“My best win”, says Hamilton at Circuit of The Americas™
Title fight continues to Brazil with Vettel, Alonso on Austin podium
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 18, 2012) – Lewis Hamilton produced one of his finest performances to win the inaugural United States Grand Prix for McLaren Mercedes at the Circuit of the Americas™.
Hamilton passed polewinner Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull on lap 42 of 56 with a clean move at the end of the DRS zone into Turn 12 to claim his fourth win of 2012 and the 21st of his Formula 1 career.
“That was my best win, guys!” yelled a delighted Hamilton to his pit crew, whom he leaves at the end of this season. “That was wicked!”
With Vettel second, the title fight continues to the last race in Brazil as Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari again fought through the field for the final podium position.
Alonso started seventh after teammate Felipe Massa took a late five-place penalty but the Spaniard rocketed through to fourth by the end of the opening lap.
Vettel now leads by 13 points with 25 more on offer next Sunday.
In a clean, absorbing race there were only two retirements. The first was Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso, the second was Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. The Australian was running third when he fell victim to another apparent alternator failure, a gremlin that has plagued the Renault-engined team this season.
Despite that, Vettel’s 18 points mean Red Bull have clinched their third straight constructors’ title.
F1 drivers hail “spectacular” Circuit of The Americas™ Enjoyable challenge lies ahead
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 15, 2012) – Superlatives were the order of the day when six Formula 1 drivers faced the first official press conference of the first FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas Thursday.
Among them was Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari star who is gunning for his third drivers’ world title this weekend with Ferrari. “The track seems spectacular, very, very nice, it will be challenging for us drivers and for the engineers as well,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard. Like most of the 24-driver field, Alonso, a three-time winner in 2012, already ‘knows’ the circuit thanks to technology. “We did some simulator programs after Singapore,” explained Alonso, “then we started getting a little bit more intense this week.” Alonso also resorted to a less sophisticated method: “We also did two laps on the bicycle and hope to do some more this afternoon,” he added. “I think it will be a good show for everybody and hopefully some good overtaking opportunities around the track so it can be a really good weekend.”
Another F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, agreed: “It’s quite difficult to learn initially but it looks fantastic to drive,” said the Englishman who is going into his second to last race with the McLaren Mercedes team. “I really started to enjoy it once I got used to it – it took perhaps a little bit longer than some other circuits to learn, but it’s going to be very interesting this weekend.”
Alonso’s title rival, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, was a little more circumspect: “We have to wait until we get out [on track] until we have a judgement on how the circuit feels,” said the reigning champion. “It looks quite interesting but it’s the feeling inside the car which I think is most important so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Veteran Pedro de la Rosa of the HRT team acknowledged the challenge that lies ahead on the 3.4-mile Texas track. “It looks like a very difficult track with very big gradient changes and most of the corners are blind,” said De la Rosa, whose team’s future is in some doubt with the news this week that it is up for sale. “It’s going to be difficult and challenging.
Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the last Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi for Lotus, just got into Austin and couldn’t offer an opinion, but
Sergio Perez summed it up neatly: “I walked the track and it’s amazing,” said the 22-year-old Mexican. “It will be very enjoyable for all the drivers.”