Formula One touches down Stateside for the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas this weekend.
For one driver and his team, the American dream is within their grasp, should results go their way.
Lewis Hamilton enters this race knowing that by Sunday evening, he could have his fourth F1 title if luck stays with him like it has done since Belgium.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel however stands in his way of sealing the championship at the first opportunity.
Here is how the title permutations stand for this weekend.
- If Hamilton wins, Vettel must finish sixth or lower for the title to be sealed.
- If Hamilton is second, Vettel must finish ninth or higher to deny him a fourth title.
- Third or lower for Hamilton and the championship goes to Mexico regardless of what Vettel does.
Change at Toro Rosso
This weekend sees a double driver change for Toro Rosso.
Carlos Sainz finally makes his loan switch to Renault, after the French constructor reached a deal to release Jolyon Palmer early from his contract.
That means that Daniil Kvyat comes back in to replace him, having sat out Malaysia and Japan for Pierre Gasly.
Gasly himself too is missing, having decided to head back to Super Formula and potentially win that championship.
So in comes Brendon Hartley for his F1 debut.
The young New Zealander, used to be Mercedes’ reserve and test driver but never broke through into F1 till now.
With the team fighting Williams for fifth, this late upheaval isn’t probably ideal but its great to see a team experiment ahead for 2018 by giving various drivers a proper race weekend run.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how Hartley does on his F1 debut compared to Gasly, who did alright but hardly set the race alight en route to 15th at Sepang.
Mixed tyre choice
Mercedes and Ferrari have gone for different Pirelli tyre choices as the constructor battle heats up.
Both teams have taken seven ultra softs but the split come in the super soft and soft tyre selections.
Valtteri Bottas and Vettel have gone for four sets of the super softs and two soft compound tyres.
Hamilton however has split his selection equally so he has three of each tyre alongside the seven ultra softs.
Kimi Raikkonen rather interestingly has just one soft tyre available with five sets of the super softs.
In the midfield battle, there are a lot of split tyre strategies with two teams opting for the same strategy.
Toro Rosso and Renault have both gone for the same strategy of two softs, three super softs and eight sets of the ultra soft tyres. How pivotal could that strategy be in term of the midfield battle, given the former’s driver change as well?
Below, you can see each driver’s tyre selection and the ultra softs are now pink this weekend, to help raise awareness of breast cancer.
Missed any of the previous race round ups or the half term report? Click on the relevant link below and you can get up to speed.
- Half Term