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US Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Nov 2013   |  12:05 pm GMT  |  169 comments

Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel became the first driver in history to win eight consecutive grands prix in a single season with a comfortable victory in the US Grand Prix in Austin.

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean scored his fourth podium in five races with second while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took a strong fourth – his best finish since the Belgium Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso battled back pain and a bad start to finish fifth while Valtteri Bottas scored the first points of his F1 career with eighth for Williams.

But who was your Driver of the Day?

Sebastian Vettel

Took his eighth successive victory and 12th of the season. Made a decent getaway from pole and fended off any challenge into the first corner. Managed the pack well at the restart after the safety car to keep the lead and from there controlled the race at the front. Kept a consistent pace throughout the race to look after the tyres and took the fastest lap by a large margin with a couple of laps remaining. Sealed his 38th career victory and Red Bull’s 46th.

Romain Grosjean

Continued strong form with sixth podium of the season. Got away well from the clean side of the track to jump ahead of Mark Webber into second on the exit of Turn One. Couldn’t match Vettel’s pace at the front, but defended his position well from Webber throughout the race. Pitted last of the leaders to maintain track position and from there managed his race well to score his fourth podium in five races to consolidate seventh place in the drivers’ standings.

Lewis Hamilton

Secured his best result since the Belgium Grand Prix in August. Started fifth, but passed Nico Hulkenberg and Mark Webber at the start to run third. Struggled with tyrewear in his opening stint and eventually lost a place to Webber to drop to fourth. Showed consistent pace from there on to build a gap to those behind him, but didn’t have the pace to challenge for the podium. Finished fourth for his best result in seven races and helped Mercedes increase their lead over Ferrari in the battle for second place in the constructors’ championship.

Fernando Alonso

Battled back pain to finish fifth for the second successive race. Had a bad start from sixth, dropping a place at the start for only the third time this season. Put consistent pressure on Sergio Perez before passing the Mexican for sixth. Passed Nico Hulkenberg for fifth and then resisted pressure from the German in the closing stages to hold on for his 16th points finish in 18 races.

Valtteri Bottas

Scored his first F1 points in his rookie season with eighth. Impressed in qualifying with his best performance in dry conditions to start ninth. Made a good start and ran comfortably in the points as the Williams showed improved pace having ditched their Coanda exhaust configuration. Showed his racecraft with a brilliant move on Esteban Gutierrez out of Turn One and in Turn Two on his way to eighth place and four world championship points.

Click here to vote for your Driver of the Day in Austin.

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1

1 GRO

2 VET

3 HUL

– BOT

2

James

Can we have a car of the day thread?

Suppose there is no point?

3

We should have Most Suppressed Talent of the Day…

It would be between:

Hamitlon, Alonso, Kimi, etc… Vettel and Button would be pretty low down…

I can’t believe current F1 is wasting the best racing talents in lame cars and presenting mediocre drivers as WDCs…

F1 could have been amazing, if only the real talents were let loose…

4

“F1 could have been amazing, if only the real talents were let loose…”

Yes that’s the whole point. And the reason why people are going to stop watching.

5

While you’re waiting for the COTD thread, why not have a Red Bull? 😉

7

Hello James,

I was at the US GP and had a great view of turn 15, through the twisty back section of the racetrack.

Given my vantage point, Sebastian Vettel was by far the driver of the day.

Vettel was beyond comparison for speed & consistency. Seeing his performance really changed my view of him as a driver and of the season in general.

Before this race I was in the camp of “great car, ok driver”. But his consistency and speed made me realize how good he really is.

Vettel took a different line into turn 15 than just about every other driver and hit the the apex EVERY lap. His turn in was more aggressive, his consistency was perfect & his speed out of the corner was amazing. Vettel was on the gas on or before the apex, whereas everyone else was getting hard on the gas a car length out of the exit – quite remarkable to see the difference & made it obvious why Webber & the others loose lap time to Vettel.

Mark Webber, as well as Alonso, Hamilton, and the rest of the pack, missed the apex many times during the race (is that the driver or the car causing the inconsistency?).

There remains the argument from some that its the car making Vettel look good, but seeing Vettels race-craft obliterates that argument.

An amazing driver and definitely the driver of the day.

8
Clarks4WheelDrift

Good insight, no doubt Seb’s style on these tyres blows Webber away, plus Webber has the double whammy of tyre wear from following others. Then again he shouldn’t have blown his Q3 lap throwing away 3 tenths in the final sector.

It’s not superior skill that gives him the much better cornering speed over everyone else, it’s the superior aero downforce glueing him to the apex every time.

9

His car is on rails – driving on train tracks will make anyone look good… its staged, in Vettel’s favour.

10

Vettel is good alright, but until now no one can explain the sound his car made accelarating out of corners, and in the eye of experts, the sound looks to be TRACCION CONTROL…. (I am no expert of course) ok, I read somewhere in this web page, that it was impossible to have traccion control in this day and age, but still, can somebody explain what the sound was/is? and if it did help Vettel coming out of corners faster…

Also, Hamilton expressed his concerns regarding this too, and he is no fool, so what it is then.

11

Thanks for the input

This goes back to what we wrote by way of insight into Vettel’s opening stint in Abu Dhabi

Once clear of the DRS 1 second, he drives a burst of laps with great precision to build the gap and then maintains it

He clearly enjoys that, because he wants to carry on and his engineer has to keep holding him back to preserve tyres etc.

Who can blame him? It’s a wonderful car, but as you say, you have to see him in the flesh hitting his marks every time to appreciate that he’s dancing with that car.

It’s a shame that people dis him because they don’t like him from a distance, but there it is; he hasn’t helped himself in that respect out of the car, although he does seem to be trying a bit harder now to connect with people

12

On a plane back home to Minneapolis after another great USGP in TX.

Surprised not to see Perez on the list. He outperformed for the piece of junk he was driving. While on the subject of Perez, after spending another weekend down here surrounded by passionate Mexican fans, most of whom were sporting McL apparel, I can’t help but think that dropping him so quickly was a major dropped bollock for the team. Commercially, the Mexican contingent is very significant and they always got behind Sergio and McL in a way that is very impresssive IMO. It appears that they are now very disillusioned with the team. McL prides themselves on being a meritocracy, great, but if next year’s car is crap again they may rue the lost revenues and moral support from the fantastic MX fans. No disrespect to the Danes or KM, but they have very big shoes to fill. I’m not quite sure how Whitmarsh hasn’t already been fired, but a year from now, barring an extreme turnaround in the car, his pathetic words justifying the dropping of Sergio and his even more pathetic comments about how we was ringing other teams to help him find a seat (gimme a break) are going to sound even more hollow. I know, KM may well be a better driver than SP, but SP has hardly been given a fair chance yet.

Secondly, this was the most boring GP I have ever witnessed, but I still loved every minute of it. Thank you Austin, thank you COTA. I realize that if I still enjoyed this weekend, I will be back every year for years to come. COTA, last year was good, this year was better, you should be proud of what you have achieved. Unbelievable.

Third comment, a little odd, my GF, first-timer at the race this year, pointed out how many fans, if not most, seem to support a variety of teams (Ferrari cap, Lotus shirt, Caterham jacket, etc). She’s right, it seems that most fans at COTA are just F1 fans more than anything. I think that’s an interesting comment on the sport. FTR I’m a big fan of Lewis and Fernando, but also have huge respect for every other driver and team. Perhaps that’s why there’s so much frustration among fans in general when we see one driver/team being so dominant. Most of us would rather see a close, riveting season than one particular favorite team or driver win.

13

DOTD – Bottas!

That overtake on Esteban was awesome.

Finally got his first F1 points.

14

Vettel. Seb is right we must appreciate these days. As a Vettel fan it doesn’t get much better than this.

15

Hi James,

You say Vettel was “managing tyres”, but I can see just two options here:

1) He was not, as he was setting best lap after fast lap, and the RBR team saying to him to stop doing that. It was like Brazil teo years ago, when RBR was saying Vettel was having problems, and he was doing fastest lap one after the other.

2) He can do fastest laps with his car even managing the tyres. Well, if so, he is the best ever ever driver of the planet… or he has the best car by a mile. 😉

Another interesting thing is this: everyone in the front (I do remember the first five), where lapping the “same” lap times. Really, I was looking at racecontrol, and the sector times were the same… exception for Vettel and Webber lapping sometimes almost a second better even everyone in the same strategy. Seems like RBR have the best drivers F1 ever had…

16

Think you have a number of crossed wires there in your conclusion!

17

Don’t know if you could call him DOTD, but surely Bottas should be BOFA (breath of fresh air) since he’s not normally on the short list of usual suspects.

18

I think Bottas was the DOTD. Scoring 8th in a car that only managed 1 point all season until then and obliterated his more experienced team mate.

‘Shake n bake baby’ is still the man, and comes second in my mind. Grosjean third.

19

Not sure I enjoyed this GP, race wasn’t the best but the FIA video production *got* in the way. Stupid rotating cameras gradually sliding what you want to see away from you coupled with consistent rubbish editing.

Plus they should have given the podium posse the Stratton hats like last year – they looked nonplussed with the pirelli caps – like the pirelli tyres.

20

I am giving it to Vettel. He did a fantastic job.

I have a feeling something was troubling him this weekend. He was not his normal self. Even on the podium he seems to be looking down and mumbling something. Whatever it was, he managed to concentrate on the race and deliver.

May be James spotted something during the interviews??

21
Mike from Colombia

Could Gary Anderson please disclose the reason for hs dislike of Hamilton?

He seems to manage to turn around any incident regarding Hamilton into a negative.

As man of Gary’s experience should do better than this.

22

I work closely with Gary on BBC Radio 5 Live and I’ve not detected that.

23

I have to go with Grosjean, splitting the RedBulls is no simple task. I think the further up the grid you are, the more difficult it is to make ever decreasing gains, so Grosjean over Bottas in my humble opinion, but just barely.

Bottas definitely put in a great showing though, so kudos to him. I can’t wait to see what he looks like if he ever gets a front running car under him.

I also loved watching Alonso fight for position. His final overtake of Hulckenburg through turn 1 was awesome. Alonso has mastered that line.

On a side note, did anyone else notice the wheelspin differences coming out of that corner between the Ferrari and the Sauber? Two solid black strips from Alonso’s Ferrari (nice long ones too!) and a dotted line from the Sauber who has increased their corner exit considerably of late. Did Sauber find some magic RedBull not-traction-control?

24

F1 cars hide driver skill too much – driver of the day is becoming pointless, until we can actually see raw driving skill on display.

This should be renamed: Best Tyre Preserver of the Day.

25

1. Vettel

Did everything right: pole position, fastest lap, victory. Can’t argue with that!

2. Bottas

Very mature drive. Conserved tyres when it was necessary, went fast when he had to.

3. Rosberg.

Failed to qualify well, but recovered well with some spectacular overtaking moves.

4. Grosjean

No fireworks, just a measured drive. He has grown very much!

26

Vettel. yawn

27

Grosjean. He really drove brilliantly. Though he couldn’t catch up Seb who is on another plantet anyway, he managed to keep Mark at bay for all the race. In the final laps, when Mark was catching a sec a lap, it looked like he’s gonna be overtaken in the first place. Then, he picked up his speed, maintain the gap. It was just like he was reserving his tyre, controling the pace, monitoring all the condition. Pit must have helped a lot. But he really drive like a champ. Really like him more and more recently. I wish Lotus could provide him a good machine for the championship next year.

Bottas. So excited to see him beat his team mate in the championship.

The race between Hulk, Lewis and Fernando is really exciting and they all drove very well. I wish Hulk could find a good home next year. He really deserves a top team.

Seb was just too good to compare to the others. He’s on another planet or even another league anyway. He drove like another league, that’s really fantastic~~~

28
The Spanish Inquisitor

Grosjean 100%

29

Okey, enough is enough. It amazes me how people is so much influenced by car performance, and can not extrapolate that when judging driver performance. I said it several times already.

Almost no one mentioned Hamilton and Alonso, the ones who actually performed at the highest level this weekend. Their pace was above the rest of the field. Just look what they did with their teammates both in quali and the race. Rosberg and Massa are both at a sweet spot at the moment and racing amazingly well. But they were obliterated by these two beasts.

How can Grosjean and Vettel performances been mentioned as the best if we had Alonso and Hamilton specially, but also Hulkemberg and Bottas, and probably Perez, driving at a higher level, is beyond me. The difference pace wise between Grosjean and Kovalainen was smaller than that between Hamilton and Rosberg and Alonso and Massa. Kovalainen is an average driver that has just stepped in that Lotus, he actually did pretty well in qualifying compared to Grosjean, given the circumstances.

Vettel struggled for pace the whole qualifying, and did pole position because Webber made an error in the last sector. Then in the race he did not have competition, he did not even drive at more than 90% in the whole race. Webber is driving really poorly this season, for me one of the worst performances of the grid. Doing what he is doing race after race with that rocket he is driving is an aberration. I know it is hard to hear, and I too like the guy, but it is the way it is.

I am not saying Vettel and Grosjean did badly, they drove really well because they are good drivers, great in the case of Vettel. But man, there were other drivers performing at a higher level, and not precisely by an small amount.

I think it is sad that such amazing performances in the case of Alonso and Hamilton have been overlooked, at least in this site. They were in a level of their own this weekend. And Alonso’s overtakes at the first corner were beautifully executed, not to mention his defense against Hulkemberg at that same corner, with no tyres left, or the perfect execution by driver and team to get past Perez during the pit stops.

30

Great points! I do think Grosjean did fantastically well to split the RedBulls, he drove a perfect race and held off Webber to P2. The gains to be had at the pointy end of the grid are so small that you have to be perfect to take anything away from RedBull at the moment.

That being said, Alonso and Hamilton drove brilliantly (but isn’t that expected?) Alonso has perfected the over-under out of turn 1 (Curva Alonso?). I loved his overtake on Hulkenburg, two long black stripes coming out of Curva Alonso, good stuff! The Sauber had a little bit of the RedBull “wheel hop” coming out of that corner though… t/c?

I can’t imagine what Hamilton has been going through thinking his form may have been off in the past few races. Glad to see they have sorted his car out. Hopefully he will have a car that allows him to shine next year.

31

Interesting point on the traction of the Sauber. I will be looking at it, but it was clear since Corea that they have very good traction out of slow corners. It really does not say anything good of Ferrari, as Sauber has Ferrari engines, and we know these days traction is achieved with exhaust blowing… Marc Gene, a Ferrari reserve driver, was saying in Austin that he didn’t understand (and was a bit painful for Ferrari) how the Sauber could be faster than the Ferrari if they use the same engine. Amazing that Sauber engineers understand blown diffusers better than Ferrari engineers.

32

Tough call between Vettel and Grosjean for me . Special mention for Bottas. Btw who is Bottas’ teammate?

33
Clarks4WheelDrift

It’s that top bloke from South America…

Massa 😉

34

I vote for Grosjean. Honorable mention to Bottas.

I can’t see how you included Ham and Alonso in the selections. I get the British thing but seriously.

35
Clarks4WheelDrift

It’s right to include them both. Not as obvious as RomGro or ValBot…

Alonso because of his excellent overtakes and racecraft. For recovering fron the dirty side of the grid in a rotten looking Ferrari. For going for it on the tyres before everyone else the end, bucking the save the tyres concepts, gaining the positions and holding Hulk with skill at the end. For making the race more interesting and for thumping his teammate.

Hamilton beacuse after the recent tyre dropoffs and bleating over the radio, most people are gobsmacked he managed to manage his tyres and make it to the end. Lucky to start on the clean side of the grid in p5 so he could take p4 and p2 at the start but he also for beating his teammate, man!

36

On reflection, I accept your Alonso arguement. He did make it more interesting and had a decent battle with Hulk, who is no slouch himself. That dirty side of the grid really did come into play. Webber’s start wasn’t all that bad by his own low standards yet he was swamped by 2 into turn 1. Both from the clean side? He soon took Ham back which only goes to show how pathetic the FIA directed tyres are when a guy like Ham can’t race in the first few laps.

Thanks for your reply.

37
Darrin from Canada

Because Alonso is so darn British 🙂

38

The race was so boring that I have chosen ….

Kimi Raikkonen.

39

Bernd Maylander, as he was the only guy able to get in front of Vettel all day.

40

Vettel is DOTD, he spanked the field yet again. Grosjean didn’t have a chance.

Grosjean 2nd for dicing with Webber.

Hulkenberg 3rd for putting in a good performance.

Bottas honorable mention, though that Williams is much improved after dumping the exhaust. I expect Williams to have an upturn next year.

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