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Formula One

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  United States Grand Prix

Formula One

Marvyn H.
June 17, 2007

Lewis Hamilton has done it 2 races in a row now, the rookie has won the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis for Mclaren Mercedes. During the entire race he only seemed to come under pressure once for his position, by his Mclaren Mercedes partner Fernando Alonso who ended up finishing 2nd and seemed quite frustrated with the behind the scenes ongoings at Mclaren. At the end of the same lap that he tried his pass on Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso swooped wide at the pit wall for no apparent reason, other than to vent some anger at the people standing on the pit wall barking down orders at him through his in-car radio.

The start of the race seemed all fine for most of the front-runners, except Kimi Raikkonen who was the only driver in the field to start on the harder (and slower) compound tyres. Kimi was a bit tentative through the first corner and as a result lost 2 places, thus messing up his strategy for the race since had he not lost these 2 places he could have easily been challenging for 1st place. In the end he only managed to finish fourth, only closing up to his colleague Felipe Massa in the closing stages of the race and not being able to make a pass even though he now was on the softer (and faster) tyres with Felipe Massa and the rest in front all being on the harder tyres.

One of the frustrations with Formula One nowadays is the inability of drivers to get close enough to cars with similar, even slower, pace to be able to enforce a pass. This rarely happens in races nowadays without the lead car making an error. Kimi Raikkonen had this problem once he'd lost those 2 positions right at the beginning of the race, while his car would normally be significant faster than the 2 cars in front of him, the tyres played their part and slowed him down enough that their paces were similar. All the aerodynamics bits and pieces protruding from the car together with the F1 car specifications has resulted in this most unfortunate of circumstances. Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari which is definitely faster than the car just ahead of him could not pass said car.

Felipe Massa's race was pretty dull, with him not needing to do much besides put in a few quick laps to come out ahead of Kimi at the 2nd round of pit stops.

Other action that occurred on the very first lap was incident involving 3 cars, and resulted in all 3 cars retiring. Ralf Schumacher outbraked himself into the first corner and in doing so crashed into both David Coulthard in his Red Bull Racing car and Rubens Barrichello in the Honda. Ralf's woes continue in this season of F1, it seems he might be looking for a different team to drive for very soon - perhpas even a different job altogether. The rest of the race saw cars at the back of the pack jossling for position, especially in the queue that formed up behind Vittantonio (Tonio) Liuzzi in his Toro Rosso in a repeat of the situation above with cars not being able to pass as easily as we'd all like to see. A curios situation took place around lap 13, it became known that Takuma Sato, driving a Super Aguri, was being investigated for passing Jenson Button in his Honda under yellow flags being waved at turn one (an infringmement punishable with a 10 second stop in the pits). Shortly after this announcement Takuma spun off the track in a driver error and told his version of the story to an interviewer, saying that it was actually Jenson Button who had passed him under the yellow flags. As a result of Sato not being able to take his penalty under race conditions, his punishment is now postponed to the next race where we were told he was to receive a 10 place penalty, ie when he starts at Magny-Cours in the French Grand Prix, he will start 10 places down from wherever he qualifies.

All in all a pretty bad weekend for Ferrari, showing that their pace - at least on the faster circuits here in North America - is definitely lacking. They will need to come up with something pretty brilliant to try and wrestle the 2007 Formula One championship away from Mclaren-Mercedes and especially Lewis Hamilton who now leads the championship by 10 points, ahead of Fernando Alonso. Alonso himself needs to pull something out of the bag if he's to lay down a challenge to his rookie driving partner.

Another fact to note is that Sebastien Vettel, replacing Robert Kubica who didn't race due to his horrible crash last week in Canada, drove home his BMW to finish in the last points paying position in his debut race of F1. Pales in comparison to Mr. Lewis Hamilton but still worth noting.

1st - Lewis Hamilton - Mclaren-Mercedes
2nd - Fernando Alonso - Mclaren-Mercedes
3rd - Felipe Massa - Ferrari
4th - Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari
5th - Heiki Kovalainen Renault
6th - Jarno Trulli Toyota
7th - Mark Webber Red Bull
8th - Sebastien Vettel BMW-Sauber

Ralf Schumacher - crash - lap 1
David Coulthard - crash - lap 1
Rubens Barrichello - crash - lap 1
Takuma Sato - spin - lap 14
Nick Heidfeld - hydraulics problem - lap 56
Nico Rosberg - engine blown - lap 69
Tonio Liuzzi - technical problem - lap 71

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