We arrive in Austin this weekend with Mercedes Constructors World Champions and Lewis Hamilton just one race victory away from become a three-time Drivers World Champion, as long as Vettel doesn’t finish higher than third of course. After his dominance at the Russian Grand Prix following Nico Rosbergs throttle issues Hamilton has been coy on his chances of winning the World Championship here in Austin but with his impressive record of winning two out of three races here its hard to see any other outcome. Of course Vettel himself has also won here but that was during the Red Bull dominated years and with the Circuit Of The Americas lending itself to the cars with the most engine power its likely to be a Mercedes One two on the starting grid with Hamilton likely to pull away from the start.
Nico Rosberg knows that the Championship has once again passed him by with it being a case of when Hamilton will win the title and not if, so I do wonder if Mercedes will use Rosberg as a buffer between Hamilton and Vettel if himself and Hamilton do indeed start side by side on the grid or will they allow the team-mates to duel. I expect Hamilton would prefer the former but that will be a decision for Mercedes to make and who’s to say Rosberg will listen. Despite his
Taking into account the track layout and the cars that impressed here last season I suspect both Williams drivers will be vying for position at the top end of the pack along with at least one Force India and the second Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen, I would not be surprised if the Toro Rosso boys and Red Bull where there or there about having impressed in recent races. I am confident the top 3 will consist of Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg but the battle for the remaining points is wide open with any of the teams mentioned above capable of challenging for a good chunk of points. I doubt McLaren can back up their good result in Sochi despite them bring an upgraded engine to Texas but one of the cars in the points would be a good result for them at a track they are not really expected to do well at.
This is only the third year with have been in Austin so just like Sochi the practise sessions will be used to gain as much data as possible to help them during the race. Austin has 2 DRS Zones to aid over taking, the first is down the long pit straight up to a heavy braking point in turn 1, the second is an even longer straight between turn 11 and 12 just before a very technical part of the track.
This year Pirelli are bringing the Yellow marked Soft and the white marked medium compound tyres, this should help with the high track temperatures we are likely to see in Austin.
Sky Sports F1 schedule
Practice One: 15:45
Practice Two: 19:45
Practice Three: 15:45
Qualifying Build Up: 18:00
Qualifying Start: 19:00
Grand Prix Build Up: 17:30
Race Start: 19:00
So there you have it, all of the information you need to make the most out of the race weekend, a nice lay evening start of us UK race viewers so hopefully the race is worth the wait.
By: Chris Laker
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