2021 United States Grand Prix Blog
Firstly, we’d like to say what an amazing time we’ve had in Austin. The weather, the food, the people, it has all been superb. For anyone who hasn’t visited this part of the world, we highly recommend it!
Now let’s focus on the real business at hand, the Grand Prix. Red Bull opted for a bold strategy, but it paid off as Max Verstappen won the race and he now holds a 12-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship. “We were very aggressive,” said Verstappen afterwards. He’s not wrong. With such early pit stops (Lap 10 and Lap 29) it left Lewis Hamilton with tyres which were eight laps fresher come the end of the race. It seemed inevitable that the Mercedes would reel in its prey, but Verstappen kept his nerve, managed his tyres, and held out for an excellent victory. The Dutchman was also voted ‘Driver of the Day’, and deservedly so.
Neutral fans around the world will have appreciated the ‘two stop’ strategy that COTA demands. The different variables this creates means that nobody, the F1 teams included, can be exactly sure how things will pan out. Despite starting second, Hamilton had a dream getaway and claimed the lead from Verstappen at the first corner. This was not in Red Bull’s game plan. They opted for the undercut and pitted Max very early, leaving Mercedes with no choice but to do a long stint and hope that Lewis could close him down before the end of the race.
It was an absorbing contest, proving once again just how closely these two teams are matched. Lewis Hamilton does not go down without a fight. He said afterwards: “I really thought for a second we might be able to win, I gave it absolutely everything out there.” Make no mistake, Lewis will have pushed the Mercedes as hard as he possibly could yesterday. It speaks volumes that Verstappen finished 42 seconds, and Hamilton 41 seconds, clear of third placed Sergio Perez. In his interview afterwards Checo said: “That was the hardest and longest race of my life.” The other two were on a different level.
But this season is not all about Red Bull and Mercedes. We have a fascinating contest developing between Ferrari and McLaren, and it seemed all four of their drivers were battling with each other throughout the race. On this occasion Ferrari just came out on top with Leclerc (P4) and Sainz (P7), compared to McLaren who had Ricciardo (P5) and Norris (P8). Mattia Binotto was certainly pleased, saying: “We leave Austin having demonstrated, both in qualifying and in the race, that we have made progress even on a track that, on paper, is not particularly suited to our car.” McLaren still hold a very slender 3.5-point lead over the Scuderia though and they won’t go down without a fight.
Alpine had a race they will want to forget, with both cars retiring. AlphaTauri are lurking only 10 points behind them in the Constructors’, and they will have been encouraged by Yuki Tsunoda’s 9th place finish. The Japanese driver needed a confidence boost and was clearly pleased, saying: “It’s been a good day, I’ve managed to score some important points for the team in the championship, so I’m really happy with that.”
The F1 roadshow now moves onto Mexico City in two weeks’ time. Hermanos Rodriguez is a tight winding circuit which has historically favoured Red Bull. It is also 2,238m above sea level. We have been starting to see some reliability issues as engines reach the end of their lives. Don’t be surprised if this trend continues.
With 5 races remaining the question on everyone’s lips is will it be Lewis or Max who finally lifts the trophy? We still have some fantastic hotel and hospitality options available for the F1 season finale. If you’d like to join us in Abu Dhabi to see for yourself, please call +44 207 107 1640 or email: email@example.com.