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United States Grand Prix

Formula 1 season 2014

Circuit information
CircuitCircuit of the Americas
CountryUnited States
TimezoneGMT -05:00
Race debut2012
Length5.513 km
Distance308.405 km
Line offset0.323 km

After the Russian Grand Prix was less interesting than hoped, the Circuit of the Americas delivered a much better afternoon of racing action. Although dominated by Mercedes, there was some great overtaking as Sebastian Vettel fought his way through the field, and Fernando Alonso ferociously defended his position. A first lap incident robbed Sauber of potential points, whilst Ricciardo finished on the podium but was still counted out of the championship fight.

Event overview

Ahead of the race, Formula One was in a considerable state of turmoil. Caterham and Marussia had both gone into administration, and weren’t able to participate in the action. That left the remaining small teams concerned about the state of the sport’s finances, and there was talk of a boycott. It came to nothing, but did put a downer over the early part of the weekend.

The shortened qualifying session saw four drivers dropping out in the first and second sessions. Daniil Kvyat had to take a ten place grid penalty due to changing his engine, whilst Jenson Button lost five places for a new gearbox. Sebastian Vettel had already confirmed he would be taking an engine related grid penalty, and thus it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him drop out in the first session.

The Williams pair both showed good pace during the final ten minutes of qualifying, but it was Nico Rosberg who snatched pole position. Lewis Hamilton came in second, with Bottas and Massa securing the second row of the grid. Adrian Sutil put on a good show for Sauber, qualifying tenth and starting ninth after all penalties were applied.

There was some hope that Sutil might be able to use his top ten start to remain in the points positions and pick up Sauber’s first score of the year. That all went wrong on the very first lap of the race. Out front, the top four had a good start, with Massa getting ahead of his teammate. Daniel Ricciardo dropped back a few places, and then the safety car came out.

Sergio Pérez had hit the back of Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari, which sent him into the side of Adrian Sutil. The Sauber ended up in pieces, stopped out on track, whilst Pérez managed to get back to the pit lane with one of the front wheels hanging off but didn’t rejoin the action. The stewards confirmed they would investigate the accident after the race, and later handed the Force India driver a slightly odd seven-place grid penalty for the next event.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel came in to the pit lane for his first stop of the afternoon during the safety car period. After just one lap on the softer tyre, he switched to the more preferable medium compound. When the racing action resumed, Vettel started to make his way through the field, whilst out front Ricciardo regained a place by overtaking Alonso.

Three drivers – Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutiérrez and Jean-Éric Vergne – were handed a five second penalty for speeding behind the safety car. Jenson Button was investigated for the same misdemeanour but the stewards cleared him with no penalty. Force India’s bad day took another turn when Nico Hülkenberg came to a halt out on track, leaving the team with a double DNF.

Vettel’s chase had led him to do battle with Alonso, and they were scrapping for position. Alonso stayed ahead for ninth and the Red Bull driver complaining that his engine was two seconds slower than it had been previously in the weekend. Soon-to-be-Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat was one of the last drivers to pit, making his way up to 11th before coming in for his first stop. He dropped back down the order rapidly, however, after an impressive first stint.

Alonso’s attention turned to Jenson Button, and the pair went at it for eighth place over several laps, dicing for position this way and that. Out front, Hamilton had closed the gap to Rosberg, bided his team, and eventually moved into the lead of the race. He outbraked Rosberg, forcing his teammate to run wide off track, and happily moved into first place.

Whilst Alonso dispatched one McLaren and moved on to another, Vettel was left battling with Grosjean. The Lotus driver took the inside line into the first corner and snatched ninth from the struggling Red Bull. A slow pit stop by the Williams team allowed Daniel Ricciardo to jump Felipe Massa for third place, putting him in sight of the podium.

Alonso’s pit stop put him back behind Vettel, so those two put on even more of a show than they already had. The Spaniard made his way through, and Vettel came into the pits for the fourth time. Romain Grosjean and Jean-Éric Vergne tussled, with the Toro Rosso driver coming out on top. Meanwhile, Kvyat complained about the steering of his car, made it back to the pit lane for a quick checkup and some new tyres and rejoined, albeit in last place.

Out front, Lewis Hamilton found himself behind a train of cars that he was due to lap, and he requested the blue flags be waved. He barely needed them, however, as he crossed the line to win the US Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg followed for second, with Daniel Ricciardo taking the final trophy. The Williams pair were next in line. Hamilton’s championship lead was extended, and he added the fifth consecutive win to his growing tally. Ricciardo was mathematically out of the championship fight, leaving just Rosberg and Hamilton to duke it out to the end.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
31 OctFridayFree Practice 115:00
GMT +00:00
GMT -05:00
Free Practice 219:00
GMT +00:00
GMT -05:00
01 NovSaturdayFree Practice 315:00
GMT +00:00
GMT -05:00
GMT +00:00
GMT -05:00
02 NovSundayGrand Prix20:00
GMT +00:00
GMT -06:00

All content in the series USA 2014