Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP Results
Pos Driver
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Felipe Massa
3 Valtteri Bottas

Team-Mate Wars: US Grand Prix

Wednesday 20th November 2013


Team-Mate Wars: US Grand Prix

Team-Mate Wars: US Grand Prix

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate...

Red Bull Racing
Season: Sebastian Vettel 17 - Mark Webber 1
Go on, guess.

Race: Perez
Season: Jenson Button 12 - Sergio Perez 6
There's no question about it, Jenson's hit a slump. Another race start where he made contact with another car on the opening lap after a poor qualifying performance - carry on like this and he'll be asking for the phone number of Romain Grosjean's sports psychologist. Contrast that with Sergio Perez who felt the love from 40,000 Mexicans and put in a strong performance, both on Saturday and Sunday. With Sergio's drive at risk (and still no Mexican GP next year) you'd think it might be worth the USGP organisers chucking in a bit of sponsorship to secure Perez a drive next year - without him and Esteban there will be gaps in the crowd in 2014.

Race: Hamilton
Season: Lewis Hamilton 11 - Nico Rosberg 7
There are some in the paddock who think that 'the cracked tub' theory was just a device to re-set Lewis's mindset and get him thinking positively. (In case you missed it, Lewis was certain that there was something wrong with his car in Abu Dhabi and Mercedes engineers investigated it after the race and found a crack in his W04 tub) Whatever, it worked, and he was back to the happy smiling version after the race - although there were some fabulous sulky teenage tantrums en route. "That's what I'm doing man, let me focus."

Believe it or not, these are lyrics straight from the website Rap Genius. The artist 'Wale' has: "I ain't with the talking, see, I'm just trying to focus." Jay-Z is always going on about focus and likes to say: "I'm focused man." So Lewis wasn't actually being a surly git, he was just down with the kids, illuminating team radio with some Wale lyrics. How did we not guess.

Wale goes on to rap:

"Tats all on my arm, bitch all on my mind
I got stacks all in my charm"

That is so Lewis.

Don't talk to me, man: It's all Blue Peter's fault

Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 15 - Felipe Massa 3
One of the stats used to compare team-mates is the total number of grid places difference between the two of them over the season. This race Alonso banked a healthy seven places after qualifying 6th to Massa's 13th. So that's one metric in which Felipe might have got close but now won't.

Felipe had Rosberg and Button for company at the back, and although Rosberg edged his way towards the front, none of them was able to make the greatest of leaps forward.

Alonso was at his usual remorseless best, giving Hulkenberg his own private masterclass in how to attack and how to defend. And all this with back pain. Russians like to retreat to their dachas in the countryside, but Fernando has his casha in the motorhome and that's got to be as effective as any painkilling injection. You'd think.

Race: Grosjean
Season: Finns driving for Lotus 10 - Romain Grosjean 8
Heikki showed just how difficult it is to step into a new driver's seat and score points. He was slow off the line (though it was the dusty side) and lost more places on the opening lap. Then he got a mystery problem with his front wing which needed changing and his KERS failed. Still, he had shown that he could get the car into Q1, and qualifying in P8 compared to Grosjean in P3 is exactly the kind of performance ratio that his fellow Finn has been putting in for a while. The only difference is that Raikkonen moves forward and Heikki moved backward.

Grosjean put in an exceptional drive and resisted a mountain of pressure and the pooled ideas of the Red Bull team who were all chipping in strategy to the Mark Webber Overtaking Project. Denying Red Bull a successive 1-2 won't have been as satisfying as the drive itself, which was his best to date.

Force India
Race: Di Resta
Season: Paul di Resta 11 - Adrian Sutil 7
Paul di Resta did everything he needed to to put some 'employability' distance between himself and his team-mate. Force India probably lost the chance to challenge McLaren the minute Pirelli opted for the harder tyres in Austin.

With competent drivers, armed with financial backing, circling around the Force India team like sharks, both Di Resta and Sutil are under threat. It's a complete reversal of earlier in the season when Di Resta was anxious to get out and get on. Now he's anxious just to stay in. Given Force India's tendency to make late decisions this isn't going to be an easy three/four weeks for Paul.

Race: Hulkenberg
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 17 - Esteban Gutierrez 1
The big question is, in qualifying, did Sauber tell Gutierrez that Maldonado was coming up behind him? Because if they didn't, that's two catastrophic mistakes from the team in two races. We had the early release of Nico Hulkenberg in Abu Dhabi that got him a drive-through and a loss of points, and the ten-place grid penalty put an end to Gutierrez's chance of points in Austin.

Hulkenberg was again superb. Though he will have learned something from failing to grab fifth place off Alonso at the end.

Race: Bottas
Season: Maldonado 11 - Bottas 7
I think it might be true to say that Maldonado didn't do himself many favours in Austin. Certainly he won't be going to night-clubs with Adrian Sutil any time soon.

In regards to his allegation that Williams deliberately made his car slow, it was another Maldonado red mist moment. Normally they happen in the car. This one wasn't.

Bottas showed that the P3 qualifying performance in Canada wasn't a blip, and that he has a lot of potential. As former Williams CEO Adam Parr, who hired Bottas, said: "He's fast, but he's also quite cautious, which is a useful combination."

A much better combination than the other side of the garage which is fast and paranoid.

Torro Rosso
Race: Ricciardo
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 11 - Jean-Eric Vergne 7
Two differing strategies for the Toro Rosso drivers. Daniel got the good one because again he out-qualified JEV. Daniel got more useful miles on the clock, not too bad a start considering he started on the dusty side of the grid (they really should sort that out next year) losing a place to DiResta but gaining a place on Kovalainen - and then he kept the much faster Rosberg at bay till Lap 19. It wasn't so great to lose a point to Button, but he was fair when he could have been a lot more Maldonado about it.

Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 16 - Max Chilton 2
Even without the drive-through penalty for Max, Bianchi was a long way in front of Chilton in Austin.

Race: Van der Garde
Season: Giedo van der Garde 7 - Charles Pic 11
Giedo is finishing the season strongly and this race he had a lot of fun with Jules Bianchi, right to the flag. Given that Pic has now had two seasons at it you've got to think he should know what the blue flags mean by now.

The Kimi and Heikki Are Disappointed File: "After the pit stop I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on."

Star of the Race
Vettel 4, Grosjean 4, Alonso 2, Hamilton 2, Hulkenberg 2, Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Perez 1, Rosberg 1,

Overtaking Move of the Race
Raikkonen 6, Vettel 2, Grosjean 2, Button 2, Alonso 1, Bottas 1, Webber 1, Hamilton 1, Perez 1, Massa 1

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Exciting 13 - Dull 5

Sat on the Naughty Step
Van der Garde 2, Sutil 2, Stewards 2, Maldonado 2, Vettel 1, Red Bull 1, Gutierrez 1, Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 1, Hembery 1, Webber 1, Massa 1, Bianchi 1, Raikkonen 1,

Media Watch
We got a lesson in Geography from David Coulthard. The circuit may have only been in existence for two years, but already it's had a dramatic ecological impact.
DC "He goes wide on the artificial grass that holds a lot of the dust of this Texas region."

Andrew Davies

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

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