Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend – COTA USA GP, 2019
Mean reader score:6.69. ranked =8/19 races so far.
This year’s score of 6.69 is much lower than the 8.13 from 2018, (which was rated the best race of the 2018 season) . Lower than the than the 7.17 of 2017, higher than the 5.06 of 2016 but not quite as high as the hurricane-ravaged race of 2015 which scored a massive 8.87.
Last year Lewis Hamilton dominated free practice, setting fastest times in FP1 and FP2 and started the race in pole position. Not so this year, as Verstappen led the leader board in FP1 and FP3, with teammate Bottas snatching pole from Vettel by 0.036s, with Verstappen and Leclerc making all four front runners within 0.1s of pole.
A beleaguered Hamilton qualified in P5. So, this race was set to be ‘interesting’ even if it wasn’t going to include Hamilton in the mix (let’s not forget that to clinch WDC6 he only needed to score 4 points more than Bottas, so no surprise it looked as if he was happy to stay well out of the potential mayhem which could erupt into turn 1.)
Wrong AGAIN, F1TheaJ. There was no mayhem into turn 1 as the front runners pretty much stayed out of each others’ way (although Sainz and Albon did collide and Stroll ran wide towards the rear of the pack).
The Ferraris had bad starts, the Mercedes had good starts and Verstappen moved into P2. Vettel retired with broken suspension on Lap 8, Bottas covered off Verstappen and went onto an unexpected two-stop strategy, Hamilton stayed on a one-stop and the one remaining Ferrari was on his ownsome in P4, way behind the podium finishers.
Albon brought the second Red Bull home in P5, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg (who looks as if he may not have a F1 seat next year) brought the two Renaults back in P6 and P9; the Mclarens scored double points via Norris and Sainz in P7 and P8 while the one remaining point was scored by Perez for Racing Point BWT Mercedes (the team formerly known as Force India).
Driver of the Weekend: Lewis Hamilton (29.79% of reader vote)
This TJ13 reader vote is somewhat different to the official F1 driver of the race vote which went to Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
Well, he didn’t win the race, but he did put up a pretty good fight. Not settling for 8th place or higher to clinch his SIXTH WDC title, Hamilton wanted to win it with a race win as well. It was not to be, though, as team-mate Bottas denied him that accolade (but not out Driver of the Weekend though!!).
Battling to the front from the start he got his elbows out and Bottas ended up running wide when trying to overtake him for the lead, having to wait another lap before that eventually happened. Some say, Hamilton was saved by the (yellow) flag of Magnussen’s crash preventing Verstappen (twice) from possibly taking P2? Who knows?
Either way, Hamilton came second this race and won WDC6!! (only been done once before in the history of F1, by of course none other than Michael Schumacher). Well done Lewis!! (or should I say Lewis Hamilton MBE?).
Bottas: “To whom it may concern, thank you!”