2016 United States Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Without some luck, a.k.a., a DNF, Hamilton has no chance to catch Rosberg.
EVENT: The racing gods paid back COTA for the miserable, miserable weekend last year with a picture perfect Texas autumn weekend. And the crowd responded.
TRACK: The stadium section (turn 12 and 15 grandstands) is still the best place to watch at this circuit.
QUALIFYING: With his back to the wall, Lewis once again "lays down the law," Haas disappoints at home, and Ferrari still doesn't have the speed.
START: No clutch problems for Hamilton, Rosberg plays it conservatively, Ricciardo plays it aggressively, and Hulkenberg gets caught in a sandwich.
RACE: Up front, it was a chess match; in the middle of the pack, it was a race.
HAMILTON: Lewis owns America.
ROSBERG: Nico did what he had to do.
MERCEDES: The pressure they are putting on themselves to make sure they provide equally reliable cars to their drivers after they won the constructors' title is exemplary.
RICCIARDO: Inadvertently hosed out of second place by his own teammate. But he did have the best helmet design of the year.
VERSTAPPEN: The gearbox failure helped mask his brain fart. But then he brought out the VSC which hurt his teammate.
VETTEL: Unlike the old days, this is why the race's fastest lap is a completely meaningless statistic.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi is never happy. But when he is genuinely unhappy...
FERRARI: Just when you thought the Scuderia couldn't find a new way to mess up a race...
ALONSO: Looked like the Fernando of old.
SAINZ: The fans who voted Verstappen the drive of the race must have been smoking some strong Dutch weed. Clearly, Carlos (or even Alonso) deserved that honor. To hold onto fifth as long as he did with a year old engine was simply spectacular.
MASSA: Keeps Williams in the constructors fight for fourth.
PEREZ: Sergio's "secondary" home race spoiled by a Russian.
GROSJEAN: Salvaged a point for the "home" team in what was otherwise a poor weekend for Haas.
PALMER: Frustrated all day by his "slower" teammate in their desperate fight to keep the last seat ... assuming either of them get to keep it.
NASR: For a guy who come onto the F1 scene with such promise, he's looking quite average lately with his "lesser" teammate challenging him all the time.
FORCE INDIA: And for some reason, they want Nasr for their available seat. Or, is Bernie working that deal to keep a Brazilian on the grid?
GUTIERREZ: Esteban hopes his brakes work a lot better next week. And not just because he is going home, but because he's trying to hang onto his ride.
TORO ROSSO: So, they decided to keep Kvyat for 2017 after all. Fair enough. Let's see what happens.
KVYAT: And then Daniil promptly goes out and has a miserable race once again punting someone off at the start.
RENAULT: So, they decided to hire their second choice for 2017. Fair enough. Let's see what happens.
HULKENBERG: No more excuses for Nico. This is a make it or break it move for his career.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Sunny.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 5 -- The number of times Lewis Hamilton has won in America and Canada, each.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Let's put the F1 statistical inflation in perspective. Hamilton just won his 50th grand prix. The great Juan Manuel Fangio in his entire career started 51 races and entered 52 (he didn't start the 1958 Cuban GP because he was kidnapped the night before the race). He won 24 of them for an amazing 42.15% winning percentage, the best ever, and 35 podiums (67.3%). Yet, because there were so few races in a season back then, Fangio still competed in enough years (eight) to win five driver titles. Hamilton has only won three.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen shows why the fans love his go for it all attitude when he responds to his team's request to take it easy to save the tires, "I'm not here to finish fourth!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: First, baseball player Roger Clemens invents the word "misremembered." Now, Daniel Ricciardo "adds" to the English language after articulating his frustration over losing a chance at second place because of the Virtual Safety Car, "That was a devestational moment."
SCHEDULE: The revival of the Mexican Grand Prix was a massive success. Hopefully, that trend continues this year.
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