Nigel Mansell as Britain’s most successful driver in terms of 32 race wins, can do both at Brazil.

No Grand Prix goes without its share of rumour and controversy one way or on other, and there were plenty here.

There is still no confirmed news on Fernando Alonso’s future. Ferrari have not yet officially announced that Alonso is leaving, nor their signing of world champion Sebastian Vettel as his replacement. Some are reporting the deal is all but done with McLaren, with Alonso set to sign a two year deal with an option on his side for a third, at the expense of Jenson Button.

Publicly Alonso is saying he has not signed with McLaren for next season and remains undecided about his future in Formula One. The two-time world champion is still “considering what’s the best decision” for his career and “nothing has been decided” so far even though he already has “an idea” of what he wants to do. As previously reported, it appears certain that Alonso’s contract with Ferrari ends at the end of year, as revealed by Ferrari’s former president Luca Di Montezemolo to Italian TV last month.

Unfortunately neither the Marussia or Caterham F1 teams were at the USA GP. Both went into administration last month. Lotus, Force India and Sauber threatened to boycott the US Grand Prix in protest at the sport’s lopsided revenue distribution model and were rudely derided by Mr Ecclestone.

Ferrari receive more than anyone, apparently receiving 5 percent of the sport’s revenues on top of their usual share of the prize fund, just for being Ferrari. Red Bull are also given favourable terms.

Bernie Ecclestone gave certain teams significantly enhanced financial packages several years ago to encourage them to leave teams’ group FOTA, which was seemingly getting too powerful for the F1 chief’s liking. Donald MacKenzie, co-chairman of F1’s largest shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, has apparently phoned Lotus boss Gerard Lopez this week and promised to address the concerns to avoid boycotts threatened for the finale GP at Abu Dhabi. CVC Capital Partners, is rumoured to possibly pay the smaller teams £100 million in an attempt to prevent more of them from collapsing and ward off further “strike” action.

MacKenzie has apparently said he would do this irrespective of Bernie Ecclestone’s position. He is of course co-chairman and co-founder of CVC Capital Partners, which itself is the main shareholder of the group of companies that own F1’s commercial rights. Essentially Bernie is an employee of MacKenzie to run the sport.

With two races to go, reflecting on this year’s races with Hamilton so far winning 10 races to Rosberg’s 4, I have my view who is no doubt the deserved champion this year.

The second-last race of the season in Brazil will not decide the championship, but it does provide an opportunity for Lewis Hamilton to extend his lead or for Nico Rosberg to grab some momentum heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi. Either way, it should be exciting.

I cannot agree on the notion of double points for the last race. Hamilton’s view is “It is what it is, there’s no point in getting upset about it. It’s just about being positive. I’ve driven the best I’ve ever driven this year.” He probably has.

As for Rosberg reflecting on the result of the USA GP post race, his comment was “it sucks”. Point taken.