Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

tiistai 25. lokakuuta 2016

US GP: A broken wheel nut destroyed Kimi´s race!

US GP turned out to be quite a dramatic race, and unfortunately not in a positive way. The start was interesting, as both Red Bull´s Verstappen and the Mercedes duo started on the more durable soft tyres, whereas all other top ten drivers started on the super softs. In spite of the tyre choice, Hamilton on pole got a fantastic start and held on to the lead. Teammate Rosberg, on the other hand, lost a position to Red Bull´s Ricciardo, who stormed to second. Kimi got a stunning start from P5 and managed to get past Verstappen. There was a first-turn incident between Williams´ Bottas and Force India´s Hulkenberg. The German damaged his front wing due to the collision, and Bottas suffered a puncture. Hulkenberg had to retire the race only a few laps later.

Both Kimi and Ricciardo pitted already on lap 8 -both for a fresh set of soft tyres. Also Verstappen drove into the pits a lap later, although he had started to the race on the yellow-marked soft tyres. Another set of soft tyres for the "Flying Dutchman" as well. Rosberg, on the other hand, pitted a couple of laps later -for white-marked medium tyres. Teammate Hamilton opted for soft tyres, different to his teammate. Kimi´s pace had seemed superb on the super soft compound, but after the pit stop the Finn´s pace suddenly disappeared. He was in serious trouble with Verstappen, who got his chance on lap 13. Unfortunately there was nothing the Iceman could do to prevent the Dutch teenager overtake him. Sebastian was now leading the race -until he pitted on lap 15 for a fresh set of soft Pirellis as well.

Verstappen was absolutely flying, and he put serious pressure on Rosberg, who was third in the race. The passionate Dutchman was told on the team radio to take it easier not to destroy his tyres. Max responded to his team by saying, that he wasn´t racing to finish fourth. He definitely has the right attitude!

The second pit stop roulette saw different tyre strategies. Kimi pitted already on lap 25 and opted for another set of super soft tyres. This meant, that the Iceman most probably was on a three-stop strategy. Ricciardo on the other hand, pitted for a fresh set of medium tyres. He had every chance to make it to the chequered flag on that set of tyres. On lap 27 there was a bizarre episode, as Verstappen drove into the pits, but the pit crew wasn´t ready at all! The miscommunication issue cost Max over 10 seconds! Unfortunately the failed pit stop was only the beginning of setbacks for the young Dutchman. Soon after the pit stop an engine issue hit his RB12 like a lightning, and Max was out of the race!

Virtual safety car was deployed due to Max´s retirement, and both Mercedes pilots drove into the pits. They opted for medium Pirellis, which meant, that they were going till the end on those tyres. Ricciardo was quite gutted for Mercedes´ "free" pit stop, as the Australian had pitted already some laps earlier. After virtual safety car had ended, Hamilton was leading the race with teammate Rosberg second. Ricciardo was third, Kimi fourth and Sebastian fifth. At this point it seemed like a strong performance for Ferrari. I was proven wrong....

Kimi pitted for the third time on lap 39 for a new set of soft tyres. But what a catastrophic turn the pit stop turned out to be! The mechanic had a problem with attaching Kimi´s rear-right tyre; nevertheless the Iceman was released from the pits normally. But the team noticed their error immediately and told Kimi to stop at the pit exit. What a sad sad sight it was to see Kimi reversing his SF16-H in the pit lane! Such a mistake should never have happened! Kimi was driving an excellent race; he would have brought valuable points for the red team, especially as one Red Bull was already out of the race! But things like this sometimes happen in motor racing... No matter how bitter and disappointing it feels!

There was a wheel-banging fight for P5 on the closing laps. Toro Rosso´s Sainz, Williams´ Massa and McLaren´s Alonso were all within DRS distance from each other. Alonso saw his chance to overtake Massa, but the manoeuvre ended up in a collision. Massa suffered a puncture and had to have an extra pit stop, which cost him valuable positions. On the very last lap Alonso attacked Sainz and managed to snatch P5 from his compatriot. An utterly excellent race from both Spaniards on Texas soil.

So Hamilton won, and teammate Rosberg made it a 1-2 for Mercedes by finishing the runner-up. Ricciardo completed the podium. Sebastian drove a flawless race and finished 4th. Such a pity that the German´s pace wasn´t quite enough to have made it on the podium! Alonso finished 5th, Sainz 6th and Massa dropped down to 7th due to his extra pit stop. Perez, Button and Grosjean completed the top ten. Once again it was Ricciardo, who knew, how to put up a hilarious show on the podium. This time the "Smiling Avenger" made podium interviewer Gerard Butler do a shoey with Red Bull!

In spite of Hamilton´s victory, Rosberg still has a 26-point lead in the drivers´ championship standings with only three more rounds to go. Round 19 is just round the corner -next weekend. I still believe in the red team. Every new race offers a new opportunity for the red team to take the battle to Red Bull and Mercedes! I have faith in Ferrari -always.

P.S. You can read my article on the race weekend also here:

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti