The Undercut: Will Lewis power to title number four in Austin?
What has been happening in the world of F1 since Japan?
We still have the ongoing driver shenanigans over at Toro Rosso. They really seem to be in a bit of a pickle since having to let Carlos Sainz go to Renault early, having already ‘rested’ Daniil Kvyat in favour of Pierre Gasly. Pierre, originally due to race in at Austin this weekend, is instead finishing off his Super Formula thingy in Japan.
So, back comes rent-a- Russian Kvyat, along with sportscar ace and former Red Bull junior, Brendon Hartley, making his F1 debut some seven years after Helmut Marko showed him the door.
Don’t get me wrong, Hartley is a top drawer driver but it does show you that the much vaunted Red Bull ladder of talent has finally run out of rungs. As for the hapless Kvyat, should the Kiwi outperform him then he’ll be resting again as Gasly and Hartley would likely finish the season.
Talking of Sainz, he showed up at his new employers base in Enstone this week to meet the workers and pose for a few snapshots in his new team kit, although he looks like he had to borrow Nico Hulkenberg’s cap for the occasion.
Elsewhere, Jenson Button has been on the publicity trail, flogging his new book (Lewis is weird shock!). Generally, I avoid racing driver autobiographies, as on the whole, out of the car they are boring people. Though having read a few sections serialised in The Daily Telegraph, I might give this one a go, if the entertaining snippet about Ralf Schumacher is anything to go by.
Oh and Honda Racing boss, Yusuke Hasegawa, says not all at Honda have appreciated Fernando Alonso’s constant criticisms. Fair point, you pick up the tab for his gazillion dollar wage bill and all he can do is tell the world how crap you are. That would grate with me too.
So, time for the United States Grand Prix, just the Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi rounds to go after this.
Of course, following their Far East meltdown, Ferrari have gone from looking a good bet for the driver’s title in the summer to now waiting to see if Lewis Hamilton seals it for a fourth time on Sunday.
Worryingly for Ferrari (and everybody else) Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons Lewis is driving on another level. He was already rather good to begin with, so heaven help the others. Button reckons he is the best weird qualifier ever.
Talking of qualifying, it has been delayed by two hours in Austin (meaning it will be on TV at 9pm in the UK) as the organisers reckon this will make fans stay for that evenings Justin Timberlake concert. Bizarre thinking but this is America we are talking about here.
The odds for the title this weekend are not especially in Hamilton’s favour as he has to win with Sebastian Vettel finishing outside the top five but with the way Ferrari are going who knows?
Each race they look for another way to cock it all up. Assuming it does go Hamilton’s way, you can be sure that the P45’s will be handed out at Maranello to whomever Sergio Marchionne deems responsible, himself and Sebastian Vettel excluded of course.
The early weather forecast is for a wet weekend (yes, I know I always get this bit wrong) and with Lewis not wanting to take any risks, you could bet on Max Verstappen getting his elbows out at turn one should he qualify well enough.
I’m rubbish at predictions but I’m going for a Hamilton win and the title.
All the usual chat live with me and the gang on Twitter and in the DriveTribe F1 Live chatroom over the weekend.
See you there!