e: enquiries @ wdmc.org.uk
Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Hamilton Makes History

Lewis Hamilton took victory at the U.S grand prix and in doing so, ensured a third World Championship, becoming the first British driver to successfully defend his title. He also joins an elite list of drivers, including his idol, Ayrton Senna in winning three championships. Nico Rosberg finished second after a mistake cost him victory, and the chance to extend the championship race for a further week. Sebastian Vettel took third after coming through from 14th, with Max Verstappen taking a fantastic fourth. Sergio Perez finished fifth with Jenson Button taking a brilliant sixth place. Carlos Sainz, who started last, finished behind Button in seventh, with Pastor Maldonado eighth, Felipe Nasr ninth and Daniel Ricciardo rounding off the top ten. It could have been all so different at the front however, with changeable conditions from the start and virtual safety cars and individual errors. Ultimately though, the day belonged to Hamilton, who took his tenth victory of the season.

The whole weekend in Austin had been a complete washout, with qualifying not taking place until the Sunday morning, and even then the rain was still coming down hard. The session only got as far as Q2, where the conditions were deemed unsafe. Nico Rosberg took pole position ahead of Hamilton; but with the race only hours later, the forecast was that the rain would pass and we could go racing.

When the time for the race came, it was still very damp, with everyone starting off on the intermediate tyre. With a tricky first corner on the cards, it was Hamilton who got to turn one first, but with a seemingly over aggressive move on Rosberg, forcing the German off track. This saw him drop down into fifth place behind the Red Bull pair of Dani Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez’s Force India. In the damper conditions, it was the Red Bull’s that looked more comfortable, with Kvyat taking the lead from Hamilton with ease, but ran wide and surrendered that lead before the first virtual safety car of the day occurred.

When the racing resumed, the track began to dry out and drivers started to struggle with the intermediates. Ricciardo wasn’t struggling however, and breezed past the struggling Hamilton for the lead. Hamilton’s struggles then allowed Rosberg past for second before drivers started pitting for dry tyres. The dry tyres saw the Red Bull charge dwindle, and both Rosberg and Hamilton resumed a Mercedes one-two, with Rosberg leading and pulling a gap to Hamilton. A safety car period caused by Nico Hulkenberg’s broken Force India brought Hamilton back into the play, only for a second virtual safety car to hamper Hamilton again, as he stayed out and Rosberg pitted for fresh tyres. This wasn’t the last twist in this race however, as a heavy crash from Kvyat brought out the safety car again, allowing Hamilton to pit without losing position and able to challenge Rosberg. On fresh rubber, Hamilton put pressure on Rosberg and forced him into an unforced error, costing him victory and the opportunity make Hamilton wait another week at least for his title.


Sainz and Verstappen Talent Shines Again

Many people pay so much attention to the fact that Red Bull have threatened to quit F1 next year if they can’t get a competitive engine deal. What many people haven’t seemed to pay attention to is the fact that that pull-out could also have an effect on Toro Rosso. Don’t get me wrong, there has been whisperings of their future as well but not on the scale that it should be on.

This is a team with so much talent it would be an absolute travesty is it wasn’t on the grid next season. The U.S grand prix was a prime example of the sheer talent the team possess. Obviously, it isn’t the only time this season that we have seen both drivers drive tremendous races, but it just highlights what the team itself brings to the grid.

Max Verstappen will be a World Champion one day that much is clear; his 4th place in the U.S grand prix was another testament to how good he is. When everyone was struggling in the damp conditions, Verstappen kept control and drove a brilliant race. Carlos Sainz, despite a few silly errors, especially speeding in the pit lane, finished a solid seventh place. This was after starting last on the grid! Had he not have had a time penalty, he would have finished sixth. Again, his on track overtakes and coolness behind the wheel is something that can’t be ignored. Like I have said before, it is just a pity for him that Verstappen is his team mate this year. Hopefully, this team will be here next year because this would be a colossal waste of talent.

Sauber Celebrate 400th GP Weekend

It wasn’t just Lewis Hamilton celebrating a milestone at the U.S grand prix. Sauber celebrated their 400th GP weekend, a magnificent achievement for the small team from Switzerland, who have been in the sport since 1993. The team has had many ups and downs over the last 22 years, but still have a rich history within the sport. Many great drivers have driven for them over the years, including former World Champion Jacque Villeneuve, although he wasn’t to be the driver to deliver the teams first, and only win in F1. Under the BMW guise, Robert Kubica stepped up on a crazy and dramatic day at the 2008 Canadian GP, and headed a BMW Sauber one-two with team mate Nick Heidfeld.

When BMW left the sport at the end of 2009, Peter Sauber bought back control of the full team. It has been a difficult five years financially for the team, who have never made any secret of this. Despite this, on track they have had some very strong performances, most notably in Malaysia 2012, where Sergio Perez probably should have won the race, only to be beaten to the flag by Fernando Alonso and ended up second. The team has done brilliantly with the limited resources at its disposal, and I’m sure that they will be racing against the odd for many more years to come.

Here’s to another 400 GP weekends.

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simons blog here

© Copyright, Whickham and District Motor Club Limited 2022 Website Powered By tmb