In a season that’s had it’s fair share of exciting racing, many thought the United States Grand Prix would be a yawn-inducing dead-rubber. In truth, it was anything but, with mixed tyre strategies and a mixed grid, helped along by a couple of SCs, the race was yet another highlight in Formula 1’s modern era.
Here’s who climbed the ladders and slid down the snakes:
Moving on up
▲ Max Verstappen made the predictable charge to the front after mechanical issues pre-race, but going wheel to wheel with Hamilton was Max at his aggressive best, and confirmed he has nothing to lose and is racing for himself for the rest of the season.
▲ Kimi Raikkonen took, what must have been, a thoroughly unexpected win. When most thought he was on the “wrong” tyres to start the race, his incredible run up the inside of turn 1 to get ahead of Hamilton proved otherwise. Although small, his slight hint toward the pitlane during the VSC indicated that he was at the height of his powers, and where he’d normally put up a fight before capitulating, he held on the win by the scruff of the neck. Bravo, Kimi.
▲ Nico Hulkenberg led the charge in “Group B” and with Sainz helped cement Renault in 4th place in the constructors’ championship. Another solid performance from the German, who is turning his season around and building moment before going head to head with his new teammate next season.
▼ Romain Grosjean left it too late to avoid trouble with Charles Leclerc, and his indiscretion brings himself to within two super licence points of being benched for a race. If he is banned, it’ll be the first time a driver was sidelined since the points system was introduced, ironically after Grosjean himself had to sit out a race following a number of reckless opening lap incidents.
▼ Renault’s power units again let down Daniel Ricciardo, who was surely on track for a podium if not the race win. Sure, Red Bull might be running the higher performing/less reliable engine spec (Renault, for instance, aren’t suffering these issues), but his failures are breaking viewer’s hearts and helps justify his decision to race elsewhere next season.
▼ Haas’s fuel management woes capped off a dreadful race for the US-owned team. Although Esteban Ocon was disqualified for a fuel flow issue on the opening lap, Magnussen’s excessive fuel usage (105.1kgs of the allowed 105kgs) was utterly manageable, avoidable and straight up humiliating in front of their home fans.