2017 United States Thoughts
FIA: Consistency. Look it up in the dictionary. You dork brains.
THE BIG PICTURE: It's not so much that Verstappen was penalized. His pass was illegal by the rules. It's that drivers were running off the track during the entire race gaining various advantages, even if that advantage was to prevent someone from passing them or gaining faster exit speed. It would be like if a soccer referee allowed everyone to use their hands, and then in the last minute suddenly decided to call a penalty kick to decide the game.
LAUDA: When an executive on a different team stands up for the penalized driver, you know the decision was for the birds.
"THE PASS": Somewhere, Alex Zanardi is chuckling.
RACE: Lost in all this commotion was a fun, thrilling, entertaining race. Daring passes. Side by side dicing (even in the esses ... how the freaking hell can you pull that off?!). Back and forth swapping. Different strategy calls. Huge differential in tire performance so as not to know what the results would be until the checkered flag flew. (And even then positions changed...)
TRACK: Anybody who bitches about this track can no longer be a racing fan. Seriously. Just stop following the sport.
EVENT: A bit of American razzmatazz added. Nothing wrong with that. Unless you're one of those "get off my lawn" people.
QUALIFYING: Never in doubt for Hamilton, Vettel keeps Lewis somewhat honest, Stroll and Magnussen do some stupid driving, and once again grid penalties play havoc on the starting lineup.
START: Vettel does exactly what he needs to do. Everybody else slots in cleanly except surprise, surprise (NOT!) Magnussen gets into someone else, eventually knocking Wehrlein out of the race.
HAMILTON: You can take the crown out of the case, Lewis. Just don't quite put it on yet.
BOTTAS: Valtteri signs that new deal, and then just patooey.
MERCEDES: It was a bit tougher this year, but Mercedes does what Red Bull did before them -- take four constructors' titles in a row.
FERRARI: We applaud their strategy call on Vettel. They had to throw a Hail, Mary. They had no choice. In the end, it made no difference, positively or negatively. But they tried.
VETTEL: Ate up his tires trying to make the strategy work.
RAIKKONEN: What's that? I'm on the podium? Cool.
VERSTAPPEN: Penalty aside, Max did things with that car that were super human. Like him or not, he's a blast to watch.
RICCIARDO: DNF or not, Daniel's hands just keep getting fuller and fuller with Verstappen as his teammate.
RED BULL: It may give you wings, but right now they're blowing smoke out of their ears...
OCON: Another great race.
PEREZ: Complained his teammate was going too slow when Esteban was being held up by Massa. Complained his teammate was going too slow when Esteban was pulling away. Talk about grasping at straws.
FORCE INDIA: However, even with the headaches, they have a solid team of drivers.
SAINZ: A fantastic debut by Carlos at Renault.
HULKENBERG: Never had an opportunity to compare himself to his new teammate.
RENAULT: Definitely a stronger team with the current driver lineup. And they jumped back in front of Haas because of it.
MASSA: Another one of those invisible races for Felipe.
WILLIAMS: Kubica? Di Resta? Wehrlein? Massa? Who will be in that seat for 2018?
GASLY: Pierre is requested by Honda to skip a F1 race to attempt to win the Super Formula series where he trailed by half a point. Toro Rosso, Honda's future partner, agrees. Gasly goes to Japan. A typhoon hits Suzuka during qualifying forcing officials to cancel the rest of the weekend and declare Gasly's rival the champion. D'UH!
HARTLEY: But it provided us a chance to experience a feel good story with Brendon. He did himself proud under the circumstances. Well enough to be back at Mexico.
KVYAT: Give Daniil credit. Under trying circumstances the past few weeks, he didn't put a wheel wrong and drove a solid race for the final point.
TORO ROSSO: All of which muddies the waters in deciding which driver to put alongside Gasly in 2018.
ALONSO: Just accumulating the string of DNFs at this point.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Inconsistent.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 117 -- The number of career front row starts for Lewis Hamilton, surpassing Michael Schumacher's record.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Much has been made of Brendon Hartley being the first New Zealander in F1 since Mike Thackwell. Thackwell is the fourth youngest driver to qualify for a Grand Prix in 1980. Though, technically he did not start the Canadian GP because it was red flagged in the first lap, and he had to give up his car to a teammate who's car was damaged in the pileup. He then returned to Formula Two, eventually winning the 1984 title, before briefly returning to F1. In all, he only entered five F1 races, did not qualify in three of them and retired from the other two. He then tried CART, running the last two races in 1984 for Team Penske, filling in for the injured Rick Mears, finishing 18th and 20th.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen was at least polite enough to ask in the post race bullpen interview area, "Am I allowed to curse?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sebastian Vettel summarizing what will ultimately cost him the championship, "Looking back at the races where we gave presents away doesn't help."
SCHEDULE: Lots of storylines heading into Mexico. Will Ocon dare challenge Perez at home? Will Verstappen have vengeance on his mind? Will Bottas get out of his funk? Will Sainz and Hulkenberg have the chance to duel? Will Hartley stake a claim for a ride? And will Hamilton and Vettel just go at each other for the sheer fun of it since the title is essentially decided?
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