Well, we learned that the Americans have built a cracker of a circuit out there in Texas, and we also learned that the F1 circus put on a cracker of a race.
Man of the meeting has to be Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) who just piled on the pressure, first to Mark Webber (Red Bull) and then to Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), with Vettel returning to childish shouts that “he (Hamilton) passed too close” (although Vettel later claimed his remarks were for Karthikeyan who was being lapped). Whatever, Hamilton deserved his win and we were spared the erect finger gesture.
So Vettel had to be content with second place, and with Alonso (Ferrari) third, the German did not manage to pull off the WDC with one race to go. Probably more than enough reason for The Finger to start throwing his toys out of the pram (again).
Some (unnecessary) discussions as to the legality or otherwise of Ferrari breaking the gearbox seal on Massa (Ferrari) to demote him five places, but this resulted in bringing Alonso forward and on to the faster side of the track for the start. F1 is a team sport and the decision to do this to help WDC contender Alonso was the correct one. It was also one that had financial implications. Huge financial implications.
From calling for Massa to fall on his sword earlier in the year, Massa certainly raised his game and he deserved his fourth place, and incidentally, his contract for 2013.
A good drive from Button (McLaren) on a different strategy from most of the others. With getting the tyres to work being the most important feature of the Pirelli tyres on the new Circuit of the Americas asphalt, he drove better than his 5th place result would indicate.
The “Lotus” twins, Raikkonen and Grosjean were next home, and whilst Raikkonen gave a dogged, though unspectacular drive, Grosjean was his usual superfast but unreliable self. I do not expect to see him next year in the black and gold livery once made famous by Colin Chapman.
Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India showed he was faster than his car, and will be a welcome addition to the Sauber team next year.
The final points went to the Williams team of Maldonado and Senna. Maldonado is a very aggressive driver, but since he sits on a 46 million dollar sponsorship package, he will be right for 2013. Senna, who has been trading on his surname, and does not have a 46 million wallet to sit on, will be out of a drive next year.
For once, Webber had a good start, but as usual he was dogged by mechanical problems with KERS giving out and the alternator failing yet again. One has to wonder why the mechanical unreliability in the Red Bull team is always to Webber’s car. Does Helmut Marko have a magic red button to hold the Aussie back, just in case he challenges the golden haired boy?
The WDC will be decided on Sunday 25th, with it being fought out by Vettel and Alonso. Alonso rates his chances at 25 percent. Vettel is practicing his finger exercise trying to make it look a little humble. We all await the outcome!