LB RACE REVIEW: MICHAEL BUFFER GP
A SPICY GRAND PRIX IN TEXAS
OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
HE: Sebastian Vettel (vs Valtteri Bottas ft Vandoorne) - This was a pretty risky move for Seb but he saw a gap in between the lapped Vandoorne and the ailing Bottas and slipped through beautifully on the exit of Turn 1.
BH: Sebastian Vettel (vs Valtteri Bottas ft Vandoorne) – A few contenders for this one, Sainz’s move on Perez was also clinically done, but Vettel’s move on Bottas was critical. With lapped Vandoorne lurking on the outside, Vettel could not afford to slip up and beautifully went around the outside of Bottas on turn 1
SS: Carlos Sainz vs Sergio Perez – Undercut after undercut through the final sector to then swoop around the outside of the long right hander and to snatch the position off of Cheko. As debut’s go, Sainz showed once again how big a talent he is in the sport and this was an excellent move to watch, and definitely proof that Renault (and Renault engines) are on the up.
OVERACHIEVER OF THE DAY
HE: Carlos Sainz - Sainz did not look at all phased about being in a new team. He was seriously impressive and has already given Hulkenberg something to think about. He completely overachieved in terms of expectation and brought home some valuable points for Renault.
BH: Carlos Sainz – Switching teams midway through a season is not an easy task, Sainz had limited time to get used to the team and the car, yet he responded by driving an exceptional race. A weekend witbhout points would have been acceptable considering the circumstances, but Sainz was quick from the off and fully deserved 6 points.
SS: Max Verstappen – It isn’t always easy starting towards the back in a top car, regardless of what car you’re in or the reason you’re back there. Max managed to power through the field and work an unorthodox strategy into his favour. Bating the Ferrari’s into an extra stop, we all know the decision was harsh and a load of poop but he drove like a future champ today.
UNDERACHIEVER OF THE DAY
HE: Lance Stroll - compared to Massa, Stroll had been slow pretty much all weekend. He struggled in Quali and race day proved just as difficult - he spent much of it near the back of the pack. Even new boy Brendan Hartley gave him a hard time at points.
BH: Valtteri Bottas – Another disappointing weekend from the Finn. His defensive work early in the race was solid, but he let Vettel and Raikkonen through far too easily. A driver in a Mercedes really shouldn’t be doing that much defending anyway, whereas Hamilton ran away with it, Bottas had nowhere near the same pace.
SS: Valtteri Slowttas – Slow, and again, slow. Oh that’s a hattrick. SLOW. Disappointment time after time and race after race. I need more from the Finn. Don’t get me wrong, he is a lovely guy and a good driver, but there are other drivers who have so much talent who deserve a shot.
DRIVER OF THE DAY
HE: Max Verstappen - despite the contentious overtake at the end, it was a superb drive from Max. He could've been up with Vettel and Hamilton if it weren't for engine penalties but his driven through field was pretty clinical nonetheless.
BH: Max Verstappen – In the last few races, this accolade has been hotly contested by Hamilton and Verstappen. This is the case once again, but I’m going to give it to Max. The young Dutchman started towards the back, but made a number of clinical overtakes to get himself back into contention. The 5 second penalty at the end prevented him from taking a podium, but it was a stunning drive nonetheless.
SS: Carlos Sainz – It is never easy moving to a new team, Sainz delivered what Palmer never could. He deserves every success.
THOUGHTS ON THE RACE
HE: The call on Verstappen was right but it highlighted the inconsistencies with the stewarding in Formula 1. It will all be forgotten quickly. The race overall was a pretty entertaining one and certainly provided some action. I've always liked COTA and they certainly put on a show. Congrats must go out to Mercedes who wrapped up their 4th Constructors Championships.
BH: No doubt the Verstappen penalty will be the big talking point coming out of the weekend, but there’s so much more that can and should be spoken about. I truly believe that the Circuit of the Americas is a great track and as far as I’m aware, every race there has been a success. Mercedes wrapped up their 4th Constructors Championship on the bounce, their dominance in terms of pace has disappeared slightly, but their dominance in terms of reliability certainly hasn’t. One retirement between the drivers is a great achievement. Provided nothing goes wrong next week, the other championship will also be going their way.
SS: I am shocked about what happened with Verstappen call, I think it was really harsh and very controversial. This will be discussed for a little while to come. In other news, Mercedes take their 4th title and it is very deserved. I am actually very disappointed that Donald wasn’t there to make a buffoon of himself or to have his own team. Anyway, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE, IN ONE WEEK, INTRODUCING THE LAND OF TEQUILA AND THE NATION WHICH GAVE US THE BURRITO. IT IS THE MEXICAN GRAND PRIX.