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F1 Reports 47

2012 United States Grand Prix report

Was this the rebirth of Formula 1 in the USA? Well, it’s early days, of course, and they always say that it’s the second year that tells you most: will the fans come back for more? From everything that was being said and heard after the race, there is every reason to believe they will. The whole weekend at the Circuit of the Americas was an emphatic success.

The great hope, of course, was for a memorable race, one which would capture the imagination of a crowd unfamiliar with this branch of motor sport. There were fears that Sebastian Vettel ­– on pole, of course ­– would stroll away to another easy victory, but Lewis Hamilton, robbed of victory in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago, was again bang on form in Austin. For 41 laps he stalked Vettel, sometimes closing, sometimes falling away, before making his move; thereafter they ran the final 15 laps together, rarely separated by more than a second, but Hamilton came away with his first victory since Monza.

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

Joining Lewis and Sebastian on the podium was – almost inevitably – Fernando Alonso, in the thick end of the points once again, but losing more ground to Vettel in the World Championship. With only one race to go, Fernando trails by 13 points: even if he wins in Brazil, third place will be enough to give Sebastian his hat trick of titles.

Ferrari have let Alonso down in 2012, no question about it. On Thursday, the day before official practice began, he talked through the weekend ahead: “Tomorrow the usual things – trying new parts for the car, doing long runs on both types of tyre… Saturday morning setting the spec of the car for the weekend, Saturday afternoon qualifying… then Sunday, the race – and 56 more qualifying laps…” All of which added up to, ‘As usual, the Ferrari won’t be quick enough, and I’ll have to drive the wheels off it again…’

From their first exploratory laps on Friday morning, the drivers raved about this new venue on the Grand Prix calendar. They savoured the elevation changes, the mix of fast and slow corners, and Hamilton reckoned the series of ultra-quick swerves, modelled on the Becketts complex at Silverstone, were better than the original. Lewis’s love of all things American is well known, of course, but his enthusiasm for the track, it seemed, was shared by all his fellows.

From what they had done with simulators, though, most reckoned that Austin, like so many others, would be ‘a Red Bull circuit’, and sure enough, it quickly began to look that way. Hamilton or Button might head the time sheets for a while, but as soon as Vettel took to the track it seemed that in no time his name would appear at the top of the list, with Mark Webber not far behind.

The development at Red Bull never flags. On Friday evening new front wings (for both cars) arrived at the circuit, and – of course – they worked well from the word go. Ferrari, by contrast, had all manner of new bits and pieces in Austin, Alonso’s car having a new floor and rear wing, while Massa’s remained unchanged. Result? In qualifying Felipe was ahead of Fernando…

While Vettel and Hamilton took the front row, with Webber next up, Alonso found himself down in ninth – which became eighth when Romain Grosjean was docked five places for a gearbox change. Problem was, this moved Fernando from the clean side of the grid to the dirty, and it was expected that on this very new track surface that would be a greater disadvantage than usual.

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

Hence Ferrari folk put a bit of lateral thinking to work, but as Stefano Domenicali said, “When you’re trying to win a World Championship – and you’re competing against a team like Red Bull – you have to consider all alternatives…” Thus, to gain an advantage, Ferrari decided to penalise itself…

How so? Well, as everyone knows, if you have to change a car’s gearbox, you incur a five-place penalty on the grid, right? And in fact you don’t actually have to change it – you simply have to break the FIA Seal on it. Thus they broke the seal on the gearbox of Massa’s car, which dropped it from sixth to 11th on the grid – and automatically promoted Alonso’s car from eighth to seventh, and – more importantly – from the dirty side to the clean.

It was hard on Felipe, of course, and many people didn’t like the fact that it was done at all, but that’s F1 in the 21st century, I’m afraid: you use whatever is available to you – and this was available because of a damn silly rule in the first place.

In point of fact, the so-called ‘dirty’ side of the track proved far less of a disadvantage at that start than had been anticipated – in the sense that there wasn’t a lot of traction to be found on either side. When the lights went out, Vettel duly led away, but Webber was able to get the jump on Hamilton, while Alonso did his usual number, somehow managing to thread his way through the traffic – and emerged from the first corner in fourth place.

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

In the early laps Vettel quickly extended his lead over Webber, but Hamilton was right with the second Red Bull, intent on finding a way by, which he duly did on lap six. Alonso, meantime, plainly didn’t have the pace to live with the first three, although he was secure in fourth, well clear of Hulkenberg, who had an impatient Räikkönen on his tail. Not until lap 13 did Kimi force by, and by then Fernando was 12 seconds up the road.

Lap 17: Webber pulled off, out for the day. For a few laps he had been complaining that he was without KERS, and he had suffered the team’s perennial problem: alternator failure. Is this a Renault problem, or the consequence of the ultra-tight ‘packaging’, which is Red Bull’s hallmark? Depends who you talk to…

The situation now was that Vettel led Hamilton by around three seconds, with Alonso third, but nowhere in the vicinity, more than 11 seconds back, and with Räikkönen closing in on him. On lap 20 both Hamilton and Alonso made what was to be their one and only tyre stop, switching from the medium Pirellis to the hard; next time around Vettel did the same.

The Circuit of the Americas being new to F1, it was hardly surprising that Pirelli chose to be conservative in its choice of compounds, but if the drivers well understand that, still they regretted that no softer compounds were available. As things stood, tyre wear was no problem, and a one-stop strategy was virtually guaranteed for all. Much of the early season ‘mystery’ has been removed from the tyre situation.

When Alonso rejoined the race after his pit stop, he found himself just ahead of Jenson Button, who had qualified outside the top 10, and thus chose to start the race on the hard Pirellis. These were still going strong, and while Alonso struggled to get his new tyres up to temperature, Jenson nipped by into fourth place.

The pattern of the race was now set. Vettel still led, but Hamilton was hard after him, and gradually whittled away at the gap until it was down to less than a second – which therefore meant, of course, that the Red Bull was now within DRS range.

Sometimes Lewis looked poised to pounce, only to drop back. “The first part of the lap is so quick that it’s very difficult to follow someone closely. The place where Sebastian really extended the gap was at the exit of turn nine – I was really struggling through there, and he was making up loads of time on me. The traffic, though, worked out well for me today – usually it seems to catch me out, but today I was lucky…”

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

On lap 42 the lead finally changed hands. Vettel claimed that at a crucial moment he was baulked by Karthikeyan’s HRT, which allowed Hamilton to get a run at him. Charlie Whiting said that, in his opinion, Narain had done nothing wrong – it was unfortunate, perhaps, but just one of those things. From his instant reaction on the radio, Seb didn’t see it that way, but there was nothing to be done: Lewis was past, and gone. Through to the end of the race the two cars would run in close company, still very evenly matched, but Hamilton was not to be denied.

At the line the gap was less than seven-tenths of a second – with Alonso, third, well over half a minute behind. “A particularly difficult weekend,” he said, “but an unexpected podium. We simply didn’t have the pace to match Red Bull and McLaren, so to lose only three points to Vettel is actually a nice present. Maybe our chance of winning the championship is not so big – maybe 25% – but deep down I feel it’s much more than that. There’s always the chance of rain in Interlagos, and maybe that’s my best hope…”

Fernando was, of course, fulsome in his praise for Massa, who selflessly gave up places on the grid in support of his team mate, and then went on to drive a very strong race to fourth place, ahead of Button, the somewhat disappointing Lotuses of Räikkönen and Grosjean, Hulkenberg’s Force India and the Williams pair, Maldonado and Senna.

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

Afterwards many were saying that this had been the best Grand Prix of the season, a complete success in every respect. The race day crowd was 117,000, a figure to make virtually every other F1 race organiser swoon. They sat in the glorious late autumn sun, and watched the three greatest drivers on earth – World Champions all – finish 1-2-3 in a race packed with interest from start to finish.

When the elation dies down, though, both Lewis Hamilton and McLaren will surely be reflecting on what they have lost. How can they not?

reports  2012 United States Grand Prix report

Add your comments

47 comments on 2012 United States Grand Prix report

  1. PeteH, 19 November 2012 08:33

    I was surprised to find out that this is the first time that those three have EVER been on the podium together in F1.

    Good to see proper hats being worn too.

  2. Pat Kenny, 19 November 2012 11:02

    Nigel is correct – is is the second and subsequent years that really indicate a succes (Perez at McLaren should be a huge boost).

    Great to see Mario Andretti so obviously enjoying himself on the poduim.

    Alonso seemed strangely off colour over the weekend – he was out performed by Massa, which doesn’t happen often (and when it does, it is not allowed to be reflected in the results). If Vettel wins the chamionship, much of the credit will inevitablty be given to Newey and his team. If Alonso wins, I think credit needs to be shared with whoever is in charge or ensuring reliability at Ferrari. If Red Bull and McLaren had the same levels of reliability Alonso would have dropped out of contention a couple of races ago.

  3. Cédric, 19 November 2012 11:16

    Raikkonen’s pass on Hulkenberg seemed pretty brave, clean and testimony to the skill of both drivers, surprised you didn’t comment on it more Nigel. Did anyone else?

  4. Ben G, 19 November 2012 12:09

    Good to see the stands so full.

  5. C C, 19 November 2012 12:49

    Wow, Tilke has not only designed a decent track for once (though Turkey is Ok), he’s actually been allowed to do it with gradient and in a country where they actually have an interest in motorsport. Parts of the track actually ‘flowed’. Wonders will never cease. Long may it continue at this venue, and i hope Bernie and CVC don;t bleed them dry so they have to shelve it in a couple of years.

    Great race, and great to see Hamilton and Vettel really pushing each other to the limit.

    Alonso will have to do a rain dance at Interlagos, though Vettel’s ‘short gearing / high downforce / pole to flag’ tactic may not work as well on that classic track. Problem is, there’s 6 cars that all have the potential to beat Alonso & Ferrari on raw pace. He needs a miracle, but they can happen at Interlagos.

  6. Michael Spitale, 19 November 2012 12:51

    Alonso has officially reached Schumacher selfishness levels in F1. For Nigel to call this “racing in the 21st century” is garbage. Find me another example in the past 13 years of a team making a driver take a grid penalty. If this had been Vettel doing this to Webber the outcry from the press and fans would have been defining. This guy has had a career of making drivers pull over, and even once having one wreck for him.
    The thing missed in this report is that with the title on the line Alonso got smoked by Massa in qualy and was slower than him most of the race.

    Great race at the front. McLaren is probably the fastest car over the season. However, it has let Hamilton down so many times.

  7. steve, 19 November 2012 13:07

    Ferrari did a good job with their use of the rules to give their championship hopeful a better start. What surprised me was that Red Bull didn’t then do the same thing, and put Alonso back on the dirt by taking a penalty for Webber. Perhaps that would have put him too close to the front?

    I’m not a Ferrari fan, or a Red Bull one either, but I do like seeing how teams can make the best of the rules.

    For my taste, bring back more open rules : V12/V8/V6, turbo or not, Gas turbines, maybe 2 strokes, diesel (ugh) anything goes and may the best engineer/driver combination win.

  8. Ray in Toronto Canada, 19 November 2012 13:53

    Further to my pre-race comments regarding Ferrari’s tactics in the “United States Grand Prix Notebook” forum here…:

    http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/opinion/united-states-grand-prix-notebook/)

    …Mr Whitmarsh has summed it up nicely”…unless we forget Fernando was with us – and it was not doing those things that meant that Fernando left us.”

    Shame that someone of Alonso’s talent has no sense of honor.

    Mr Roebuck – a huge supporter of Alonso – knows that that’s not how Gilles would have gone about it had he been beaten fairly and squarely by his team-mate in ALL 3 qualifying segments at Austin.

    Anything for ‘The World Championship’, I suppose. Eh?

    While Vettel and Hamilton crushed Webber and Button on Saturday respectively, Alonso needed Ferrari to ‘bail’ him out of a session in which he totally under-qualified the car vis-a-vis Massa. Yes, he got up to 4th – aided by “the tactic”, of course – and then inherited 3rd. But, to me, Massa was the greater Ferrari driver at this meeting.

    I do not think Alonso would be able to live with a team-mate like Hamilton or Vettel in the other car. And, can you imagine even someone like Raikkonen, Webber or Button putting up with that type of favouritism had they signed on for Ferrari for 2013 (as was rumoured at various stages this season)?

    No. I will NEVER consider Alonso one of “The Greats”. How can I given his appalling shenanigans over the years.

    Lastly, In the Abu Dhabi GP forums I mention that McLaren would go in decline without Hamilton.

    I stand by that 100 percent!

  9. John Saviano, 19 November 2012 14:30

    Damn good race. Good to see LH win for McLaren, before he foolishly departs for MB. Alonso, amazing to find himself on the podium, and FINALLY somebody catches up with and passes SV. He’ll probably be champion, but Newey certainly deserves the Constructor’s Trophy. RB’s ability to improve is astounding. Hopefully the very nice Texas circuit will last.

  10. George Allegrezza, 19 November 2012 16:15

    As an American I’m thrilled that the track and the event turned out to be a great success, and I’m also happy to hear that people in the industry and media thought it was a worthy venue as well. We haven’t always done F1 with the proper attention to detail that an event of this magnitude requires (Phoenix, cough) so hopefully we’ve begun to redeem ourselves.

    It’s also remarkable that so little public money was spent, compared not only to new racing venues in the less democratic parts of the world, but to other American sports as well. Take for an example Miami, were the taxpayers are on the hook for $500-600 million for a new baseball stadium for a perfectly horrible team that almost no one watches.

  11. Rich Ambroson, 19 November 2012 16:20

    People go on and on and ON about how Alonso lacks honor, yet many on this board (quite possibly not the same folks, I’m not sure) have a lot of good to say about Alan Jones. Yet he had team orders written into his contract with Williams, and blew multiple fuses when Reuteman ignored them.

    I don’t recall reading much retrospective negativity towards Jonesy for that…

    Curious…

  12. Henrik Sorensen, 19 November 2012 16:56

    I certainly don’t approve of Ferrari’s shenanigans, but as Nigel pointed out, it was “because of a damn silly rule in the first place”. Blame the FIA, not Ferrari or Alonso for making the most of it. Get rid of the gearbox penalty nonsense, and this sort of thing won’t happen.

    And don’t let this overshadow one of the best races of the year, and most emphatically one of the best new tracks we’ve seen in a very, very long time.

  13. john miller, 19 November 2012 17:04

    It was the “ono” race…

    Martin Whitmarsh looked at Hamilton’s blinding pace and went “ono”,

    Rosberg looked at Hamilton’s blinding pace and went “ono”.

    And Hamilton looked at Rosberg’s and Schumacher’s pace and went “ono”.

    Happy 2013 y’all…

  14. john miller, 19 November 2012 17:09

    Oh yes, as for Ferrari, well who can recollect Silverstone 1956 without a misty eye?

    So it was romantic that Peter Collins actually gave up the chance of a World Championship, but Massa giving up, well, nothing really, is a heinous crime?

    I’m no Ferrari fan, but please…

  15. dave cubbedge, 19 November 2012 17:28

    Great Tilke track – never thought I’d ever say that, but it is. I spent the weekend watching it on Speed TV and wishing I were there…. Hamilton’s pursuit of Vettel was a fine drive by both. Alonso – he’s already lost the title. The Ferrari is a truck and there’s no way Vettel loses it now.

    And there’s no way I belive for a second when Lewis says he still thinks he made the right decision. Unless he wins in Brazil, it’ll be the last for a long time for Lewis, my feeling…

  16. Michael Spitale, 19 November 2012 18:14

    Many have pulled the stuff Alonso has in racing. My problem with it is when other like Schumi are attacked for stepping on their teammate but Alonso is loved for it. Vettel would have been crushed for that move. Vettel took a new nose over Webber 2 years ago and people screamed murder for weeks. Imagine if he actually made Webber move for a race win only 9 races in like Alonso to Massa. or asked Webber to take a 5 gridder if he out qualied him. or worse of all… had his teammate wreck for him which we all know Alonso knew about as he is the smartest driver I have ever seen when it comes to where everyone else is on track etc.

    Nigel is by far my favorite writer ever in F1, but when he falls in love he puts on rose colored glasses for his favorites and nothing will change that..

  17. Bill, 19 November 2012 18:50

    “How can they not?”

    One party has always survived and found new drivers. The other party wants to be a rapper/driver. This was one good race for them but many have gone wrong.

    As for Ferrari: Dear Motorsport, or mister Montezemolo: care to explain why Ferrari cannot build a car capable of keeping up with the others, and hwy is Ferrari not capable of making updates that work? Its an ever bigger disgrace than Mercedes Benz GP. 2014 one Red Bull seat free, I wonder if Alonso fancies his chances there if its more of the same from Maranello next season

  18. Avinash, 19 November 2012 19:33

    Nice to see you do the race reports again Nigel……. there’s always a perspective and a completeness in your reports which I have come to appreciate…..Although this doesn’t take anything away from Ed or Damien…..Top stuff guys.

  19. zantimisfit66, 19 November 2012 19:48

    Good race. I liked the cowboy hats on the podium – I’ve heard they will wear national style dress on all the podiums from now on. So at Interlagos they’ll be wearing Pirelli thongs!

  20. Ray FK, 19 November 2012 20:19

    Not a bad circuit but they don’t build great ones anymore.My personal pet hate is ‘tarmac run-off blight’ which I feel takes away all the challange and fear from a corner.Why can’t we have a system where a 100mph corner equates to 10 feet of tarmac and then gravel;120mph corner,12 feet of tarmac then gravel;150mph corner,15 feet of tarmac then gravel and so on.I would also like to see a return to proper flat-out qualifying and then a Sunday morning warm-up where a driver could set his car up for RACING.They would also be allowed to start on any tyre they wish.Finally when the turbo engines return each driver should get 9 engines for the season but with no restrictions on power.LET THEM RIP!!!.This would place every driver in a conumdrum at all races,speed versus reliability.It would also do away with DRS.

  21. Adrián Lever, 19 November 2012 21:06

    WOW what a race! So happy for Lewis the shere joy on his face said it all . I was wondering when Sebastián was going to grow up but he was outdriven and beaten fair and square and was gracious in defeat. Good luck for the future Lewis

  22. Rafael, 19 November 2012 22:03

    This is great fun, the anti and pro Alonso discussions is as entertaining as the GP itself

    Ferrari is a great team with its known peculiarities, Alonso is the perfect No. 1 driver for them as Massa is their perfect No. 2; I guess no one can argue about that.

    Alonso got all the updates as normal for a No. 1 and found his Ferrari slower that the old spec Massa was driving, big embracement for him and the team; hopefully they will improve for Brazil and provide a great competition, in a week time we’ll have a deserving champion whomever he will be.

    Last but not least, I’ll be reading you all next week to follow on the anti and pro Alonso discussions.

    Food for thought for those discussions:

    Why on earth Hamilton could say he would favor Alonso if it comes his way last week end?, Why has he declared rating Alonso as the best all around he has competed with so far?; does he knows something we don’t?

    For sure I’ll be reading Alonso’s memories if he ever writes them as he kind of threatened after quitting McLaren in pretty bad terms with its management

  23. Ray In Toronto Canada, 20 November 2012 00:47

    Rich Ambroson and John Miller:

    Gentlemen, Alonso had grid positions manipulated. Not only did he disadvantage Massa, he also disadvantaged a Force India, a Williams and at least one Lotus.

    Surely it’s one thing to gain an advantage vs your “team-mate” but entirely another to manipulate grid positions and have Hulkenberg, Maldonado and Grosjean moved over to the unfavourable side of the road?

    Hamilton and Raikkonen had to live with it. Lewis lost P2 and Kimi lost P4 (having been over-taken by Alonso who would have had a hard time jumping him from P8 from the same side of the grid).

    Once you go down the road of manipulating grid positions, you’re going down a very slipery slope indeed. Then again, we’re talking about someone who “won” Singapore, 2008 when his Number 2 deliberately crash the car to bring a Safety Car out at a very opportune moment. So such unsavoury business is hardly new to Fernando.

    It’s shameless how Alonso goes about trying to win at *any* cost.

    He tried this with Hamilton at McLaren in 2007, as confirmed by Whitmarsh yeasterday. Good for them that they stood up against this type of chicanery…and good for Hamilton that he, basically, told Alonso to stuff it!

    Massa is a broken driver and will do anything to stay at Ferrari. But he was openly unhappy about it.

    Is it any wonder why Alonso will never partner the likes of Hamilton, Vettel, even Raikkonen or Button on equal footing?

    Nope!

    Those drivers would never put up with it and Alonso, as a result, would “score less points”.

    Pathetic!

  24. Ray In Toronto Canada, 20 November 2012 00:57

    CORRECTION/EDIT:

    I meant to type “…have Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Senna moved over to the unfavourable side…” in paragraph two of my post.

    Kind regards,

    Ray

  25. Bill, 20 November 2012 01:37

    Side note: why did Sebs radio rant over Karthikeyan gets mentioned, with race directors view added, but not Alonsos crying about Schumacher on saturday (and fia subsequent dismissal too)?

  26. DH, 20 November 2012 03:32

    Appreciate the many posts, esp. pointing out the standard that Red Bull is held to vs. Ferrari.

    Personally I like Felipe but he must wonder if he fell into some classical tragedy, now neutered and in the service of the man he once accused of costing him the championship. Coulthard recently said he wondered if FA et al would play dirty if the title chase came down to the last race. It would not surprise me if they asked Felipe to take out Seb, subtly or not. I hope he turns off his radio, wins the race, and says goodbye to that lot.

  27. John B, 20 November 2012 07:44

    What a refreshing change. Usually the most interesting thing about a new circuit is seeing what colour the seats are but we couldn’t tell this time as they were full of people! I hope Bernie noticed how much the drivers seemed to enjoy racing for real live paying spectators.
    Great stuff

  28. Andrew Scoley, 20 November 2012 11:39

    Getting a bit tired of the guy driving the best car ranting about someone trying their best in the worst car. Argh, that’s what all those huge run-off areas are for then, so the minnows can drive around without getting in the way of the front runners. You should always be nice to people when you’re on the way up because you are quite likely to meet them on the way down…
    So whilst all those at RBR complain like hell that they didn’t win because NK in the HRT got in the way, they don’t seem to be able to bring themselves to admit that without two safety cars in Abu Dhabi S Vettel wouldn’t have got anywhere near the front in that race. Ho hum.

    Trees. I’ve been trying to work out what it is about all these new circuits that makes them look so contrived. Some of the tracks are quite good, I think Istanbul is the best Tilke drome yet, and Texas is OK, but it is the complete apparent lack of using natural features, and hence the complete lack of trees which separates Spa, Monza, Montreal, Albert Park and so on from the modern track. And I think they are much poorer for that. And when it comes to corner count, you know, a few less might be better.

    I also thought the majority of the field displayed some pretty good racing nous, with the exception of one MS who again tried to put another competitor in the wall. Fortunately there wasn’t a wall there but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Still, one more opportunity left in Brazil so there’s still time.

  29. michael klausmeyer, 20 November 2012 12:19

    thanks nigel, you’re still best.

    there was something fresh about this gp…very well shown by a first class tv covering……somehow everything good about f1 suddenly showed off at the same time……..that hadn’t happened for the longest time…….. it sure was about time for that, too…….

  30. Hotdogger, 20 November 2012 14:09

    So silly of people to chastise Ferrari for this simple rule manipulation. Like as if every other team is so saintly in their ways..

  31. Ray in Toronto Canada, 20 November 2012 14:28

    When was the last time a team purposely penalised their lead car on the grid to move the other one up?

    When?

    Answer: Never!

    F1 isn’t “sanitary”. But, I suppose, some people will look the other way no matter how Alonso wins…Including via having the Number 2 car crashed purposely into a wall like they had Piquet Jr. do four years ago.

    If you love Alonso, then you’ll look the other way.

    Some of us here in Canada had Gilles as our boyhood hero. And, as a result, some of us have a sense of honor when it comes to motor racing.

    It’s very clear to me that Alonso can only win ‘The Championship’ if he has the calibre of teammate that Fisichella/ Piquet Jr were or Massa currently is.

    There’s no way he could possibly stomach a straight-up pairing with a Hamilton (already proven so; confirmed so by Martin Whitmarsh only a couple of days ago for all to read), a Vettel, a Raikkonen, a Button.

    As recently as two races ago Webber said he was going to go ‘Flat Out’ to win…and RBR didn’t/wouldn’t impose Orders on him whilst he still has the slimest of chances.

    Vettel has had no help from Webber this season. None. So, I wish him the best for Interlagos and I hope Alonso doesn’t win “The Championship”.

    Prost went up against Senna. Senna went up against Prost. Hamilton is willing to go up against anyone. Vettel is too.

    These are the guys who are the real ‘Greats’.

    Alonso can’t stomach a straight-up fight with another Ace.
    Shame, really.

  32. George Allegrezza, 20 November 2012 14:48

    Re: the comment on trees, I don’t disagree, but in fact Tilke did use natural features. That’s what this part of Texas looks like; trees are few and far between.

  33. Pat Kenny, 20 November 2012 16:08

    Rejoiner to Ray in Toronto.

    I always rated Fischella but am happy to accept that he did not show his true potential at Renault. It might be sour grapes on my part but I always wondered if he was given a fair chance, given the character at the centre of that team at the time. Is there a collective noun for conflicts of interest?

  34. Stephen Mallia, 20 November 2012 20:40

    Giving Massa the penalty to allow Alonso to move on the clean side of the grid, its the Italian way to do things. Maybe not an elegant move, but very witty.

  35. Ray in Toronto Canada, 20 November 2012 20:57

    Hello Stephen!

    Is that really “the Italian way”?

    Where does it all end?

    Will Ferrari configure Felipe’s car to qualify well up so that he can punt into Vettel at the first corner?

    What else?

    Let’s see:

    How about using one or both of the Toro Rossos to block Alonso in Q1 or Q2?

    A simple 5 place grid penalty for either Daniel or JEV…but with the nudge-nudge/wink-wink ‘agreement’ of a Red Bull seat in 2014.

    How “very witty”, eh?

    Where does it all end?

  36. Alwyn Keepence, 21 November 2012 07:55

    I agree with Ray of Toronto, Ferrari’s manipulation of the grid was wrong because of the impact on other teams. I’m disappointed in Massa for accepting it. After Ferrari pulling that stroke I don’t care who wins the Championship, but I’m glad that Alonso didn’t overtake Vettel in point score.
    It was the best race so far this year and the circuit proves that Herr Tilke can produce something worthwhile. The only thing that would have made it better would have been Webber on the podium. How come it is usually the number two RBR that fails?

  37. Paul, 21 November 2012 14:13

    A brilliant race; I was on the edge of my seat for the last hour with my pulse racing. Just the tonic that F1 needed. More please!

  38. A.S. Gilbert, 21 November 2012 14:33

    Austin was a genuine sucess, done with a bit of Texas flair too. Kudos to the COTAS group, all of them.
    Fun it atmo seemed, full chairs, happy waves to the camera. Mario clearly chuffed, good podium banter.
    Good race too, and a fine circuit, lots of speed, flow and overtaking potential.
    The Ferrari grid deal? Pretty grimy if used at Monaco, or Montreal, but with the whole she-bang on the line at this juncture, hardly a cheat.
    Not illegal either, just thin. Like pliable wings, ground effect skirts, bespoke rubber, double diffusers et al.
    Less rule book rather than more, except in safety matters has my vote. Unspoken ethic, another topic.
    Two horse race, but fully that, sprinting, chasing, feinting, then a well telegraphed set up and pass.
    Perfect for the novice fan, and planting F1 seed. Plenty of infield dicing too, and all the effort through the pack making F1 racing look Type-A difficult, worthy of respect.
    A romp into the distance from pole, would have dummied up the events potential, maybe fatally.
    Lewis was inspired, Vettel resistant but realistic and Alonso overachieved again. Write a lot of movies in America y’know, fond of valiant struggle resulting in triumph.
    Love to go, likely will, but getting tickets may not easy. How often can you say that about a new GP at a Tilke track ? ( Did just fine Hermann, passed the exam, shame about some of the assignments ! )
    Without doubt NASCAR must think about a race at COTAS, Indy Car too.
    This one is a keeper, and a template for how it can be done.

  39. Casper canul, 21 November 2012 15:09

    Go Lewis! Go Alonso!

  40. Alan, 21 November 2012 16:18

    Dear Nigel, interesting comment that – three greatest drivers in the world. Would like to know what criteria you use to make that decision as there are a number of drivers who are very highly rated in other arenas. Sebastian Loeb I would think may qualify for a high placing. Look forward to your ratings

  41. Richard Kirby, 21 November 2012 16:49

    The best thing about the race was the crowd – full grandstands wherever you looked, and to think people were wondering whether americans understand F1! Grands Prix should be held in places where people turn out to watch.

  42. Carlos Sanchez, 21 November 2012 17:31

    Wow! I’m just so happy to have been wrong!. I had (dis) regarded holding a GP in Texas as not one with a big chance for success and for god’s sake what a beautiful event it has turned out to be!.
    It’s been ages since we had not seen full stands at a GP and on a (for once) beautifully laid out circuit, all topped with Mr. Mario Andretti who’s a class act by himself and including genuine Texas flavor with cowboy hats and all, simply great, really. Congrats to all involved!. It seems that the market study agency really did their job this time… Bernie shall be proud, and we fans happy!
    On the other hand marring Formula One again is none other than Ferrari (at Indy in 2007 they where the ones who strongly opposed any track modification to enable the non Bridgestone shod teams, the vast majority, to hold a race) who with their unsporting greedy thirst to win at any cost without caring about the sport itself (out of which Ferrari profit and lives…) recur to such blatant tactics manipulating whatever they can to hold on to the possibility of winning, shame on you!. Needless to tarnish a superb driver like Alonso’s reputation, who also plays the game, and this is why I deem him arrogant in spite of all his prowess, and poor Massa the second driver once more, and then they wonder how come their second drivers get destroyed as racing ones and thus might not deliver when needed… Like the Americans would say, geees man! Too baaad Ferrari. That’s not the way to win, or loose, and Ferrari and F1 can only loose I’m afraid…

  43. Martin, 21 November 2012 19:00

    Was I dreaming or did we have quite a lot of really good overtaking, more than usual, without drivers tangling or being run off the circuit? Seemed that way to me, even the Williams managed it, just!! Did the headmaster give a good briefing on how everyone should behave in America?

  44. Frank Butcher, 21 November 2012 20:20

    Ah, “…within DRS range…” Who can tolerate this video game inspired, gimmicky device? When did F1 fans cease to be discriminating?

  45. A41202813@GMAIL.COM, 22 November 2012 04:19

    More, LEWIS, Pretty Please.

    Go, HAMILTON !

  46. Sam Simpson, 23 November 2012 06:02

    A great race, especially from turn 12. Mark’s dropout sounded more like engine failure. The major concern I have is next year. My experience was that over 1/3 of the fans were the local Texans, who had not a clue about F1. No understanding of qualifying, the teams, the drivers, the sponsors or where they raced. I hope they will return next year, but I fear they were just there for the novelty of the experience. Encouraging was the number of fans from south of the US border. I actually had a once in a lifetime experience in person, that being a pass for the lead.

  47. Wes, 12 December 2012 20:35

    Great race, great track, great vantage points and seating, great transportation to and from the track. The only complaint was the concessions were too few for the crowd size and seemed to be operationally disorganized. Also, the damn credit card machines seemed to fail all at once at every stand and more then once during the weekend. Meaning that it was cash only for periods of time. Also, when this happened half of the ATM’s seemed to fail as well. Lines at the ATM’s were 50 deep at times.
    Let’s hope that the 2nd year crowds are as large.
    I will be going back next year

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Nigel-Roebuck-2011

Nigel Roebuck

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