2014 Formula 1 Report:  USA Edition

Drafting the Circuits

Week 35

Grand Prix                          Date                                     Tire Compounds      

Italian Grand Prix              September 5-7             Hard/Medium

Singapore Grand Prix       September 19-21         Medium/Supersoft

Japanese Grand Prix        October 3-5

Drivers’ Championship:

1.  Nico Rosberg                  220

2.  Lewis Hamilton            191

3. Daniel Ricciardo            156

4.  Fernando Alonso          121

5.  Valtteri Bottas               110

6.  Sebastian Vettel            98

7.  Nico Hulkenberg          70

8.  Jenson Button              68

9.  Felipe Massa                 40

10.  Kimi Raikkonen          39

11.  Kevin Magnussen         37

11.  Sergio Perez                 33

13.  Jean-Eric Vergne          11

14.  Romain Grosjean          8

15.  Daniil Kvyat                   8

16.  Jules Bianchi                 2

Constructors’ Championship:

1.  Mercedes                       411

2.  Red Bull                        254

3.  Ferrari                           160

4.  Williams                       150

5.  McLaren                       105

6.  Force India                   103

7. Toro Rosso                    19

8.  Lotus                             8

10.Marussia                       2


Christian Horner said Red Bull racing would have little chance at Spa and Monza and they would need to limit the damage at these two high speed circuits.

What a cagey statement!


Horner essentially freed up both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel of all pressure while at the same time turning the screws again on Renault stating that their engine package would not be able to keep up on these high speed circuits!









Instead, Horner and the team left Belguim with their second best points haul of the year and Ricciardo won his second race in a row (third of the year).   How bout that for damage control!










Sebastian Vettel also showed well starting third on the grid in the Red Bull machine trimmed for minimal downforce in order to maintain pace at Spa.  Ricciardo’s win allowed us to see Adrian Newey atop the podium for what could be his final time at Spa as he undertakes new duties next year at Red Bull racing.

The complexion of this race and the drivers championship took a massive turn on lap 2 when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg touched after the long, fast Kemmel straight going through Les Combes.

On track, this looked like a small racing incident where two drivers were fighting for the same piece of real estate.  With Hamilton leading, Rosberg squeezed alongside Hamilton they entered Les Combes.  Neither driver yielded and Hamilton’s left rear tire was cut down by Rosberg’s wing.










Although Rosberg suffered wing damage losing the end plate, it was Hamilton who suffered as his tire shredded in Blanchimont and he limped back to the pits.  The damaged tire also affected Felipe Massa as a piece of the tire wedged into the floor of the Williams machine causing Massa to lose 2 seconds per lap for around 15 laps.

Hamilton is not a happy camper and the Mercedes camp if blazing like a furnace.  The primary reason is that Rosberg said he held his ground to prove a point.  Lewis’ take on this….he did it on purpose.

This is going to be a huge challenge to manage. For Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe. Adding to the stress level, Daniel Ricciardo has now emerged in the picture.  With 7 races to go, Mercedes battling internal chaos and reliability questions, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that Mercedes walks away with this drivers championship.









Throw in the double points and all Ricciardo needs to do is keep creeping up as Mercedes self destruct.  Should be interesting.

Also interesting was the performance of Ferrari this weekend.  Finally Kimi Raikonnen had a clean race finishing in 4th position.

Fernando Alonso was challenging up front when he was awarded a 5 second stop and go penalty to be served during his first pit stop.  This was due to having mechanics working on his car when the grid was supposed to be cleared.  Marco Mattiacci relayed this as a problem with the starter.










Perhaps the best racing of the day earned Kevin Magnussen a 20 second post race penalty dro

pping the McLaren out of the points.  Magnussen, Alonso, Vettel and Button were all slicing and dicing for position when  Magnussen was charged with forcing Alonso off track.

Other than Lewis Hamilton, perhaps the driver who is most disappointed this weekend is American driver Alexander Rossi.  Rossi was slated to race the Marussia of Max Chilton but was notified after P1 that Chilton would be back in the seat after contract issues were resolved.

Monza next!  Can’t wait.

For those who use Twitter, you can follow me @steve_aibel or check us all out @RacingDTC for Drafting the Circuits.