F1 Winter Break
Hamilton Wins in Austin While The Title Battle Goes To The Wire
Posted By:   |  18 Nov 2012   |  11:44 pm GMT  |  361 comments

Lewis Hamilton continued his strong record in North America by winning an exciting race in Austin, Texas.

Although Red Bull clinched the Constructors’ Championship, the result forced the Drivers’ Championship battle to roll on to the final race of the season in Brazil, as Sebastian Vettel was beaten into second place while his title rival Fernando Alonso completed the podium, from seventh on the grid.

Losing the extra seven points a win would have given, the result sees Vettel increase his Championship lead over Alonso by just three points, to thirteen, whilst Red Bull have become the first Formula One team to win their first three Constructor’s Championships in consecutive years.

After a race long battle, played out in front of a crowd of 117,000 fans, Hamilton piled relentless pressure on Vettel and eventually made his way past on lap 42 to claim his fifth victory in North America. Vettel had lead the Grand Prix throughout but after losing time in Sector 1 on the decisive lap behind Narain Karthikeyan, he could not keep the McLaren driver behind in the long DRS zone. Although he came back at Hamilton in the final 14 laps, the German was unable to get close enough to attack him.

“When Seb was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance,” said Hamilton. “So I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy. Along the back-straight I went to the to the outside, but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the inside, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close.

“What made the difference today between Seb and me? I wanted it more, that’s what!

It had looked from an early stage that Alonso would secure the points required to take the fight to Brazil, as the Ferrari driver made his way from seventh to fourth at the first corner, no doubt aided by his ability to start from the clean side of the grid. This came about as a result of the gearbox penalty, which Ferrari forced on Felipe Massa. The Brazilian had out qualified Alonso, but by taking a five place grid drop it promoted Alonso to seventh and allowed him to start on the clean side of the race track.

This turned out to be a significant benefit as he was able to move up to fourth on the opening lap.

Alonso’s challenge was further strengthened when Mark Webber retired on lap seventeen with an alternator problem, from third position. This meant another three points for Alonso moving up from fourth to third.

This is Hamilton’s fifth Grand Prix win in North America and the fourth victory of 2012, making a total of twenty-one in his career. Amazingly, it is also the first time that these three champions have found themselves together on the podium.

All three drivers were candidates for Driver of the Day in their own individual ways. Leading up to the stops Hamilton closed to within half a second of the race lead, having a slim chance of a manoeuvre in the DRS zone. But Vettel responded well and built a three second gap prior to the tyre change. We have seen from Vettel during this final stage of the season that he tends to romp away in the opening laps, only to be caught slightly and then re-open that gap in the five laps leading to his stop. This way of drawing the second placed car in saves his tyres whilst ruining those of the car behind, allowing him to put the hammer down at the end of the tyre life and rebuild his lead.

But Vettel was unable to pull a sufficient lead and Hamilton showed McLaren’s long run pace from practice to set up an epic title decider next weekend.

Hamilton drove what his father Anthony described as his finest Grand Prix, using his experience to ensure he had a strong first sector and allow himself a chance in the DRS-zone. In what could be his last victory for McLaren he gave the Woking team a reminder of the speed they will be missing in 2013.

Alonso came through the field to minimise the points loss to his title rival, helped largely by a very good first corner. He struggled to match the pace of those ahead in the first phase of the race, but after the stops set a fastest lap which was only marginally beaten by the two ahead.

Behind the top three, Felipe Massa reacted to his forced penalty with great character and put in his strongest performance of the year thus far, making his way through a large group of cars from 11th during the first phase of the race, setting numerous fastest laps on the way to fourth and eventually finishing just six seconds behind Alonso.

He was followed home by Jenson Button, the Briton opting to start the race on the prime tyre from 12th on the grid and use a long first stint to bring himself back in to contention from his twelfth place start. This turned out to be the case and he was able to make use of his short run on the option tyre to find his way past the Lotus pairing. Had Button not dropped back in to a large group of cars at the beginning of the race he would have found himself with a fighting chance of a podium.

Kimi Raikkonen led home Romain Grosjean, the latter recovering from an early spin which forced an early stop due to a heavy flat-spot. They once again showed strong race pace and Raikkonen had an exhilarating battle with Button as the two ran side by side for much of a lap, before the Brit eventually took the position.

The top ten was completed by Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams pairing, headed by Pastor Maldonado. The trio had a very good race with Hulkenberg in particular running in fifth place during the early phases. The double points finish for Maldonado and Senna will be highly beneficial to their hopes of a race seat on 2013.

A notably strong drive came from Daniel Ricciardo, starting eighteenth and finishing in 12th. He ran as high as fifth during a very long first stint on the option tyre before his solitary stop.

At the other end of the spectrum is Mercedes. The Brackley based squad suffered their fifth consecutive race without scoring a point and were the only team forced in to making two stops solely down to tyre degradation.

Once he’s done celebrating this win, Hamilton will be aware that there is a huge job to do to make them competitive.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]

1. Hamilton McLaren 1h35:55.269
2. Vettel Red Bull + 0.675
3. Alonso Ferrari + 39.229
4. Massa Ferrari + 46.013
5. Button McLaren + 56.432
6. Raikkonen Lotus + 1:04.425
7. Grosjean Lotus + 1:10.313
8. Hulkenberg Force India + 1:13.792
9. Maldonado Williams + 1:14.525
10. Senna Williams + 1:15.133
11. Perez Sauber + 1:24.341
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:24.871
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:25.510
14. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
15. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
16. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
17. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
19. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia + 2 laps
21. De la Rosa HRT + 2 laps
22. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps

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Great race. But I really worry about all the journalistic attention on Hamilton.

Sorry guys, I'm interested in Alonso and Vettel. The rest, Kimi excluded, are pants!


Hey man, Hamilton drove a very good race hunting down Vettel and got him! What's wrong with you? Because he's not in the WDC hunt?, but if you recall Alonso mention he was watching Lewis for this year's WDC. Nando is more afraid of Lewis than Vettel. I would be too.

Tornillo Amarillo

Great race, Hamilton was extraordinary, he overtook both Red Bulls on track.

You can see it was very entertaining and that Vettel couldn't fight back, it was like he can drive from pole to flag but not recuperate, save exception.

It was said Austin was a Red Bull circuit... but McLaren wins!!!

Others: Maldonado was good in P9, Perez... so sorry for him going nowhere, and Hulkenberg is getting bigger and bigger.


Hamilton's car was possibly faster and Vettel did well to stay very close to him until the end, setting the fastest lap on the last lap.

People make a lot out of Redbull and how quick it is but lets not forget Mclaren is no slouch, they're frighteningly quick in fragments this season.


I think you are mistaken, Hamilton has been frighteningly quick this season.

Red Bull dominated all weekend and had pole position and fastest lap so McLaren winning the race was mostly to do with Lewis Hamilton and his raw talent, they are going to really miss him.


Just skip the parts about Hamilton, the race winner.

I'm not interested in Kimi, so I always skip those paragraphs. Yes, we all are interested in every bit of info about Alonso and Vettel, but we cannot ignore the race winner and arguably the driver of the day today.


Well just go to the Ferrari or Red Bull websites...







He won the race!


Yes, he did. But this is because he is racing for nothing! It's rather like comparing Matt Cardle and One Direction. Matt may win once in a while but he is still pants, One Direction are a 'happening' act.

Alonso and Vettel are fighting for the championship. What they do today has an effect on tomorrow.

Hamilton has the luxury of taking one day at a time. As does Karthikeyan, Kovalainen, Vergne and most of the rest of them!

Sorry, not getting at you personally, but for real F1 enthusiasts champions are vastly more important than winners.



You haven't got a clue, Lewis has been outstanding this year, the only reason yesterday wasn't one step closer to his second championship is because of the 'pants' McLaren team.

They have really let him down this year, be it strategy, pit stops or reliability.


It has nothing to do with the price of fish.

Hamilton is a true racer and the win means a

lot to him as it should, 10 points to him.


Even though I support Alonso, your statement is bizarre. Hamiton did exceptional job yesterday, won the race, overtook probably the fastest car.


Are you really comparing Hamilton to the drivers at the back of grid??!! WOW!! Guess what? If you actually thought about it, which you clearly didn't, Hamiltons win has implications on the championship, his win allowed Alonso to stay closer to Sebastian.


I might point out that without the reliability, and operational issues Hamilton would be right up there with the leaders possibly leading the championship. Vettel is very good, but without the Red Bull car he would be no different than any of the others as this season has proven. Alonso on the other hand has, despite the car, shown what a great driver he is. All the drivers concentrate one race at a time as it's only way the season can be managed. Hamilton this weekend has demonstrated yet again what he can do with a half decent car on durable tyres. Great pity McLaren messed up so many times this season.


So if Vettel and Alonso had both crashed out on the first lap, I guess you would have turned the tv off? You must be a 'real F1 enthusiast'...

A real F1 enthusiast, on the other hand, cares about all the cars and drivers, results, news, gossip etc. So please don't claim to speak on behalf of us.


Good grief, thats probably the worst analogy I've ever heard, they're both utterly useless.

And it's a race report, as a real F1 fan I want to know the full who, what, when, where and why? of a GP, not just the title challengers, who will no doubt get their separate articles outlining the title fight.


What a very narrow view of F1.

Real enthusiasts enjoy all of the battles up and down the field.

Real enthusiasts understand that there are very good drivers up and down the field who are limited in what they can do by the cars they have under them.


"..real F1 enthusiasts[/fans].." is fast becoming a candidate for an F1 equivalent of Godwin's Law.

The reason that major sporting events/codes are as big as they are is that they are a broad church - "real" fans have all sorts of interests and angles on the racing, which should be pretty obvious from the diversity of opinion and commentary on this site.

IMO James and his team do a very good job of catering to as many interests as possible.


This tosh from kp aside, it was great to see Hamilton overtake 2 Red Bulls! What might have been....

Great debut from Circuit of America!

Great driving between RAI and BUT!

Brilliant performance from Massa!

Well done to Ferrari for making a brave and sensible call with Massa's gearbox. Great use of the TEAM!


can't believe you are illustrating points with boy bands.

Hamilton is one of the best in the world, he drove a great race. Vettel was not happy to lose out today and you can be certain he was doing his utmost to make the win.


Seriously what are you talking about? You want the race report not to talk about the race winner and driver of the day? 'real F1 enthusiasts' ? lol.


We've had enough of this tedious strand now. No further comments will be allowed through - Mod.


Well done Lewis. Determined drive and glad you brought it home for the W.

My 4 and 6 year olds finally watched the whole race with me and now I may have to deal with two Lewis fans around here.


Lol my 9 year old is all about Alonso.


You know what they say about first impressions. They didn't fully understand the GP obviously. But they saw Lewis take the big tropy, asked me why he's on the higher step than everyone else, and it may have solidified Lewis in their minds as The Man.


Haha, the inverse of me then ... me as a Lewis fan, my 8 yr old is a total bandwagoner Vettel fan! 🙂


Sounds like our family's house when I was a kid. Dad was a mad Prost fan and I thought the son shone out of Senna's proverbial. Oh boy the arguments we used to have.....


Haha, nice scenario, made me smile 🙂


I thought the race would be processional, but that was spectacular, edge of the seat stuff! Based on that, COA has really stamped itself into the calendar.

Hamilton is at the top of his game right now; I did feel a little twinge of sadness as he and Vettel lapped Schumacher. I trust that his Mercedes move is right and good for him, and I know that suffering makes the success sweeter - I'm just hoping there won't be too much suffering before he's back at the front...

Best team has won the constructors - now it's set for Alonso to rightfully take the WDC. Bring on Brazil! 😀



I can only see alonso taking the title should vettel not finish & then he must

pass the other red bull,lewis plus one other top drive like rosberg or perhaps massa


Massa??? Massa would let him thru right away! And Rosberg won't be in that fight, safe to say. As for Webber, with the WCC won, I doubt that he would fight tooth 'n' nail for Vettel's sole benefit (though I suppose he probably has a contract bonus clause if either driver wins the WDC).


Superb driving up and down the field, resulting in a very entertaining Grand Prix. Looking forward to the DOTD vote - so many to choose from!


Is there though, really?! It's a slam dunk to me ... first Hamilton splits the Red Bulls in quali, which actually hands him a disadvantage, then he proceeds to pass both in the race, after long periods following closely where his tires should've shredded (e.g. many times thru the esses with reduced downforce), finally finishing near 40 sec's ahead of the 3rd car!

After Friday practice, I thought for sure that Red Bull was going to walk this, that it was going to be like Suzuka. Hamilton really wanted this win in the States, and he got it. A LOT of this win was down to him alone.


A fantastic race! Did Webber 'willingly' help Alonso?


Tin foil hats to your left.


surely your just stirring the pot


Yes! He broke his alternator, battery presure and gearbox by pressing the secret button located under his seat!

Are you serious?


What a fantastic circuit this turned out to be. So much for all those saying it wouldn't produce any overtaking - did anyone keep count how many passing moves there were?


Agree. Terrific ckt & race. Number of passing moves? Gosh, I dunno.

Tim (The Genuine Article)


Is rain on the cards next week? And the alternators must be a worry next week for red bull, this ain't over yet!


Yes, current forecasts are dry on Friday, a chance of thunderstorms on Saturday, and light rain on Sunday.


There must be something wrong at Ferrari with how they develop their car. Today, Massa was clearly faster than Alonso for the entire race, in a car that did not have the updates that Alonso had. Massa's car was just as fast as the Red Bull and the McLaren, yet Alonso was unable to keep up with the leading duo with his car. How can this be the case when we are talking about Ferrari?

All in all, it was an entertaining race. Vettel and Hamilton were very equally matched and it was exciting to see them battle it out. Button drove a very good race too, though helped with the tire strategy, while Kimi entertained us with some very nice overtakes (his move on Hülkenberg was awesome) and other battles.


Gary Anderson's article on BBC website is interesting in that he is highlighting the problem they have at the rear of the car and that is where the development focus has to be.

Not really sure why they chose the run the update on Alonso's car as it never really appeared to offer an improvement, James any suggestions as to why they ran it?


Looking for that little extra in quail, knowing the ALO can drive around any problems in the race. It didn't work in quali and he was fortunate to have an untroubled race once WEB was out.


Updates aren't guaranteed to work, as shown from mid-season's Ferrari.


+1 especially on Ferrari/Alonso.


It looks like Alonso lost his speed in the 2nd part of the championship. The race craft is still there, but he is just not as fast as he should be. Is it because of Grosjean's car flying over his head, his new girlfriend, or what?


“Is it because of Grosjean’s car flying over his head, his new girlfriend, or what?”

Haha...thats actually quite funny. I don’t think its got anything to with loss of pace or anything like that. It appears that Ferrari have put all their eggs in basket, all the updates have been plumbed onto Alonso’s car, while Massa has been running the more traditional spec, which has worked better on certain tracks. In the old days, a spare car would have been available. However, the pressing question is..why haven’t the updates worked? For how long are Ferrari going to tow the line of “wind tunnel correlation issues”? They better get that sorted soon, because I cant imagine LdM’s patience isn’t being tested.

Anyways, we have been saying for the last month that it would take a miracle for Fernando to win this year..and with one more race to go, he’s still in the hunt. 40% chance of rain this weekend at Interlagos, Fernando better be refining his rain dance!!..Judging by the way this season has gone...maybe there will one more twist?


"Felipe Massa had his strongest race of the year thus far"...arguably! I'd say his 2nd place in Suzuka was pretty strong or his 8th in Singapore.

Also, not the 1st time Vettel has been upset by Narain. Remember Malaysia when he gave Seb a puncture?


More like Seb drove into Narain only for lady Karma to gave him an instant reality check that there is no hollow car setting @ Malaysia GP


Seb gave himself that puncture.


Wayne, did you actually watch that race?


it was a petulant manoeuvre from Vettel, he does get like that from time to time. It cost him in that race and will do so again I am sure - great driver though.


I did, and it was Vettel's fault. He didn't have to chop Narain, but he did, and paid the price.


Yes, and I am far from the only person who thinks like this so there's no point making out that I am being remiss. There are plenty of pundits who have said that Vettel 'chopped across too early' are you suggesting that they did not watch the race either?


That's why the stewards penalized Narian


Nope, they gave Narian a penalty purely because he is a backmarker and the stewards think commercially at least as much as they do sportingly - never wanting to affect a title battle if they can help it.


Force of habit..


'Revenge of the Cucumber!' ~ in theatres soon.


🙂 🙂


I thought in his post race interview, Seb was going to mix his similies and say he was not as calm as a cucumber when getting stuck behind Narain


LOL thats funny


That's really funny


Glad for Hamilton, he deserved that one. First time he's won 4+ races in a season since 2008!

Ok, is it just me or did Vettel move dangerously when Hamilton passed him down the DRS straight? He moved FOUR times, first to the left, then jinked right, then back left, then right again. The cynic in me viewed that shudder move as an effort to alarm Hamilton, and get him to lift off and not be able to effect the pass. I'm glad it didn't work, but they came close to contact.

Yes, Vettel lost time to Karthikeyan, but it was in the section where it's the hardest for backmarkers to get out of the way, and Vettel had benefitted on more than a few laps before by coming onto the back of a backmarker just before the DRS detection zone, and so getting the use of the DRS as well as Hamilton.

As usual, Red Bull blow every perceived sin committed against them into the most egregious act committed by one human on another. It's more than a little tiresome.

Alonso with another crazy start. 13 pts is a lot to make up. Means he has to finish on the podium at least.

As for the race as a whole, it was GREAT! Lots of overtaking, all over the track, and cars were able to follow each other for long periods. Austin looks like a great place, the crowds were amazing, and it looked a great experience!

Stats to date


Wins: SV5,LH4,FA3,MW2,JB2,KR1,NR1,PM1




T5 Finishes (3+):



Pts Finishes (9+):



Longest podium streaks (2+):


Current podium streak: SV6,FA4,LH1

Longest T5 streaks (2+):




Current T5 streak:


Longest pts finish streaks (3+):




Current pts finish streak:



Retirements (not classified)(3+):


T8-DWC Race Finishes (after Rd 19):



I thought the tyre choice was ordinary. Better luck next year Pirelli.


Conservative, but it allowed the drivers to push to the limit to the end, which was refreshing



Ahhh! Finally we get to see the fastest drivers battling it out full throttle right to the end.

... And I for one LOVED it! 🙂


It was interesting to see how tyres completely opposite the normal "too soft" versions worked out. Because they were a bit too hard, everyone struggled to get them up to temperature and as a result of that, had to work around lack of grip (in addition to lack of grip from the track surface).

Strangely enough, that seemed to somehow allow the drivers to track other cars quite closely through the sweeping turns of sector 1. Several times I watched cars go into sector 1 around half a second apart and come out posting exactly the same sector times.

I don't think they intended it that way, but the weekend must have given Pirelli some interesting food for thought.


Tyre choice by Pirelli made this race. Watching a battle for the lead with the top two exchanging fastest laps was all the more exciting by knowing that the win would be decided by pure speed rather than tyre management. Its makes me question if these 'special tyres' are needed when we have DRS.


Oh hell yeah it was refreashing!

Tom Haythornthwaite

Are you sure that leaders can use DRS against backmarkers?


Yes, of course. If you're able to watch the race again, here are two examples of when Vettel got DRS off a backmarker:

Lap 32 behind a Marussia

Lap 33 behind Kovaleinen

... both times Vettel was already past the backmarker going into Turn 11 (the back straight), and both times Hamilton had no DRS from Vettel.


DRS, when enabled, can be used anytime you pass the activation zone within 1 second of any car in front. Regardless of race position.


Hamilton has driven brilliantly since Spa. As good as Red Bull and Vettel have been, Hamilton, with better reliability would have won 4 of the last 7 races. McLaren only have themselves to blame for not having a good look at the constructors title this year.


True, If Hamilton had a reliable car and a less chaotic team, and more backing from them, the WDC would have been his now. McLaren have really underperformed this year, cost Lewis the title and themselves the WCC

To the race: Great race, Hamilton overtook both(!) RedBulls on track, wonder if that happened before this season?

IMO Massa drove a truly great race, too from 11th to 4th, always looking faster than Alonso.

Tornillo Amarillo

T5 is the key, also next year!

Great stuff in your comment-.


great summary, I think we've all been surprised by the track, including the drivers. Button said it was going to be tough to overtake and I guess ultimately had to eat his words considering how many great passes he made.


Terrific win for HAM, but the pass was very much DRS induced, after KAR forced VET back into HAM's range. McLaren now are tops on pace?


On balance the two cars were fairly equal, nothing really to chose. Mclaren had the straight line advantage, RB a bit better balance in the some of the twisties. RB is still the better qualifier.


In qualifying you need to factor in Red Bull's extra DRS benefit. Red Bull seems to have an edge in longer slow corners due to how its diffuser works, but otherwise I feel the McLaren has the edge on downforce. It was quicker in sector 1 at COTA, which to me suggests the downforce is there.

Historically, McLaren has been poor at Brazil, probably due to the relatively hard suspension and the bumps, so in the circuit to circuit variations, I would expect the Red Bull to be fastest and the Ferrari to be closer to the McLaren.

Over the season, right now I'd say the McLaren is the quickest race car. Qualifying would be more track specific.

my $0.02 worth




Well yes, but DRS was spot on in this race. If it had been too easy Hamilton would have breezed past Vettel ages ago. Now you could say you don't want any DRS overtakes, which is another argument, but ultimately the spectacle would suffer without it.


I agree. I was sitting at T12 and there were a great many "almost" overtakes there. The DRS seemed pretty well set-up to allow the cars to reach the braking zone almost side-by-side. Many good close and exciting battles.

And congrats to the whole COTA organization for putting on a great event.


I think DRS is, in general, working pretty well now and adding to the races.

As you say we could have no DRS, but having a car/driver that is faster and has been able to catch someone then being stuck behind unable to pass for lap after lap because of aero effect is not great racing to watch either. Faced with the choice, I think the current system is pretty good.


Nope. Red Bull are still faster. That win was ALL Hamilton.


Right there. McLaren pace is the one always shown by Jensen.


I think so, too.


Even though I'm a hardcore Alonso fan, I'd say the DOD belongs to Hamilton this time. No doubt.


or Massa.....it was not easy for me to decide, but I picked up Massa because of circumstances and what he was able to achieve.


I think Lewis had a fast car, only a few tenths behind Vettel in Q3, and RB are always fastest in Quali trim, so no real surprise the Maclaren was quicker eventually. RB is slow on top speed and were always going to be vulnerable.

I though JB had an imprssive drive, or maybe Massa. The other guys did pretty much what I expected.


Not a bad race.

DOTD must be either Lewis or Massa.

Glad to see the fight goes to Brazil. Would've been great if Vettel's alternator would've failed instead of Mark's.

For now, it looks like there's a good chance that Brazil might be wet, so we might get a great finale in 1 week time.

Go go Alonso for title.


'Would’ve been great if Vettel’s alternator would’ve failed instead of Mark’s.'

Hmmm ... all those fans wishing bad luck to whoever is not their favourite driver. Are they genuine F1 fans?


I'm not one to wish bad luck to people, but for the sake of the championship that would've been more appropriate.

It would've been great if whoever finishes in front will win the title rather than Alonso having to win with Vettel lower than 4th.

Maybe that's just me..


So you want a title decision through retirement of one of the contenders rather than true racing?


question: why are RB retaining Mark Webber for next year?

Grayzee (Australia)

The cynic in me says it's because RB can keep "experimenting" with HIS car, before they put the parts on Vet's car....why else does it always seem to be Marks car that has "KERS" issues.....except for the alternator....even Seb got caught with that one.

The realist in me says it's because he is very quick, not as consistantly quick as Seb, but perhaps quicker than many other drivers.....

and Yes, i am a biased aussie webber fan! 🙂


If what you say is true, why didn't he sign for Ferrari and put the fight to Fernando? Remember Ferrari headhunting Webber for 2013?


Right and also that the Ferrari #2 uses test parts for Alonso.


A few simple things come to mind. Fernando isn't exactly easy to beat either - I suspect Mark might rate him as slighly better than Sebastian and the best in the field based on comments to Australian TV. Mark so far has seen that his best chance of winning races is in a Red Bull - Ferrari status is one thing, but results still matter to the guy. The Ferrari is also currently designed for two of the shortest drivers in the field. Packaging Webber in the car wouldn't be ideal in 2013. There also rumours to Vettel going to Ferrari in 2014. Not ideal for Mark's ego to be warming a seat.


don't forget webber was convincingly out-qualifying and out racing vettel in the first half of the season.

but the second half he's been hampered with 3 gearbox penalties that put him down the field for the start, a diff problem that slowed him down in hungary, a couple of kers failures during races that stop him from attacking, now the alternator in this race, and he was taken out by grosjean etc.

not to mention a complete team error where they didn't get him out in time for qualifying in the spanish gp where he would have probably put it on the front row.

sure, abu dhabi was a shocker, but i'm sure that's impatience and frustration from seeing his goal slip away.

while the team want webber to do well, when it comes to the title, helmut marko will want vettel to win it. red bull are making a superstar in vettel. and the same frustrations and 'bad luck' thing will happen next year for webber. it's politics.


Yes alessio you are spot on

Webber is more than a match for vettel. Webber has beaten vettel quite often. A 8-11 score is not bad for NO 2 driver at all

The same cannot be said about mclaren or ferrari where both lewis and fernando are miles quicker


Because he's not bad for a no. 2 driver

PS You can't really blame him for an alternator failure


Are you blaming Webber for his mechanical failure? What about Vettel, he retired for the same reason n Valencia and Monza..


Senna, me thinks what the poster means is that Webber let pass Hamilton without a fight, rather than blaming the DNF on him.


of course you can't blame him for car failures, but how easily did HAM glide past him by lap 2 compared to how long VET kept Hammy behind him? In Abu Dabi he decided on all out combat, holding Seb up for a good while before pitting...

That probably cost Seb a run at Alonso.


That whole lap before red bull pitted mark to allow vettel an easy pass? Seriously...


Same reason Ferrari is keeping Massa.


I know! He keeps intentionally breaking the KERS, alternators and gearboxes on his car! Maniac!

Grayzee (Australia)

Bahahahahaha........... 🙂


What did Mark do wrong today?

His car let him down...AGAIN.


What has Lewis done wrong all season? Nothing, his car and team have let him down, he has had at least 2 DNF from the race lead.


An excellent race on a very good circuit. COTA was spot on. Some great overtakes and now down to the last race. Roll on the weekend.


It could've been an epic season for Alonso, putting him in line with all-time greats. But now it will only be remembered for a ridiculous team order, even more bizarre than that of Germany 2010.


Are you serious? Alonso can thank all the gods he needs for salvaging this season and that is him and not Lewis who fighting Vettel in Brazil.

2012 would have been an absolute disaster if not of miss-fortunes from other front runners in first part of the season. Ferrari got an out of jail card, but as second part of the season rolled out, they failed to get up to speed.

If they keep everything the same way just cause they were runner-up in 2012, I can see them struggle to get on podium in 2013.


Hold on a sec, how short is your memory. Did Vettel not get PENALIZED for not having enough fuel in Q3 just two weeks ago? And did RBR not take advanatage of the rules to change his ENTIRE FREAKING SET UP to enable give him a higher top speed. He was PENALIZED! I voted him DOD that weekend, as he earned it despite his luck with all the crash outs. No way he would have been able to dispatch cars in the DRS zone the way he did that weekend as we have seen the RB is at a disadvantage in that situation because of their choice to set up the car for quali. No way he would have made up 21 places that race, probably 6-8th if RBR didn't "stretch" the rules after getting a PENALTY! Now Alonso gets a 1 place advantage for a gearbox penalty and you throw that out there!

If what Ferrari pulled this weekend ruined the entire season, then what RBR pulled 2 weeks ago is much more hideous.

My perspective, the decision to change gearboxes is what is to be loved about F1, its strategy, a team game, and they made the right choice. Another option was short fuelling Massa to get him to the front of the grid and hold everyone back for Alonso to see what he could do coming through a Trulli train. Massa would go out half distance after running out of fuel hopefully allowing Alonso to get past Vettel in the meantime. That would have been an interesting play. Looks like Ferrari made the right call as the grid penalty resulted in both cars getting points keeping them ahead of McLaren.

F1 is not only about drivers racing each other, but teams doing their best to take advanatage of anything they can. It racing, engineering, bending rules, team work, politics, money, espionage, mind games, etc.,. You can't write a soap opera any better than what we are treated to in real life, week in and week out. If you really look at it, F1 is many things, racing is the platform on which we all get to witness it.

Great call by Ferrari this week, even better call by RBR two weeks prior. Bring on Brazil!!!


I totally disagree. How on earth the FIA considers this to be acceptable is beyond me as it makes a mockery of the sport and the concept of "team orders". I would have thought this comfortably falls with the rule govering bringing the sport into disrepute. Deliberate subterfuge such as this should be heavily punishable. It's one thing asking a teammate to pull over to let the other past but to permit the tampering of a car, not only sabotaging Massa's race but also affecting the race of others behind is a disgrace. This simply cannot be allowed to happen again, although I suspect the FIA have rather shot themselves in the foot by condoning this behaviour.


Just because a something is allowed and is good "soap opera" doesn't mean that is a positive thing for F1 and I am merely defending the integrity (or what is left of it!) of the sport. I do not agree with Ferrari's tactics even if the FIA chose to turn a blind eye, as their actions were morally wrong. Deliberate tampering with cars crosses the line, no matter what is at stake. You are right in that these loopholes need to be closed.


Actually, I want to edit my last paragraph, I'd rather they leave the rules the way they are, makes for a much more interesting saga.

One thing that I think they should change though is to allocate a certain number of gear boxes a team could use over the course of the season (like engines) vs forcing them to take a penalty when they suspect one is about to fail.

James/Anyone who knows,

Hope you can shed some light on this please. What is the practice around gear box allocation and rules of when it can be replaced. Seems that the standard is that the situation is that teams are expected to use one for the entire season, but if it breaks/needs to be replaced at some point, they take a penalty, even if you do it between the end of a race weekend and before practice for the next race.


I do recognize that the other drivers were affected by Ferrari's decision. Perhaps, they should have kept mum and said gearbox problem, instead of being up front about it (gotta respect them for that if nothing else) and everyone would have just shrugged their shoulders and moved on. Doesn't change the reality, just the marketing. Either way, it is what it is.

If FIA need to address this, it should take priority after the Abu Dhabi debacle put on by RB.

To me, enabling the team the option of starting from pit lane to minimize the impact of a penalty is more of a joke than what Ferrari did. You can't choose what peg to hang your hat on, either both are wrong or neither are. To me, what RBR did was more a walk on the dark side than what Ferrari pulled.

I'll say it again, racing is the platform for the F1 soap opera...loved these decisions/strategy calls the main plot is the most interesting thing happening. Everyone that was immediately affected would have likely ended up where they were anyways, except for maybe Alonso, so great risk management decision taken, just like RB!

FIA can always modify the rules and the actions by both teams over the past two weeks would have basically cancelled each other out. I'd much rather have the rules corrected, but if that ain't happening, I'm fine with the rule bending going on - its within the rules, so its allowed - why get all in a tizzy about it???


Exactly the point I was going to make (but perhaps is not such a colourful way! :)) unless someone beat me to it.

When VET was penalised, it was reported that "RBR have decided to take a second penalty and start from the pit lane". Well, it's not a "second penalty" if it allows you to mitigate the effect of the first penalty, is it?

Still, both were within the rules - I'm just surprised whenever I hear about this sort of thing how loosely some of the rules appear to be written.


Its almost rule now that you can have a No.1 and 2 Driver in the team and Ferrari have done this Favorable treatment for long. But some how with Ferrari, that favorite treatment mostly turns sour for me.

1. Barrichello pulling over for Shumacher in the final corner when there was no need to. Shumacher was anyways cruising in that championship already.

2. The two times it looked reasonable for me where when massa moved over for kimi in 2007 and when kimi returned the same favour in 2008. I term it 'fair enough' because both were given equal chances to fight for championship during both the years and only when one fell out of chance for the championship, the other driver was favoured.

3. With regards to this recent incident in the US GP, yes Massa is out of championship and to give alonso a favour was 'fair enough' but we miss an important thing. In the above incidents, the team's decision only affected the two drivers within their team. It did not compromise anybody else's race or positions. But if you consider this one, It was cruel luck for hulkenberg, who had been in seventh and because of ferrari's team orders had to take the dirty side for the start. You could argue, had he started on the clean side, may be he was on for a podium finish. Same is true for Grosjean who had to be moved from the clean side to the dirty side. But yes, the rules don't avoid such a deliberate manipulation of the grid order.

Vettel's incident in the previous grand prix was within the rules and most importantly, he had made it without any impact on others.

May be in the next race, Vettel qualifies first and webber second. And May be if Alonso qualifies 7th, Webber could be made to take a forced gear box penalty change to make Alonso start from the dirty side and loose a couple of places further in the start. Would that be fair enough and would vettel like to win the championship like that? I guess not.

Just My few cents.



Consider this...RBR's use of the rules and the fact that the FIA did not have a method to circumvent them from doing ALSO IMPACTED OTHER DRIVERS. The fact that he was able to change the entire car set up in the end manipulated the result for anyone he passed that he normally would not have had he been forced to take the penalty and start the race with his qualifying set up.

Instead of the impact coming at the start of the race, it came later on in the race. We just didn't get to see the real show cause the others crashed out, that's all.


+1. i think the general outcry for anything any team does is so childish it makes me laugh.


Totally agree. F1 has always been about so much more than what is happening on the track at any given time.


> Another option was short fuelling Massa to get him to the front of the grid and hold everyone back for Alonso

Or just take the Piquet Jr. route, why not?


great comment - Forza Ferrari


Assymetric warfare by Ferrari. Excellent decision vindicated by the results. It was a good strategy under painful circumstances of Q3.


They are the same team, they had all right to do so.

Totally unlike RBR and Toro Rosso, two different teams under same orders - to help Seb Vettel (as seen in Abu Dhabi). And that is against the rules.


Completely agree!

I don't know why it's not up for debate like it was in the early days- I'd love to see a comparison by someone technical like Gary Anderson.....


I am sure any other team in this situation would have done the same


Red Bull could have done it to Webber?


Sly to promote Alonso to the dirty side.


not so sure you are right... we have never seen it in modern F1 so your statement is a bit off


Sounds harsh but perhaps FM may have even suggested it..! It is within the rules. Easy to forget but in the 50s Fangio's championship quest was assisted by taking over his teammate's car, in the 1957 German GP, which was within the rules of the time. Same but different. That unquestionably led to Fangio's greatest drive and helped helped him to his 5th WC.

Today FA made the most of the position at the start, and it helped him to minimise the points loss to SV.


Felipe certainly didn't suggest it. He was interviewed by the Sky F1 on his way to the grid and he was not a happy bunny.

He tried to avoid commenting on it directly but he did rather sarcastically say that 'There are not many drivers like me eh?'.

They also interviewed the Ferrari press officer who also admitted that 'no driver likes to take a penalty' but that Felipe was a 'team player'


That happened several times, taking over a team mates car, but not at the 57 German GP.


Are you thinking of the European GP in 1956, when Peter Collins gave his car to Fangio (both were driving for Ferrari)?

In 1957 Fangio was with Maserati, and the German GP was all Fangio - he drove the same car from flag to flag. A poor pit stop dropped him to third, and he made up something like a minute to take the victory ahead of the two Ferraris of Collins and Hawthorn.


You are correct - thanks.


"We have seen from Vettel during this final stage of the season that he tends to romp away in the opening laps, only to be caught slightly and then re-open that gap in the five laps leading to his stop."

I think the main reason for this is to conserve fuel?

Lachlan Mackinnon

Would love to see a wet qualifying/race in Brazil. Wouldn't that spice things up. Otherwise I can't see Alonso having a chance with the machinery he currently has unless reliability issues come into play for Redbull. Great to see it has come down to the last race though......a very good season!


Amazing race! Great for it to be in the US as well. Top track.

Congrats Lewis. Outstanding. Many great drives in fact and Vettel did well to hold him off for so long and make for a tense race. When Lewis closed up I thought he'd be passed him easily but they were evenly matched.

Glad the title has gone to Brazil but it'll take something crazy to deny Vettel.

Mercedes.. oh dear. The trouble is that, yes focussing for next year is good but development this year will carry over. This isn't like 08/09 where Honda/Brawn could pull such a trick. Time will tell but it may be a while unfortunately before we see more Hamilton wins (Brazil notwithstanding).


No. Mercedes are throwing this year's car away and starting afresh. This year's car was based around double drs and it became a tyre eater and it was impossible to alter the chassis so they've had to live with it.

Yes, having to design a brand new car does mean they have a bigger hill to climb than other teams who can evolve an existing concept, but it also means we can't base our expectations of next year's car on what we're seeing at the moment.

I'm sure Merc will be a lot closer to the front next year. Weather it will be a 2010/2011 "almost best of the rest" closer, or a genuine front running car remains to be seen. But absolutely it will be better than this year's car currently is.


Yes, not the first time the Brackley boys have written off a season, to focus on the following year.

2008....2009 anyone?


Aero is a big factor in a modern F1 car and the current Lotus is not too shabby.

So perhaps the fact that a former Lotus aerodynamicist was employed as Merc aero chief back in July (*) might have a significant bearing on next year, and also explain why the current set-up may have been left to rot - as double-DRS has been disallowed for next year, why would this new guy bother to understand the current car to any great degree? My bet is that there's just a small sub-team keeping this car on the track with small tweaks while all the development focus is on next year and beyond.

(*) source: http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/282269/new-aerodynamics-chief-signed-at-mercedes/


To be fair they also did 2007...2008 and 2006...2007 before that, without much success!


Oh for sure it will be better, can't get much worse! It will likely be a decent car but what I'm saying is that history shows it's rare a team can just go from zero to hero in flash, it takes time; just like it took Red Bull many years before they became the leading team (thanks to Newey and the 08/09 rules reset giving them their chance to rise). Therefore it's unlikely you'll see Hamilton fighting it out for wins (consistently at least).

Still, it's a case of wait and see so we may be surprised. It seems Mercedes has now got the team and facilities in place but I also wonder if they have too many leaders now. But yeah, with the way development in this sport works, the odds would be long that Mercedes can jump the knowledge Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have of their cars from this year, over one winter, given the base knowledge of a poor car they've had this year.


I wasn't sure whether to take your conviction seriously. But then I remembered the finishing positions in the last 5 races and wondered how the new car couldn't be better.

As a die hard fan of Schumacher, in a way I'm glad he is retiring to put me out of race-day misery. Good luck to Hamilton next year, he is going to need it.

The team has too many cooks not to spoil it in the end. Ross Brawn's strength was in his technical directorship but now he delegates this role. To observe some of the directions of the team over the years and not question this all-important aspect (at least not publicly) is a very serious error by Mercedes Benz.

The strongest message I can send to show my disapproval, is to not buy a Mercedes Benz. Ever.


It worked for Enstone this year didn't it? I seem to recall at last year's Singapore Grand Prix especially they were struggling to get out of Q1, and now look where they are


Fantastic win for Lewis, well deserved. It was even more sweeter when I heard Vettel nervously crying on team radio about.. something.

O how McLaren will miss Lewis. I only hope that in Merc he'll have a car worth of his talent.

Go Nando Go !


I heard Hamilton Senior saying that he thought he and his son, Lewis, would always be regarded as an integral part of McLaren racing.

Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh politely suggested otherwise.


Judging by your earlier comment where you complain that the article even dares to mention Hamilton and now this makes me now realise your allegiance.

I do not think you are a "real F1 fan" at all. In fact anyone who uses those terms is probably not old enough too many F1 seasons.


Not sure about that. I spoke to AH tonight and he's very much looking ahead towards Mercedes


Haha, kp you definitely have quite a chip on your shoulder. If Big Ron didn't think he was losing a "winner", then he wouldn't have reacted to Hamilton's departure in the manner he did (i.e. refusing to talk to him). Big Ron can Ronspeak all he wants, his actions have already betrayed his true feelings.

As one poster wrote in a post after the Hamilton move, how could McLaren go from Alonso-Hamilton to Button-Perez?!? Another great one, so true, was someone referring to McLaren as "racing bureaucrats". I am a McLaren fan, though they do many things that just put me right off. Top of the list with McLaren is that they talk and chirp far too much, BEFORE they've walked the walk. Do the business, THEN boast. I can't count the number of times when Whitmarsh has declared victory before a race weekend, and then ends up with a faceful of egg. It's particularly infuriating. Just shut up!!!


Take a look at Ron Dennis speaking on Sky.

He talks about winning and winners. It's clear he knows Lewis Hamilton can win, but he is equally clear that Lewis, in his opinion, is not a winner.

In truth, I think many aficionado realised this this some time ago but, for the sake of the sport, are currently happy to 'keep stum'!


It will be an interesting final race. Alonso has previously stated that he's fighting Vettel and Newey, but clearly Vettel is fighting both Alonso and Massa. Massa was clearly faster than Alonso, both in qualifying and in the race, and was sacrificed by Ferrari cheating. When people inevitably dismiss Vettel's championship win next weekend as merely the product of a Newey car, they should remember Ferrari's cheating this weekend on behalf of Alonso.


Of course it's a team sport and team-mates are a part of that. Letting your team-mate past on track is not the same as what Ferrari did yesterday. Nor do I think one can equate the pushing of boundaries through ingenious engineering with what Ferrari did today. Nor do I think that taking the option of starting Vettel in the pit-lane in Abu Dhabi equates with it. Of course it's not cheating by definition, but I think that word applies to the spirit of competition that was broken. Talking of breaking spirits, poor Massa once again suffers, but at least he (outwardly) didn't seem too bothered.

Up until yesterday I wasn't bothered about who won ultimately, but this stunt now makes me more inclined towards Vettel. It's a shame that Hamilton is out of the running: his performance underlines how much McLaren will miss him, regardless of what Ron Dennis says.

Was this dirty/clean side of the track differential a bit exaggerated before the race as it turns out?


It would have been really funny if they messed up and broke the seal (on the gearbox) for the other Ferrari.......:-)


How difficult is it to clean a short stretch of tarmac??? Then no one would have to resort to cynical tactics.

How many chappies in cowboy hats would it take to sweep that grid straight clean ?? even if they are cowboys


Clearly it's very difficult. Otherwise they'd be doing it for years already. It's not just about dust, anyway, there's no rubber laid down by cars off the racing line.

Tornillo Amarillo

FIA should change the rule about gearbox penalty, including that in case of a voluntarily change as a strategy in order to improve the positions of any driver or any team, the stewards at their discretion could change the penalty for other penalty (back of the grid, ban, etc.).


Strictly speaking not cheating, but certainly dubious sportsmanship. It also seems that Ferrari haven't learned their lesson when it comes to demotivating Massa. Hopefully the different circumstances (later in the season, Massa more clearly out of contention) mean that he will better cope with it this time (certainly he seemed committed in the race).

It also throws more of a spotlight on the difference between clean and dirty sides of the start grid. Obviously worse in Texas than at many circuits, but it's often a problem, and can make qualy a bit of a lottery for those not in the hunt for pole.


Here's a thought...why not let the team on the dirty side of the track the choice of taking a one place drop in the grid to get on the cleaner side of the track and promote the driver behind him to his slot.

This weekend, it could have worked out to Alonso swapping places with Grosjean. Alonso gets the stickier side, Grosjean doesn't but gets an extra few feet from where he was. The guy with the better Q position gets to decide and the lottery mentioned above is taken care of.

Or, as you said, get some dragsters laying down some patch! Here's another idea, with all the Coca Cola rumours, are they going to be brought in to address the problem, by proviing a delivery truck who will just dump some coke on all the dirty side grid spots to even things up - your 1/4 milers out there know what I'm talkin' 'bout :)!


Rolling start anyone...?


Fitting the bits that wont brake to Vettels car would also be regarded as cheating with your line of thought. Check Webbers comments on BBC F1 Live blog after his retirement.


Well of course Vettel is fighting Massa, he drives for Ferrari so he's hardly going to be helping Vettel.

And Red Bull employ the same sort of tactics as Ferrari (not cheating as no rules are broken). They gave Webbers front wing to Vettel in Silverstone 2010, they ruined Webbers race strategy in Abu Dhabi by pitting him early to get him out of Vettels way and they're also able to move Torro Roso's out of Vettels way.

But they're right to do so. Vettel is a better driver than Webber, and is always more likely to win the championship. Same goes for Alonso with regards to Massa.

The Newey question still remain however. Newey cars have won 9 constructors championships and 9 drivers champioships (probably 10 by next week). There's no denying he designs the best cars in F1.

Vettel is a top driver, among the current best. But would he be a double soon to be treble world champion without a Newey car? I personally don't think so.

Would Alonso, Hamilton or Raikonnen be as good if not better in that car? I do think so.


It's not illegal, but not sporty. Think about it this way, how many drivers were affected by starting on the dirty side while they should have started on the clean one just because Ferrari wanted Alonso to start on the clean side? This IMHO is slightly more unsporting compared to RBR finding a loophole and exploiting it.


RBR by having that hole in the floor (for example) has affected 22 other cars. How fair is that? On top of this, that was illegal. They were asked to changed it. What Ferrari did yesterday is not illegal.


Better not overtake them in case it hurts their feelings eh?


You say cheating, I say ingenious tactical team decision which paid off for both drivers in the end. Felipe is going to get a nice Christmas bonus and Fernando has minimised the damage from Vettel's result. Haters gonna hate though...

Tom Haythornthwaite

Incidentally, although the strategy obviously dropped Massa a couple of rows it also put HIM onto the clean side, and as he had a faster car than the car in front, I don't think he fared too badly.


How was it cheating? It was a tactic, yes, but it was one not w/o its drawbacks. In the end the dirty side was not AS bad as first feared ... it was bad, but not so bad. Charlie should've had some funny cars doing burnouts on that side overnight. 😉


Fighting Massa? How the hell did you get that?

Even allowing for the grid penalty, Massa qualified 5 places behind Vettel.

Anyway, if you really want to go down the "cheating" road, how many times has RBR had to remove or redesign parts that have contravened the rules this year?

The hole in the floor that wasn't allowed, engine mapping, flexing wings again.

I pray to God that you're not a judge in your day job!


Yes Hero_was_senna

you are spot on mate

RBR are are the team of cheats, yet they complain and moan about ferari or mclaren

I simply cannot understnad why people make something out of nothing. Massa have no rights what so ever to stand in alonso's way towards the WDC

Webber his much better driver and better NO 2 to vettel (Albeit he does not like vettel)Rather than massa who performs once in 17 or 18 races

Ferrari did the right thing, they do not have quickest car and with poor qualifiying they have to do something to stay alive in title contention. Kudos to ferrari for being brave and honest


Not cheating. Not even against the spirit of F1 because the spirit of F1 is to exploit or use (or even break if you can get away with it) the given rules to maximum effect in order to win. Part of the sport.


I have a tough time regarding Alonso as the more deserving of the title with moves like having Massa pushed back five places. How that doesn't break Massa's spirit, I don't know.

Seems like many have taken the fall for Alonso's success. Piquet with the crashgate, and Massa at Ferrari. These are a few of the stories that hit the press, but it'd be surprising if several more have not occurred behind the scenes.


any other team would have done the same (like in massa's situation).

You can't blame Alonso on the crash gate.

Open shut case


Maybe at the start Massa was a bit down, but after pulling arguably one of his best drives this year, he should feel very very good about himself.

Massa showed yesterday that even being demoted 5 places, he was still able to bring his car in 4th place.


Think of it as a team order. If Massa had been in front of Alonso on track, would they really have finished that way? Starting on the dirty side of the track both FA and FM would have been swallowed up at the start. Don't get too sentimental about it. It's dog-eat-dog-eat-cat tooth and nail out there.

Read what Alonso's been saying the last couple of weeks.. Desperate struggle against the odds? Sure.Why not. That's how legends are born. That's what it means to be Ferrari.


if the rules allow it, it's not cheating. It's cynical and even desperate, but it was legal and more importantly it worked.



great point being made here. I completely agree. Both RBR and Ferrari actions were legal.

From my point of view, however, it's not OK to say that RBR cheated and point fingers at them, and then praising Ferrari for what they have done (specially the press in Spain).

Anyway, a great race and a great end of the season. Can't wait for Brasil and see what both teams will pull out of their hats (both technically and in strategy).


"RBR’s ploy with Vettel was just something the rules allow you to do and it concerned only him"

And Webber's report that they fitted his car with cast off's from Vettel's that RBR feared would break didn't compromise Webber's race. Come on James...

tit for tat they are both guilty of rule bending and they both CLEARLY sacrificed their second driver today...I don't have a problem with either teams' call. Ferrari ain't no angel, I get it, but please "desperate, cynical", no more so than RBR, no? I really respect your blog and what you have to say James, I ask that you keep it neutral as like it or not, you are an ambassador for F1 to us readers out here. Please don't become a non-neutral gossip site, as it diminishes your journalistic work.

I really respect your work, and very much enjoy reading it. If you moderate this message out, its your blog, so your call, but please, please stay neutral in your work, or state your bias as there its no problem if you have one, just say so, as it allows the reader to understand the perspective of the reporter...cheers!


I couldn't agree more James. Within the letter of the law - yes, cynical and desperate - yes, absolutely necessary - definitely!


"I think it was cynical and an act of desperation."

JA - really?

I'm actually very surprised by that comment and the gossip in pitlane. I consider it more an eyelash for an eye when compared to what RB pulled 2 weeks ago. How many places did Vettel gain out of that stunt vs. the one place on the starting grid (albiet a cleaner side of the track)?

See my response earlier up on this, I thought it was one of 2 choices for Ferrari. Had some other team made the same call and not Ferrari, many here would be applauding them for the same decision.


Both were within the rules, the difference is that Ferrari's decision affected Massa, whereas RBR's ploy with Vettel was just something the rules allow you to do and it concerned only him


Its up to Charlie to change the rules. I don't think a team should be able to affect their and 4 other drivers start positions - but then I didn't like Redd Bull mitigating their penalty in Abu Dhabi - but if its allowed, this is not bowls or croquet gentlemen. This is F1.


In my opinion it is even more desperate to deliberately go against the rules, as RBR often does.


It worked, but I would love to see someone do a piece on why some drivers allow this to happen to them. Is it money, are they naive is it someting else? We all know whatever front Ferrari put on, Barichello was never going to have a shot, nor was Irvine (we know it was the fame and money with him)and now Massa. Whatever Ferrari say, deep down they don't respect him and this will become worse each time he sacrifices himself. Sure they will praise him, sure they will say he is the best ever, but we all know (deep down) this is not what they feel. We all know this from our own real world jobs, why do we pretend it is any different in one of the hardest and most hostile bussineses on the planet called F1...


Doesn't do much for his fan base in Brazil, that's for sure.


+1...Mr. Newey uses all loopholes at his disposal, and Ferrari did the same. Cheeky, but good poker playing 🙂


I'm not sure I agree, James. I have mixed feelings about it; but in the end I would just call it ruthless or determined. Which is what you need to win in a competitive sport.


James, is that tacit approval of Ferrari's actions, within the bounds of stating the facts?

Just wondering...


It's not a tacit approval, its' just an observation based on facts

It was legal

It was successful.

I think it was cynical and an act of desperation.

That's it.


Hats off to Hamilton, Massa and Button after this race. But the big winner today is America; a fantastic track, a great crowd and a spectacular race. The track itself gave me the feeling of watching one of the great classics like Suzuka, Silverstone or Spa. Job well done, Texas!


Fully agree. It seems fitting that the US track is great for TV too - the helicopter shots up the hill and down were exhilarating on a big screen - probably one of the few undulations beyond spa that was really visible and clear. I suspect some tracks are great to drive but don't translate on camera - COTA is fitting for both.


Kudo's to the helicopter pilot, that guy was getting some crazy shots. My guess is it was TJ from Magnum, P.I. 😀


Still hard to believe that it's a 12-storey elevation change up to Turn 1 ... just doesn't look like it, but 133 feet is 133 feet.


Honestly when you stand there looking at it, it's like a ski slope!


Best race of the year IMO. This race has proven a few things –

(1) Shows that Vettel is definitely a petulant tantrum prone child when things don’t go his way

(2) RBR molly cuddle Vettel way too much and pander to his petulance. Christian’s disparaging remarks regarding Lewis’s overtake is simply disrespectful and arrogant.

(3) Hamilton is most certainly better than Vettel – if given the equipment. I believe the RBR was a little bit faster than the McLaren today; but that “little bit” was all Lewis needed.

(4) The tyres definitely ruined the racing in the earlier part of the year. This so called “ultra conservative” choice allowed drivers to fight and trade lap times; all the way to the end. Something we haven’t see in a long time.

(5) Making sure Herman Tilke didn’t have too much input into this track design was definitely the right decision.

(6) Martin Whitmarsh most certainly regrets he didn’t make a better effort to keep Lewis in the team, and even to have supported him a bit more during his tenure.

(7) Red Bull Racing are certainly an ultra-formidable and competitive team, and deserve an amazing level of respect.

(8) That, as good as Alonso is, the persistent emasculation of Massa to help him many times, has flattered him on more than quite a few occasions.

(9) Button is very happy Lewis is leaving the team; this is clear from the analysis of his post-race comments.

(10) This is the best race of the year, by far; and it’s all thanks to the tyres allowing people to race properly for the first time this season.


Agree with all of the above. Would have expected Button to be a bit more diplomatic but yeah his comments about leading the team, being a mini martin whitmarsh.....bad taste in my humble opinion. Snakes shed their skin sooner or later!


It's just banter. Plus he didn't say anything that isn't true. Drivers these days do have to be like mini CEOs of the team when in front of the camera: selling the team, keeping morale strong, pushing the factory, praising the team mate and team on their wins, etc. Alonso is a very good "mini CEO". And of course behind the scenes I'm sure there's plenty of raging too!!! 🙂


(5) +1, love that up hill to turn 1 🙂


Actually the tires didn't allow people to race properly due to the fact they were conservative and didn't degrade, they produced some exciting action because they were TOO conservative and hence the drivers couldn't switch them on properly, introducing the one key thing that is needed for an exciting race... a VARIABLE.

Without any variables you get a procession.

I am more than happy for Pirelli to introduce this variable because the remainder of the pitlane (ie the teams) spend a fortune working to eliminate variables. Apart from Pirelli the only other variables to spice up the action are rain and safety cars!

I agree with many of your other points 🙂


Exactly. I certainly want drivers to be able to push and race and it is refreshing to see them do so. But to create exciting races you need these extra variables as you say. The tyres being too conservative and difficult to warm up (or specifically the track being low grip and conditions cooler than expected) created a similar outcome but for reversed reasons as to when the tyres would reach a level of severe degradation in the past.

In both cases you have the same result of drivers complaining of points in the race/weekend of there being little grip. It is these difficult conditions that throws in an extra variable and forces drivers to fight each other in an even more demanding environment, with more mistakes from the lesser skilled drivers and wheel to wheel and robust defensive action (sometimes too desperate and robust in Schumacher's case)!

A problem with the tyres being too safe though, is it leading to mostly one stop races. I think 2 stop affairs are the best on balance, allowing a good mix of strategy and while still pushing to the limit.


I would argue it was more the track itself that allowed strong racing rather than the tyres. The tyres were very conservative in India, allowing drivers to push to their hearts content, and that was a rather dull affair.

The slow tyre warm up helped create an extra variable but yeah, an exciting track with lots of overtaking opportunities and switch-backs allowing drivers to fight back, and closely matched teams (and drivers such as Button being out of position) is what made the race exciting.


The nature of the track design together with the fact that the surface was quite low grip and dusty is what made the race so good. And by golly it was a scintillating race - a perfect race to return to the US with - great overtaking and lots of it, a tight battle at the front with a pass for the lead, lots of burns from the sterns like Button, Maldonado, Grosjean and Massa. Just about the only thing missing was some first lap carnage to please the crowd.

All in all a great race circuit and a great race!


Totally agree. They really screwed up the racing royally with the focus on cheap entertainment and dumbing down the sport. Add that to the idea that 750kg+ monsters saving gas and tires are somehow "great racing" and you have the reason why this season has been mind-numbingly boring and a silly lottery at times.

I mean I read everywhere that this is the best season ever, but despite trying to believe it I have skipped several races (for the first time in about 10 years) and turned off several others.


I think I pretty much agree with all your points.

In particular Vettel's reaction (to Hamilton's overtake really made me laugh). Did he forget it was a race?


haha +1 on (1)

On your (8) point, I would say Alonso would've finished in the same place today if he started from 8th.

He would've had Massa in front of him which would have let him passed. Kimi or any of the other runners were not fast enough to have kept the Ferraris behind.


Ha? Alonso would have said bye bye to podium if Lotus did not mess up the pit-stop after which both Kimi and Massa was stuck doing 44s while they were a second faster than Alonso and couple seconds behind after the pit-stop.

Another narrow escape by Alonso. Defines this season for him, really.


Kimi got in front of Massa after the pitstops. Then Massa overtook Kimi and finished 18 sec ahead of Kimi. You telling me that Alonso (even if he was a bit slower in US) could not overtake Kimi?

You got to be kidding me!


Hamilton should savour the moment. This time next year he'll have probably forgotten what a win feels like.


Mercs new car will be better. They're stuck with the design they've got for now...


It's amazing how many people just don't get this!


Yes, but with his Mercedes engine for '14 he will be looking pretty sweet.


Good drive from Lewis today, deserved at least one more win for Mclaren given his misfortune in Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

Alonso has done well to bring the championship battle to the final race, but can't see anything but Red Bull being at the front in Brazil, with Ferrari struggling in qualifying as usual.

Here's hoping for a wet weekend in Interlagos.


Alonso could have the shirt off Massa's back if he wanted it. Is this how a great champion wants to win? Scrambling for every advantage, no matter how it's gained.

And as a big Massa fan, I didn't feel good about his post-race comments, where he sounded desperate to please Ferrari.

Fun race though.


Tell me, how does this differ from Webber being told not to fight Vettel?


I'd say the situation was more similar to Vettel being given the "good wing" at Silverstone, when it was taken off Webber's car.

I have no interest in whether Vettel wins the title or not, I'm just surprised that Alonso and Ferrari are willing to appear that desperate.


Massa moved over for Kimi in 2007 to let him win; Kimi did the same the next year in China, and again in Brazil, moving over in front of Hamilton right away at the start of the race in Brazil. Any teammate should do what Massa is doing now.


Hamilton should enjoy his deserved victory as there will be slim pickings next year at Merc. This car has to be without doubt one of the biggest let downs in F1 history after such a promising start. Shame to see Michael going backwards in the race after an excellent qualification.


What an awesome drive by Lewis Hamilton. It's the best I've seen him drive in a long time and a well deserved win. A great drive also by Jenson Button, so a good day for team Mclaren. Hulkenberg, Senna and Ricciardo had a good day, as did Alonso. CotA is a great circuit. One of the best races of the season. Can't wait for next week. DotD definitely Hamilton!

Val from montreal

Since Alonso was born with a four leaf clover up his rear-end , I fear that in Brazil Red Bull will suffer an unfortunate DNF on the german's car and then the spaniard will likely end up 3rd ... Thus him winning the title by just 2 points ....


I know, I mean how lucky was he to have that perfect 2 second pit stop in the race?

Oh that's right, it was a 6.3 second shocker which very nearly cost him the podium.


Great race, fantastic home venue!..I haven't been to an f1 race since Silverstone in the early 90s as a result there were some surprises; some good, some not so good. Although I miss the V12s, and the traction control noises, these V8s were quite awesome. I was disappointed the infield access is essentially now for celebrities..a pass on the practice days was the norm back then. The views from the track was just glorious not to mention the amenities. Finally, FanVision wih the option of listening in on JA was the icing on the cake. Bravo!


In those last laps Lewis must surely have been thinking he should be staying with Mclaren, and Schumi must have been thinking - thank God I'm leaving. It is hard to believe just how inept Mercedes have become.

Not keen on Alonso rearranging the qualifying order, but it's in character.


I most certainly disagree. If anything, since he made his decision, it is clear for all to see that it seems a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders, and he is a lot more relaxed. And rightly so. Even his relationship with Martin Whitmarsh seems to have improved drastically; as evidenced by all the bromance after the race yesterday.

Anyone who has ever been in a poisoned work atmosphere, where you are desperately unhappy will understand exactly how Lewis feels now he is leaving - and regret is certainly not one of those feelings.


I agree with that. He and his family are in a good place, his driving has got better too. I don't think he regrets his decision at all, whatever Martin might suggest

McLaren, however, are left with a lot of regret as this weekend showed very clearly how much they will miss LH's speed. He split the Red Bulls in qualifying and passed both of them in the race.


+ 1 James- I never doubted Hamiltons move was the right regardless of what happens in 2013. It just had to happen on my opinion.


Depends what Lewis wants out of this racing career. Mclaren will always be at the front or thereabouts. If it's wins he's after, moving to Mercedes is the wrong decision. They have consistently stated that from 2010 it was a 3 year project - now it's all about 2014. The goal posts move ever backwards just as this years car has. They had a mountain to climb to be anywhere near competitive, but we'll see who's right in a year or two.


Alonso is such a [mod], crash gate, spy gate (cost Mclaren 100 million dollars), Fernando is faster than you, and the move this weekend was just another low. Glad Red Bull didn't follow suit and break Webber's seal. For all you people criticising Vettel for driving the car the teams designer has given him, remember he fights his team mate (and yes I am aware what happened at Silverstone a few years back, but who won that race?). I say remember Turkey where they took each other out fighting. Massa would never do that to Alonso.


2 weekends ago, engineer to Webber: Don't fight Vettel

Malaysia GP: Cucumber gate

Vettel rear ended Webber's race in Fuji GP costing both RBR and TR in repair work

Stealing Webber's front wing is still stealing no matter what happened. Much like if someone stole from you, even if he returned them, he still stole.

Wakey wakeeeeeeeey


Whilst i agree with the premise of your argument, i rather have to point out that the wing was never "stolen" from Webber - as it wasn't his to begin with. It belonged to the team, and you cant "steal" something that belongs to you.


Why would they break Webber's seal? To start him eigth? LoL


What a race, edge of the seat stuff, really like this circuit, can't wait till next year already


James how come that after every race there is an interview with Vettel on official F1 site? Even when Alonso was leading the championship and wining the races that was the case. It is clear to anybody with any brains that F1 management, especially Bernie, are pushing for Vettel to take the title. Isn't it enough that he has best package on the grid? Have they forgotten that it was Lewis won the race by beating their golden boy? This politics in F1 is very annoying and lame!


I think you are wrong. The McLaren is the fastest car on the grid and has been for some time. It simply breaks down way too much or Hamilton would be in the title fight. When Vettel wins it is the package. When Alonso wins " he put the car on his back" looks to me the Ferrari is faster in Massa's hands of late but he simply is not allowed to race.


How is this different from Mark being told to keep his possition when he was catching Vettel last year? And that was done when Vettel was miles ahead in the championship.

Yes, we all would like to see every driver, every race, drive as fast as he can. But this is F1, a team sport and it would be stupid of any team to let their drivers race when one is fighting for the championship and the other is in 7th place.

This is the same as RBR pitting Mark in Abu Dhabi when Vettel couldn't cruise past him like he did with the Caterham and Torro Rossos. That was a team order to get Mark out of Vettel's way.


When Vettel was catching mark in 2010 same thing happened so wheres the consistency. Like Massa doesnt park for Alonso or wont take a gearbox penalty for him


Well observed, I think it's because Eccleston was asked to appologise to Hamilton for making a racial comment in 2007. These F1 guys are very competetive and will always want things their way.

Vettel is onto his 3rd title and yet not seen as the best driver in the sport. If only they could allow the sport to take it's natural course.


Stop suggesting that Bernie constantly conspires and puppet masters all behind the scene activities in F1.

Thanks to Lotus F1, I was able to people watch and celeb spot in the COA paddock (behind the garages).

After the F1 top 3 interviews, and the interviews in the 'pen' the winner was in demand by a lot of journalists and tv stations.

Today, I saw JB being interviewed by Sky, then LH came back from the 'pen' and was whisked into the McLaren Suite so that he could change and get ready for the 'Rocket Red' photo. The team needs to 'get a move on' to Brazil so organising Lewis's time was handled as efficiently as possible to free them up for their 'off screen' duties.

Only then was Lewis freed up to be interviewed by the BBC. He then joined his father for the Sky interview. I'm assuming this is the 'offical' F1 site you're referring to.

Vettel returned to the Red Bull suite after Jensen was interviewed but before Lewis came back from the 'pen'.

The distance between the McLaren and Ferrari suite was too great for me to quickly negotiate, so I can't give you the heads up there.

No idea what the drivers did next - but people watching and celeb spotting in the paddock, thanks to Lotus F1 was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Only wish I could go to every GP.

Well, maybe not!

Happy for James and the team to do it on my behalf.

PS. James, I have a 1:2 scale 'signed' Kimi that I would love to donate to you and the BBC for Children in Need. If it is possible to arrange, please let me know how to.


He'd be reffering to the official Formula 1 site (formula1.com) that is run by FOM, i.e. Bernie. It's also no secret that Bernie shares a closer relationship with Vettel than just about any other driver.


My apologies.

Hopefully, I've witnessed and shared how a very small part of Lewis's time was allocated after his COA win.

What we don't know is how the journalist responsible for writing for the official F1 site allocates their own time both in the media centre and out in the paddock; and, who is closest and therefore more easily accessible for interviewing.

Maybe the corporate protocols at the more established teams like Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Ferrari make it less likely that their drivers are immediately available.

Or, maybe, the team holding the Constructors title is obliged to make their drivers available to the F1 site first.

We may never know.


That's all I meant! Thanks!


Uh Oh, Is Bernie "fixing it" for Vettel... 😉


Thanks that's very kind. How would you like to do it?


If you could email me details, I can post it out to your attention at a BBC F1 address.


1:2 scale 'Kimi' helmet


And, yes, it is signed by the man himself.


I wonder Martin Whitmarsh wakes up in the morning thinking "please say that it's just a bad dream, and it's really Button that we're losing instead of Hamilton. Oh, it's not. B*****."


Congrats to Lewis good race.

I noticed on in the BBC Live blog after Webber retired that he said words to effect that they had put all the bits they didn't think would break on Vettels car.

I don't see how this is any different to Massa taking one for the team with his grid place drop.

I really don't believe Webber has had the same machine as Vettel all year. Well maybe for the first half of the season but that always changes. I always watch for RBR's pity wall reaction after a race. You could have sworn Webber won 😉

Note to RBR. Can you fix Webbers Kers for next year please ?


Who's that white-haired guy in blue-shirt who always rushes to give a warm hug to Vettel at the podium entrance? Yesterday, one could see his sad facial expressions towards Vettel. I thought these functionaries should remain neutral!


Herbie Blash, ex Brabham team boss and Charlie Whitings colleague in race control


Has Adrian designed a crystal ball that tells them what parts might break? Do you really think when they take 3 truckfull of spares to races they go, WE THINK this part might break so stick it on Webbers car, just incase it ever creeps onto Vettels car.

What are you talking about man?


"I don’t see how this is any different to Massa taking one for the team with his grid place drop."

It is different, Massa did finish the race, Webber didn't. 😉


What a drive by hamilton! shame mclaren didn't respect him enough to bring a cap with his name written on. Hamilton had to wear a cap with "Jenson Button" written on it while button wore one with "Jenson Button" written on the side of it. I liked hamilton's response to Jake enquiry about him wearing Button's cap, "it's all good." he said. No wonder he's the best driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport.

James, what was that about Newey using a slide rule to design his cars during qualifying? Does he really use a slide rule or were you taking the mick when you said that?


He is the only designer who still uses a slide rule, yes


That's funny James, I thought slide rules were used to calculate, not for drawing lines with? I might be wrong.


It is not surprising that Adrian Newey keeps producing very quick but very fragile cars.

It IS surprising however, that Vettel always gets the quick one and Webber always gets the fragile one.



Except Webber just had a streak of 59 GPs without having a mechanical failure that put him out of the race.


Were we watching the same season in 2010? How about Vettel's alternator failure when leading at Valencia or the same issue at Monza? I'm a Webber fan, but Vettel has had his share of technical issues (as recently as the Abu Dhabi qualifying session) in the last three years.


History has shown that if there's an unreliable car, it always tends to affect one driver in the tea more than the other.

To be fair, I don't think Mark has lost a definite win from reliability, which Vettel certainly did.


Someone should create a table scoring the last 3+ seasons to see how many times MW has suffered from unreliability. It would surely make an interesting story for JA.

Grayzee (Australia)

+ 1


awesome Pirelli hats on Texas podium)))


That was a great touch. They were a tad too big, though better too big than too small! It was funny seeing Alonso pull Lewis back before they headed out to the podium, to see how he was wearing his.


Probably the most entertaining race of the year. Did anyone happen to catch what Vettel was crying about after being overtaken? Also, anyone else notice there was no Vodafone logos on the Mclaren?


Last year's Canadian GP also showed no Vodafone but Verizon.


Vodafone is majority shareholder in Verizon, which is the largest cellphone carrier in the US market.


In our part of the world we had Alex Yoong as part of the commentator team. He listens to the pits to car radio messages. According to him, the Vettel comment was delayed on air, and the comment was actually referring to his own bad luck catching the slow HRT in the esses and hence Vettel was unable to maintain the usual gap tp Hamilton allowing the latter to close up more than would have been usual into the DRS zone.

Narain K himself clarified after the race that he had checked with Charlie W about how he was to get out of the way of the leaders in the esses. Apparently he was told that the race director recognizes that that would not be possible, and so he would not be penalized for holding up the faster cars until after the esses.


Everybody seems to forget that Hamilton was right behind Vettl, ´tail already as suddenly a yellow flag came out as a Toro Rosso crashed due to front suspension breakage again......

Karthikeyan behaved correctly and apparently paid back just that little for Sepang. Regarding the buzz that created, him being penalised while in fact it was a stupid racing incident of the great Vettl. Then his first reaction, the middle finger, and first words afterwards are absolutely astonishing :


Unprofessional and disrespectful, but it is forgotten since it is bad for $$$$.

Alonso was taking out twice this year, no bad word abt it from him ...................


Yup I thought he must be referring to Karthikeyan. He clearly blocked Vettel when we cut back to them heading through turn 9 and I must admit I was surprise the Martin and Crofty didn't pick up on it. It wasn't Narains fault, it was just the way the track was designed makes it much more likely to happen. Faster cars were being blocked through those corners all race. Vettel just happened to be unlucky with the HRT and then Hamilton took advantage of it. It's all heat of the moment stuff from Seb but it did sound a bit petulant.


Yes I noticed that. Possible they have an affiliation with an American company who took the branding instead? Any insight would be interesting, James.


Vodafone has a slice of Verizon in the US and McLaren changed the branding as a "nice surprise" for the CEO of Verizon who was there this weekend.

Looks like Vodafone may be pulling out of F1 sponsorship, so McLaren are working it hard.


Quite bizarre that 20 years after McLaren and Penske were linked by Mobil 1, Mercedes Benz and Marlboro, they now coincidentally also share title sponsors.


Is putting a rivals name on the car a way to appease Vodafone?


Thanks for that James.


45% and they have finally started paying some massive dividends


Yes I'm quite keen to know the full radio transcript of Vettel crying, too. All I managed to hear was 'unbelievable...'

Have to say I never heard of Verizon until seeing it on the McLarens. Could just be me.


Fantastic performance from Lewis today. Stalked Vettel for a long period of time, and made his move at his first real opportunity for a pass, and on to a great win.


I hope when the Driver of the Day poll comes up that I can select Circuit of the Americas. What a track!


I doubt you will be able to. Circuits can't drive. No hands, for starters.


Love the photo of Seb in this article!


Like Kimi, I also like Seb because he is a straight forward guy. If he is not happy, he does not hide it.


I think Vettel is actually a pretty good interview. But I think he's quite petulant in the car.



I don't even know what Vettel said about Narain this time. Something about getting out of the way, and the damn DRS, etc.

But I'm certain that Vettel's movement during Hamilton's pass was not kosher. It was pushing both the rules and the sporting limits. I hope they take it up in the next drivers' meeting, as it was not right.


You must also love Alonso then. He hasn't been hiding unhappiness for a good while now.


The closer it proceeds to the end of this F1 season, the more I understand why Schumi chose to retire. Mercedes simply keeps going backward and backward in the development race and the car keeps performing poorly on high fuels at the first half of every race. I think Mercedes ruined not only Schumi's comeback but also is a shame for Nico. 3 years in the campaign it just gets further and further back comparing to the midfield contenders. totally gutted!!


Great drive and win by Hamilton. I really think the McLaren is every bit as fast as the RB in Hamilton's hands.

Alonso shows his selfish side as usual. Cannot imagine how bad Vettel and RB would get killed for asking Webber to take 5 grid penalty. Alonso does it, moves to clean side and is able to get on podium and everyone praises Ferrari for a great call. For the people who rip Schumacher all these years later for being selfish and having lacky teammates Alonso is every bit the same bloke...


Hi James - I am shocked, truly shocked that, after the Daily Mail's amazing article about Hamilton's Crash Helmet you insist on allowing these appalling acronyms on your site.

I mean honestly:


That kind of language is totally inappropriate on a family site!


that was a truly great race with lot's of good action throughout the field! I thought Vettel was going to run away for one of his typical wins and it was a nice surprise to see Hamilton overtake him. Hamilton's win also made the final race even more dramatic by taking 7 points from Vettel. I haven't been a fan of Hamilton for the first part of his career. He has always been very quick, but also very reckless. He has driven brilliantly this year and the mistakes of years gone by seem to be behind him now. Great job by Hamilton! And Alonso was tenacious and flawless as usual. He and Raikkonen have been the most consistent and resilient all year. I have watched every race since 2005 and this season is probably the best one from my point of view.


Splendid race report. One of your best. Hamilton's drive was brilliant. James, I appreciated your use, in the same sentence, of Felipe Massa & reacting "with great character". Couldn't do that with too many, lol.



As he showed in Brazil 2008.

Been a lousy three years for Massa, but today he was a giant


Today he was Giant ?

Come on james. You cannot call a driver giant who performs once in 17 races. Massa is simply too slow and not good enough

I cannot understand why people here and many other sites make a meal out of nothing. Ferrari made a good decision. Massa has no right to stand in alonso's way towards WDC.

Massa is getting back ? where to his home ?


That's why JA said "Today he was...". He had a great drive, undeniable. Each GP is a creature unto itself, and to have a great race is an exhilirating thing. Massa is getting his confidence back, and it's good to see.


Massa is getting back to that form that he had before the accident at Hungary in 2009.


couldn't agree more


"The double points finish for Maldonado and Senna will be highly beneficial to their hopes of a race seat on 2013."

James you really think so? After all was just a couple of points both amassed. You think it will help Bruno secure a seat for next year?


If I were Williams I'd take Senna's millions and use it to pay for a drive for Bottas somewhere (Caterham/New HRT). A year of racing would do him the world of good and be a sensible investment. Maldonado and a very young rookie is a hell of a risk to be taking.


I think F1 would be losing a talented driver if Senna gets the boot by Williams. This is only his first proper season in F1 (I don't see how you could count at year at HRT or the few races in the Lotus last year as such). He has been a consistent points scorer for Williams, much more so that Maldonado. He doesn't have the same outright speed as him at the moment, but everyone said Maldonado only got the Williams seat last year because of his money and this season he has been mightily fast if quite erratic. I think Williams should give him a second chance. Bottas can wait another year - maybe try and win GP2.


I think Heki's seat in Catherham is becoming dependant on if Williams release Senna('s funding)


A fabulous race at a fabulous circuit. A good start for F1 on their return here in the U.S. and although the local Austin news outlets covered the event very well, nationally it was a different story.

By late Sunday evening, our leading national newspaper's online website (USA Today) carried front page sports news headlines regarding NASCAR's final race, results etc but no mention at all regarding the USGP.

In the coming years, F1 teams and sponsors will have to work hard to engage national media outlets, talkshows etc if it wants to attract the attention of mainstream America. F1 has a lot of offer American sports fans but will have to work hard to sell itself if it wants to stay and grow in this country. Here's hoping...


Well, the race did happen on the same day the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase was decided. Even though that showdown ended up a damp squib, with Johnson having to retire.

It was a great race, with TONS of overtaking, tons of battles everywhere on the track, overtakes at a whole bunch of places on the track (into Turn 1, out of Turn 1, down to Turn 12, out of Turn 14 - Button's favourite spot yesterday - etc.), great weather, a great crowd. As far as the purpose-built tracks on the calendar, I think it's safe to say it is UP THERE among the very best!


Very well said. I was thinking the exact same thing


So with the finale, here are the standings

New points

Vettel – 273

Alonso – 260

13 points. 13 points in it. Alonso must outscore Vettel by 14 points. In the event that they end up even stevens on score – then Vettel wins the title because of winning more races.

In order for Alonso to be the 2012 champion, Alonso MUST FINISH ON THE PODIUM, and Vettel MUST FINISH OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 4

Vettel will be champion if:

- Vettel finishes in the top 4

- Vettel finishes P5-P7, Alonso finishes P2 or lower

- Vettel P8-P9, Alonso finishes P3 or lower

- Vettel finishes P10/DNFs, Alonso off the podium

Alonso will be champion if:

- Alonso wins, Vettel finishes P5 or lower

- Alonso P2, Vettel finishes P8 or lower

- Alonso P3, Vettel finishes P10 or lower

- If Alonso is off the podium, he CANNOT be champion.


(I did the old money calculations just for the hell of it)

Old points

Vettel – 112

Alonso – 106

Same rules apply as above (if they end up same score, then Vettel becomes champion). Interestingly in old money Vettel is a lot closer to the title.

In OLD MONEY, in order for Alonso to be the 2012 champion, Alonso MUST FINISH IN THE TOP 2, and Vettel MUST FINISH OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 5

Vettel will be champion if:

- Vettel finishes in the top 5

- Vettel finishes P6-P7, Alonso finishes P2 or lower

- Vettel finishes P8 or lower, Alonso finishes P3 or lower

Alonso will be champion if:

- Alonso wins, Vettel finshes P6 or lower

- Alonso finishes P2, Vettel finishes P8 or lower

You're welcome 😛


Thanks a lot,

I used to, and still do, love those kind of calculations with which to enter into the last race. We've been fortunate in the last couple of years to have a number of champion-deciding last of the season races (or even laps!), and it's nailbiting stuff to have those kind of 'what-if' scenarios on the right side of my screen whilst the race is on the left half. So thanks again!


After today, I wonder if we're possibly looking at a situation where Hamilton returns to McLaren in 2014? - a similar situation where Alonso returned to Renault after his move to McLaren in 2007?

McLaren are going to miss having a fantastic driver like Hamilton and Hamilton will miss having a team like McLaren, which he considers "home."

Can Hamilton, if he has a disappointing season in 2013 with Mercedes, say, "this isn't right for me," and go back to McLaren?


I'm sure there's a big possibility of Hamilton going back to McLaren eventually, but more likely as his swansong, not any time in the immediate future.


Alonso back to Renault happened because McLaren wanted to get rid of him, wouldn't mind taking Kovo in, Renault missed Alonso's speed so the two teams did a straight swap, without the need for Alonso to pay anything in breaking the contract.

Doubt 203-14 Hamilton back to McLaren would happen


Contracts are made to be broken, in a way. Remember how Button basically said "This isn't for me" in... what was it? 03? 04? And tried to sign back to Williams?


Watching Sky's coverage, I can't believe they didn't have any music by Stevie Ray Vaughan, an iconic Austin musician.


I agree with you totally, Austin has the best guitar players in the world.