F1 2012

Lewis Hamilton and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes rule US Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton on Vodafone McLaren Mercedes won the United States Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel on Red Bull finished in second place, with Fernando Alonso driving for the Scuderia Ferrari arriving on the last step on the podium.

The last time Formula One cars raced in the US Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton scored an impressive victory, and he repeated that on the series’ return in an outstanding fight with Sebastian Vettel in the first United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Austin, Texas last Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton started on the dirty side of the grid and exited the first corner third behind the two Red Bulls of German Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber. The actual race started, after Lewis Hamilton succeeded in the disposing of Mark Webber on the fourth lap after a previous attempt did not work out. Afterwards, he gave it his best shot to take down the other Red Bull driven by double World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

In comparison to his Australian team mate, Sebastian Vettel proved to be a tougher nut to crack, and after reducing the gap down to less than a second and getting into the DRS zone, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton began to lose ground just before his pit stop on the 20th lap. After the switch to Pirelli’s harder tire, he began reducing the gap again, and finally executed an elegant overtaking maneuver as he used DRS to pass Sebastian Vettel down the back straight on the 42nd lap. It must be mentioned here, that the Red Bull has been delayed slightly by traffic in the Esses earlier in the lap. The German Red Bull driver did every possible thing to stay with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but simple lacked the McLaren’s pace.

Behind them, and after a bit of tactical hocus pocus by Ferrari, another superb drive from Spanish Fernando Alonso kept the Spaniard in the game for the world championship.

The Scuderia Ferrari were very much concerned with championship contender Fernando Alonso due to start eighth, that they intentionally broke a seal on Felipe Massa’s gearbox so that he would get a five-place grid penalty that would move Alonso to seventh, and therefore start the race from the clean side.

The plan worked to perfection. Fernando Alonso jumped up to fourth behind the two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton, closing out Michael Schumacher in Turn One, and thus immediately putting himself in the lowest position he needed, assuming that the German Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel won, to keep the title battle open. He inherited third place when Mark Webber’s car stopped after 16 laps with an alternator failure, and stayed there to till the chequered flag, secure in the knowledge that Massa had climbed back up to fourth after his enforced grid penalty and thus covered his back. It was an excellent race by the Brazilian Scuderia Ferrari driver.

Behind them, Jenson Button brought his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes home in fifth place after starting the USA Grand Prix on harder tires and running until the 32nd lap before changing to the mediums. He fought the two Lotuses of Kimi Raikkkonen and Romain Grosjean. At some stages of the race, the Finn seemed a possible podium achiever, while his French team mate recovered from an early spin and pit stop.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg ran fifth for some time before the Lotuses took him down, and stayed in the points to take eighth by eagerly defending himself against both Williams. Pastor Maldonado touched wheels in the first corner with team mate Bruno Senna on the 52nd lap as he squeezed through on the inside for ninth. Both cars were the final points’ scorers.

On the other hand, it was a poor day for Sauber, as a disappointing Sergio Perez did not have the car that could deliver him better than 11th place, thus letting him down infront of the thousands of Mexicans, who went on pilgrimage to Texas, while Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, was 12th. Nico Rosberg brought his Mercedes home in an uncompetitive and disappointing 13th place ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber, while Force India’s Paul di Resta hung on after a bad race to beat Michael Schumacher to the finish line. For the German Formula 1 legend, the penultimate race of his career was a race to forget, as he severely failed to coin his superior starting position into a rewarding point finish.

Vitaly Petrov led the newbies home in his Caterham, as Heikki Kovalainen very marginally fended off Timo Glock’s Marussia for 18th place and Charles Pic brought his MR01 home next. Both HRTs finished, with Pedro de la Rosa leading Narain Karthikeyan.

Besides Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber, the only non-finisher was Vergne after damaging his Toro Rosso’s front suspension again during a fight with the Mercedes.

German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel now leads Fernando Alonso with 273 to 260 points and with 25 points to be grabbed in Brazil, the last race of the season will definitely be a breathtaking one. There are numerous possibilities, scenarios, calculations and predictions for who will win the 2012 Formula 1 crown.
Although Red Bull lost the race, Sebastian Vettel’s second place was sufficient to win the constructors’ championship for a third year in a row.

Austin - Cairo - Abu Dhabi

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