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The US Grand Prix was the weekend Lewis Hamilton needed to recalibrate and take a serious charge at defending his world championship since he entered the weekend in Austin 33 points behind his teammate, Nico Rosberg. Did Lewis have an answer? He certainly did.

The 2015 world champ was quick all weekend and set the fastest lap ever around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) as he took pole position on Saturday afternoon. Red Bull tried a split strategy to keep Mercedes honest but they stubbed their own toe and let the Mercs finish 1, 2 with Lewis taking the win and Nico finishing second followed by a strategy-spoiled Daniel Ricciardo in a Red Bull.

WinWin

The big win has to be Mercedes who looked to have fallen prey to Red Bull’s split strategy and a quick drive from Daniel Ricciardo and his teammate Max Verstappen. While the Red Bull strategy got spoiled by Verstappen’s stopped car and the subsequent Virtual Safety Car (VSC) and this handed the 1, 2 finish to Mercedes. Not that Merc didn’t do their homework, they had a re-calibrated strategy to cover the Bulls and did so.

A win for Lewis Hamilton who needed the top step if he has any chance of trying to win the title but he needs misfortune from Nico Rosberg and that’s the second win as the German retained 2nd and he can do that for the last three races and win the title. It’s Lewis’s first win since Germany earlier this year and his 50th GP win which puts him in rare air indeed.

A win for Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who has been bleeding outright pace all summer long due to an old Ferrari engine but he managed to qualify well and then raced even better tussling with another Spaniard in the form of Fernando Alonso to finished 6th provisionally given that Alonso has a possible penalty for his clash with Williams driver Felipe Massa. Sainz is arguably the driver of the day.

Felipe Massa needed a good day and got one to stay ahead of the sole Force India to claw back some points in the constructor’s championship.

A win for McLaren who didn’t qualify well and said the track didn’t favor their car but they did manage a 5th place for Alonso (provisionally) and a 9th place for Jenson Button.

Equally, a win for Haas F1 to score the final point in 10th as Romain Grosjean manhandled his car to a points finish for the home crowd.

It seems like it was a win for the folks at COTA and US F1 fans in general with a good turnout at the Austin venue. I haven’t seen the attendance numbers but it looked good to me.

FailFail

A fail for Ferrari who seemed to have a tough weekend trailing the Red Bulls and having a tough race with Kimi Raikkonen being released with a loose wheel and Sebastian Vettel having a difficult car to manage to 4th place thanks for Red Bull’s DNF for Verstappen.

It’ll be a fail for Red Bull who had a split strategy to take the fight to Mercedes and looked like they may actually be in the hunt until Max Verstappen had car trouble, prompted the VSC and consequentially spoiled his teammate’s race dropping him back to third from second.

A fail for Daniil Kvyat who had an early collision with Sergio Perez and couldn’t match his teammate’s performance to get into the points.

A fail for Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg who both collided at the start and it left Nico out of the race and Bottas back in 16th.

WTHWTH

A WTH for Venus Williams for snubbing Martin Brundle on the grid walk…whatever Venus.

A WTH for Ferrari’s unsafe release leaving Kimi to roll back down the hill and in to the pit lane and out of the race. What a junior move for such a veteran team.

A WTH to NBC for leaving the USGP to go to NASCAR leaving us hanging on the post-race commentary and insight.

A WTH for Lindsay Vonn who looked like a high school girl following Lewis around in full smitten mode. The broadcasters had her talking about the weekend and I was wondering what she has to do with F1 and why I care what she thinks about the race and qualifying.

You could argue a WTH for Alonso who punted Massa and will most likely experience a penalty. As a veteran, he got a little carried away with his new-found speed at COTA.

A bit of a WTH moment for Renault who had drivers fighting to stay ahead of each other and I was wondering if they didn’t throw away a chance to get a point.

usgp-result-2016

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • jakobusvdl

    That was an intriguing race, an easy win for Hamilton at the front, but behind that it was all on. You missed Verstappens premature pitstop from WTH, along with RBR shooting themselves in the foot when Verstappens car placement and lock up brought on the VSC that dropped Ricciardo to third. I wept for Ferrari when the pitstop error took Kimi out, and for Williams, I was expecting Bottas to have a great recovery drive after the first corner clash, but nothing doing there.
    I loved seeing Alonso fighting his way up to 5th, I thought the touch with Massa was a racing incident, but we’ve seen similar incidents punished and worse things accepted so we’ll find out what the stewards rule. And two McLaren’s in the top 10!
    Lots of other fun stuff through the field, and everyone obviously loves being in Austin.
    One thing, please end the room of discomfort! Or at least get Ricky Gervais in there to take advantage of all that awkwardness.

    • Zachary Noepe

      I think what has ruined the post race driver’s room is the microphones. You werent previously able to make out their words. The mics have improved, the drivers know it, no more interaction.

      • jakobusvdl

        Good point Zachery, but even without words the body language generally speaks volumes.

  • Zachary Noepe

    Austin looked full and studded with stars, at least dim ones, its great to see it hanging in there and getting the weather it deserves. Do Lindsey Vonn and Lewis know what size each other is, have they only seen each other on tv?

    I would add a fail for drivers swearing so much and outside moments of passion. I’m not sensitive, it’s just juvenile and stupid.

    • jakobusvdl

      Another fail for too many microphones? They probably been swearing away for years, but we didn’t get to hear it.

      • Zachary Noepe

        You’re probably right.

    • Meine Postma

      That could be a cultural thing, we in Europe (well in my country anyway) learned our speaking english from USA movies, in which they swear a lot, so we tend to copy that.

      But upon reflecting that: we use swear-words a lot in our spoken language which is not censored in our TV-broacasts. If you want to swear, curse or use foul language you can do that on TV.

  • T-Batwoman

    O/T: Ricciardo needs to lose the shoe bit, it was funny the first time, now it’s just frackin disgusting.

    • jakobusvdl

      I doubt its going away, I’m expecting Red Bull to start marketing a ‘Shoey Blend’ What did you reckon to his Texan accent, ma’am?

      • T-Batwoman

        I love Daniel Ric, he has such a great personality, I love it when he clowns around, just not the sweaty shoe ;)

    • longshot

      I’m pretty sure he’d been handed the can of Red Bull by his team to give to Gerard Butler – at this point I think they’ve taken what was originally a spontaneous celebration & are now using it as a PR exercise.

      I think they should save it for when he wins races, and even then it should be up to him.

  • The Captain

    I want to give a win for the T-Rex and the quality entertainment they provided all weekend. Also the pic of the autograph Gerard Butler gave to Ricciardo on his shoe.

    • longshot

      The driver of the day award is a joke anyway, they should get rid of it.

  • Paul KieferJr

    For those of you scoring at home, the total was 269,889 in attendance throughout the three days.

  • Paul KieferJr

    I give a fail to the stewards: No penalty regarding Alonso vs. Massa. They claim 50/50. They’ve got to be kidding. I saw the same incident that they did. It seems to me that Alonso did give Massa a bump on his front left wheel which forced him off the track. How can this be 50/50?

    • longshot

      I think they also saw it as a tight corner, and Massa closed in to crowd Alonso. These cars can’t turn on a dime – contact was inevitable.

  • Dr T

    Two things

    Five-live (not wanting to overly promote them) caught Lindsay Vonn… whoever she is for non-US non-winter olympic people – she’d been out 10 pin bowling with Lewis… and she lost (probably on purpose) but her friend one…
    Apologies for listening to 5-L Todd… just waiting for the 4th placed podcast to come out Monday night US time…

    MV’s car not entirely his fault. Something froze up in it after stopping and the neutral button on the wheel and on the car failed, so they couldn’t wheel it back hence the VSC…

    • Zachary Noepe

      Are you referring to the Lewis Hamilton fancast by BBC?

      • jakobusvdl

        LOL, describes it exactly. Thank goodness SKY F1 are backing off from their worst excesses of Lewis worship, but 5LF1 is completely over the top with their theme of, “will the unworthly German steal the championship away from the blessed (but unlucky) British Lewis, did we mention that Lewis is a BRITISH triple world champion?”

  • Zachary Noepe

    Surely the most exciting F1 news this week must have been the resigning of Daniil Kvyat, which leaves the well regarded Pierre Gasly without a ride and, much more shocking, leaves Daniil Kvyat with one. Red Bull and TR are infamous for tossing anyone who doesn’t look like next year’s champion over without ceremony and yet they continue to play Twister with themselves to accomodate Dani.

    I know this podcast is generous and has a soft spot for him (I myself am married to an unpredictable Russian who drives super fast, so I know how enchanting they can be) but it was another red letter weekend of bashing innocents and taking penalties for the driver who’s earning only one rightful place in F1 – heir apparent to Pastor Maldonado’s legacy. One shudders to imagine what transpired between Helmut Marko and Vlad Putin to make this happen, but I bet Bernie was in for a cut of whatever it was.

    • jakobusvdl

      Are Red Bull trying to break into the Russian market?

  • Doug

    I did think the Alonso move on Massa was over the top, he pushed him clear off the racing line, worst was when he passed Sainz he had all 4 wheels off track and definitely gained an advantage, FIA penalized Renalt for the same thing.WTF

    • Zachary Noepe

      I tend to agree but i kind of understand his motivation. when you race something slow and find yourself carrying momentum up on someone, sometimes you just gotta carry that momentum no matter what.

  • charlie white

    In defense of Venus Williams, she probably had no idea who is Martin Brundle. There are so many media people holding microphones wrapped in broadcast channel logo flags. She might had stopped if Martin were holding a mic with the NBC logo. Rumor has it Lindsey and Lewis are a couple now while he’s dating Venus but that changes with every race. I simply hate NBC’s handling of every F1 race but they hit a new low when we missed our own National Anthem and the great flyover by US Army combat helicopters.
    Based on Twitter responses, it was awesome!