Hats off to the state of Texas and Circuit of the Americas. They pulled this one off in stunning fashion.
Formula 1 was stateside for the first time since 2007 and what a race it was. If the nearly 115,000 fans at today’s race was any indication of things to come, then Formula 1 has a great future in America.
McLaren finally showed up this weekend with a decent car for Lewis Hamilton and it was a 1-on-1 battle with Sebastian Vettel for most of the race.
With 14 laps to go, Hamilton used his DRS to overtake Vettel and held the lead to the end. In typical fashion, Vettel was quick to throw a temper tantrum and media bash Narain Karthikeyan for getting in his way.
Red Bull were however able to secure their 3rd consecutive Constructor’s Championship, which went virtually unnoticed until being brought up by Vettel during the podium interviews.
Joining Hamilton and Vettel on the podium was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Predictably, Alonso struggled with the F2012 all weekend but managed to make it work on race day. He’s indebted to Hamilton who’s kept his (slim) Driver’s Championship hopes alive for another week. Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa pulled off another stellar drive finishing 4th.
Ferrari made a bold move changing Massa’s gearbox in order to receive a 5 grid spot penalty, that would allow Massa to start on the clean side of the track. The gamble paid off.
Michael Schumacher spent most of the race trying to send drivers off the track, a throwback to his Ferrari days. Neither he or his teammate Nico Rosberg scored points for Mercedes (again). Somewhere Lewis Hamilton is laying in bed wondering if he has indeed made the worst decision of his career to leave McLaren. What’s done is done and it was a bittersweet victory for the driver and his team today in Austin.
Formula 1 has massive potential in the United States and it’s all going to come down to how the sport is marketed to an American audience. A big part of that will lie on the shoulders of NBC Sports, who are in charge broadcasting duties next year. However, today it was the city of Austin who welcomed Formula 1 with open arms and did so in big Texas fashion.
Another season of Formula 1 is almost in the books. The Brazilian finale at Interlagos is next week. Alonso better pray for a miracle because it’s going to be a tough one.
Photos courtesy of F1 Fanatic.