2019 US Grand Prix Review

Lewis Hamilton sealed his sixth Formula One title after a dramatic US Grand Prix weekend. (Image credit: Steve Etherington)

After a dramatic Mexican Grand Prix last weekend, Formula One headed up to Austin, Texas as Lewis Hamilton looked to finally seal his sixth title at the 2019 US Grand Prix. 

Hamilton needed just four points irrespective of where Valtteri Bottas finished in order to seal the title, which set up a gripping weekend as teams also got to test 2020 tyres in Friday Practice.

Down the order, a four way fight fourth continued to rumble on so without further delay, here is how everyone fared this weekend. 

 

Mercedes

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Race results: Lewis Hamilton – 2nd, Valtteri Bottas – 1st

Mercedes will be relieved to have both championships now in the bag for a sixth consecutive season, after quite an unusual weekend by their standards.

Uncharacteristically both cars were straight out onto the track in FP1 and spent the majority of Friday focused on understanding next season’s tyres, which suggests that their priority is already now on 2020 and how to ensure that their car engages with the tyres. 

That however did seem to affect how much time was spent on understanding the current tyres during their race simulation, which ultimately told in the race with Bottas’ two stopper proving the best strategy unlike Hamilton’s one stopper as the pair were allowed to race each other without team orders. 

Hamilton however clung onto second which was enough for a sixth title and whilst he didn’t win it in style, there is the comfort of a ninth one-two finish for the team which underlines their overall dominance of F1. 

Mercedes will overall consider this weekend a great job well done because they not only got pole and dominated the race, but also plenty of data on next year’s tyres to work with going forwards. 

 

Ferrari

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Race results: Charles Leclerc – 4th, Sebastian Vettel – Retired

What a disappointing weekend for Ferrari because like Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, they were on the pace all weekend but their race pace ultimately undid their hard work. 

Both drivers simply didn’t have any pace on the mediums in their opening stint coupled with slow starts, although Vettel did have massive understeering issues which plagued him until his right rear suspension suddenly broke on lap eight when going over the bumps at Turn Eight.

It is therefore just pure bad luck that Vettel was the only driver to experience that type of the issue with the bumps and particularly in the race, which hopefully won’t be present next year after major resurfacing work is completed over the winter. 

Leclerc meanwhile struggled on his mediums so badly that he was running his own race in fourth to the flag, despite taking the point for fastest lap after switching to softs late on which softened the blow of a dire race. 

Ferrari however will bounce back from this because the last two races should suit their car unless further end of season bad luck continues to strike. 

 

Red Bull

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Race results: Max Verstappen – 3rd, Alexander Albon – 5th

Red Bull will definitely be pleased with this weekend because Max Verstappen was a constant threat to Ferrari from the get-go, whilst Albon is starting to make his mark as the battle for their second seat next season continues to heat up. 

Let start with Verstappen because he was up at the front all weekend with a strong showing, although his race pace was slightly disappointing on the hard tyres but he almost corrected that slip with a strong final stint on softs. 

Ultimately third was his maximum due to Kevin Magnussen bringing out the double yellow flags, after beaching his car in the gravel at Turn 12 with brake failure otherwise he would of got Hamilton on the last lap with DRS on the back straight. 

Albon meanwhile struggled to match the frontrunners after an impressive FP1 although he did produce a stunning comeback drive from a first lap collision to fifth, which shows his raw pace and ability to make overtakes in the manner that Pierre Gasly failed to do so earlier this season. 

Another positive for Albon is that he is now sixth in the drivers’ championship, having amassed 68 points since his promotion in the summer break and surely makes him favourite to stay with the team next season now. 

This weekend however was another strong weekend in which victory got away from them, although this time on pure pace from Verstappen and a clumsy mistake from Albon. 

 

McLaren

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Race results: Carlos Sainz – 8th, Lando Norris – 7th

Another good performance from McLaren who resolved their hard tyre issues from Mexico, although it was a mixed weekend overall between their drivers. 

Norris had another terrible Friday which he this time put down to “… the bumps which are worse than last year.”

Those bumps however were a challenge for everyone although he did recover on Saturday to top Q1 before eventually settling for eighth after Sainz eventually bettered him with an excellent Q3 lap to regain the upper hand after having had the better Friday Practice. 

Norris however got the better race start to get himself up past Vettel into fifth but tyre management soon proved tricky to manage, which ultimately gave Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo the upper hand and sixth placed finish by small margins at the finish. 

Sainz’s one stop strategy meanwhile paid dividends after recovering from a hit by Albon at the start with a brilliant 38 lap stint on hard tyres to the finish, despite finishing a lap down on the front runners. 

Overall, this has been a better weekend for McLaren but their tyre management still needs work because sixth was achievable. 

 

Renault

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Race results: Daniel Ricciardo – 6th, Nico Hulkenberg – 9th

After a tough Mexican GP last weekend, Daniel Ricciardo bounced back with a brilliant performance because he was firmly in the midfield battle from the get-go, highlighting Renault’s inconsistencies. 

That momentum then carried through into the race with a brilliant opening set of laps to chase down Norris and pass him, before controlling his own race for the majority of race until Albon eventually but inevitably got past near the finish. 

Hulkenberg meanwhile was marginally slower throughout the entire weekend, although he did face a tricky race battling the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Magnussen before eventually finishing ninth after errors by Toro Rosso. 

Overall, this was a strong weekend for Renault in term of extracting the car’s full potential and gathering data on next year’s tyres. 

 

Racing Point

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Race results: Sergio Perez – 10th, Lance Stroll – 13th

Racing Point definitely have had a tough weekend but to snatch a point from the jaws of disappointment highlights their hard work and the experience of Perez. 

The Mexican had an unfortunate pit-lane start after missing the weighbridge in FP2, which could of easily destroyed his race but he used Saturday perfectly to collect the relevant data which informed his excellent one-stop strategy. 

He however did find himself on the receiving end of two separate collisions with the Toro Rosso duo, which makes tenth that all the more sweeter given that he could of easily picked up race ending damage although he did lose further points. 

Stroll meanwhile did a solid job all weekend but his race pace is still not delivering points through little mistakes made early on, which ultimately will continue to cost the team further points unless he improves significantly next season. 

 

Toro Rosso

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Race results: Pierre Gasly – 16th, Daniil Kvyat – 12th

After showing promising pace last weekend, Toro Rosso again have shown progress in terms of one lap pace with Gasly finally starting to show what he can do when given a suitable car. 

He was in the top ten throughout practice and qualifying with a fourth place result in FP1 highlighting his raw pace, which suggests that his mojo is now back after a difficult first half of the season with Red Bull. 

Kvyat meanwhile was second best throughout but he could of taken a point after Gasly suffered suspension damage, but both drivers on separate occasions collided with Perez to cost them both points and sixth place in the Constructors’ championship. 

Depending on how the next two races unfold, this could very well be the defining moment that Toro Rosso blew a sixth place championship finish but it has overall been a weekend of progress, even if mistakes still need ironing out by both drivers.

 

Alfa Romeo

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Race results: Kimi Raikkonen – 11th, Antonio Giovinazzi – 14th

It is fair to say that Alfa Romeo has been this weekend’s greatest disappointment because they looked good to get at least one car challenging for a Q3 appearance after practice, only to suffer a double Q1 exit.

Little mistakes ultimately proved to be what cost both drivers but Raikkonen made a brilliant start on softs to propel himself up the order where he stayed on the cusp of points for the majority of the race.

Alas, he couldn’t take advantage of late drama further up the field to snatch late points whilst Giovinazzi had a quiet race in a weekend that got away from them through narrow margins and little luck.

 

Haas

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Race results: Kevin Magnussen – Retired, Romain Grosjean – 15th

After their recent struggles, Haas surely will be happy with how their home race went because they looked competitive throughout the weekend.

Grosjean in particular looked comfortable in the car this weekend with little complaint, despite a FP2 crash costing him valuable track time but he bounced back to extract the maximum potential of the Haas car at present.

Magnussen meanwhile was solid despite a brake issue curtailing his race shortly before the finish, although Mercedes will be thankful as his brake issue helped them to their one-two finish.

 

Williams

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Race results: Robert Kubica – Retired, George Russell – 17th

As often been the case this season, Williams again struggled throughout the weekend but they can take comfort in Russell’s excellent progress as he again dominated Kubica from FP2 onwards and made it 19-0 in their qualifying head-to-head.

Russell in fact missed FP1 to make way for Nicholas Latifi who was unlucky to suffer a gearbox issue early on, although they both bounced off each other when analysing the data which is a positive sign if they’re to become teammates next season.

As for Kubica, he did well to only qualify 0.517s slower than Russell despite an oil leak eventually curtailing his race early.

 

If missed the previous 18 rounds of this season, get up to date with our race reviews below along with our half-term report.

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