After an uncomfortably long pole-less spell, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport regained their one-lap pace in yesterday’s qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix to end Scuderia Ferrari’s run of six consecutive pole positions. In an extremely closely contested qualifying session, it was Valtteri Bottas who came out on top by setting a new lap record.
Long history – Today’s race will be the 41th United States Grand Prix. First held in 1959 at Sebring, the event has a peripatetic history. Races followed at Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961-1980), Phoenix (1989-1991) and Indianapolis (2000-2007) before the Circuit of the Americas joined the sport in 2012. The race track in Texas has hosted the United States Grand Prix in every year since.
Milestone – Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen are all scheduled to make their 100th grand prix start today.
Importance of the starting position – Joining the Formula One race calendar in 2012, the Texas race track has produced some thrilling duels since. Although the long circuit features a wide layout and offers few overtaking spots, starting from the first row has proved crucial so far. In every single edition of the event, one of the two drivers starting from the front row won the race.
Long track – The Circuit of the Americas belongs to the longer race tracks on the current Grand Prix calendar. On the 5.513km course, drivers will need to circulate 56 times to cover the entire race distance of 308.405km.
Offset – There is an offset between the start and the finish line with the latter being 323m behind the start line.
The usual limit – As in most of the grands prix, drivers have to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph in the pit lane during today’s race.
The new benchmark – Valtteri Bottas not only secured his 11th career pole position in yesterday’s qualifying session, but he also set a new lap record on his way to success. His teammate Lewis Hamilton held the previous record after he proved fastest with a lap time of 1m32.237 in last year’s qualifying session. The five-time GP winner set a time of 1m32.029 in the last qualifying segment to narrowly beat his rivals.
Fuel usage – The driver who completed the entire race distance in the 2018 edition of the United States Grand Prix used a total of 101.3kf of petrol while the thirstiest car burnt 105kg which was the maximum amount last year.
Fresh record – Lewis Hamilton holds the record for the fastest race lap around the Circuit of the Americas. Despite starting from pole position, the Brtion failed to win the 2018 United States Grand Prix, but his two-stop strategy provided him with fresher tyres, enabling him to set the fastest race lap last year. His lap time of 1m37.392 was not only the fastest in last year’s race, but it became the all-time race lap record on the Austin racing track.
The Italian outfit - Ferrari is the most successful constructor in the United States Grand Prix. The Italian outfit has taken victory ten times. Despite this record, the Maranello-based team had to wait long for their first success in America. After the first editions of the event were dominated by Lotus, BRM and Tyrell, Niki Lauda took Ferrari’s first victory in the United States in 1975.
The most successful drivers - Lewis Hamilton holds the record for most wins in the history of the United States Grand Prix. The Briton has won six times in total of which he recorded his second career victory at Indianapolis driving for McLaren. When the U.S. Grand Prix moved to Texas, he continued his run of success. The Briton has won in the first four years of the hybrid era between 2014 and 2017 at Texas.
Michael Schumacher is the second most successful race driver in the United States with five victories. After securing his first triumph in 2000, the German commenced a commanding run of success in 2003 and remained unbeaten until 2006. When it comes to the number of wins in the United States, Graham Hill and Jim Clark claim the third spot with three victories apiece. Interestingly, the Scottish and British driver dominated the era between 1962 and 1968 with winning all six races in this period of time. While Clark took all his three wins for Lotus, Hill was victorious for BRM on each occasion.
Chance of SC – In the previous four United States Grands Prix, the virtual or the real safety car was deployed on multiple times, leading to a chance of 71 per cent for the appearance of the SV or the VSC.
Time loss – The layout of the track means that drivers do not lose too much time when pitting for new tyres. A normal pit visit requires 20 seconds in total, but completing a pit stop during a SC or VSC period can save up to six seconds for drivers.
Changes – The track surface has been a hot topic since drivers first hit the circuit on Friday morning. Although the track has been resurfaced around Turns 9 and 10 for this year, the asphalt features severe bumps, leaving the drivers shocked.
The usual double DRS-zone – As in most of the races, there will be two DRS zones in today’s United States Grand Prix. The detection point of the first will be 150m after Turn 10, with the activation point 250m after Turn 11. The second zone’s detection point will be 65m after Turn 18, with the activation point 80m after Turn 20.