|Circuit||Circuit of the Americas
|Distance||308,405 km / 191,675 miles|
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Today’s race was closely fought from the start to the final lap. Sebastian made a great start to go into the lead and Kimi kept the race alive, with both men pulling off several passing moves. The team, both here at the track and back in Maranello, did a good job in coming back from the difficulties encountered in free practice on Friday. The most important thing is that we never gave up and getting both cars to the podium, even if it was not the ideal result, was achieved by fighting right to the end. We did that thanks to a car that, yet again proved to be competitive. Just as we did today, we will continue to fight to the very last corner of the final race.”
Sebastian Vettel: “My start was good today. I think also in Japan the start had been that good, but we just didn’t have power, so it’s good we had it done here. It was good to get the rhythm, but after a couple of laps I was really struggling with the tires that were getting too hot. I am a bit disappointed, because we couldn’t win and I had wanted to. We are on the right track, but all the things that happened to us came out not because of bad luck or because of somebody else; I think it was all on our side and we need to admit that. Then there were races in which we were stronger and we just didn’t race, which is even worse. There are positive aspects, but this was not the result we were looking for and thus, of course, it was not the best day.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “My car worked very well through the whole race. I was very pleased, it was so good and nice to drive. I felt we had a lot of speed and the tires lasted very well until the end. I’m sure that if we had started from the qualifying position we deserved, our pace would have been enough to get us a much better result. We kept gaining ground whenever I could push, which was a very good feeling. In the last part of the race I could have gone a lot faster, but I also had to manage fuel, so I slowed down my pace and this was a limiting factor. The final result could have been better, but we have two cars on the podium, so we cannot be too disappointed. For the next race we’ll try to be even stronger. Regarding the incident involving Verstappen, I can’t comment, because I haven’t seen what happened from where I was.”
Seb second, Kimi reinstated to third
Austin, 22 October – Scuderia Ferrari is back on the podium thanks to Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing second and third at the Circuit of the Americas, at the end of an incredible race that was action packed with passing moves and plenty of dramatic moments. The last of these actually came after the race, once the stewards deemed that Verstappen had left the track with all four wheels in passing Kimi for third at Turn 17. It meant that the Finn was reinstated onto the last step of the podium. With three races to go, the drivers’ title is still undecided mathematically, with Seb on 265 points and Kimi on 163. The front of the grid read as follows: Hamilton-Vettel, Bottas-Ricciardo, Raikkonen-Ocon. Conditions were warm and sunny after the morning storm: 27 degrees air temperature and 36 on the track. Seb got away really well to take the lead on the run up the hill. However, Kimi lost a place, but then retook the Force India on lap 2 and set off in pursuit of the Bottas-Ricciardo duo. Using DRS, Hamilton closed in on Seb, who had to give best under braking at the end of the longest straight. Kimi was running quicker at this stage and was slipstreaming Ricciardo, less than a second behind. On lap 13, he found a clear track ahead of him as the Red Bull pitted. Ricciardo would retire three laps later. Sebastian was struggling a bit with his tyres and pitted on lap 17 to fit the Softs, the hardest tyre available this weekend. He rejoined fifth and was immediately very quick. Bottas was the first of the Mercedes drivers to pit, while Seb posted a quickest lap in 1’39”702. On lap 19, Hamilton pitted and as he came out of pit lane, he had Sebastian in close attendance. Kimi then pitted, also taking on the yellow-banded tyre. He gradually closed on Bottas, who was himself making ground on Seb who was managing his race assets. Verstappen had carved his way up from the back end of the grid and when he opted for a second tyre stop, Ferrari changed its strategy, bringing Seb in as well, to fit the Supersofts. The number 5 car rejoined in front of Max, but it was Kimi who was putting on a show, dispatching Bottas at turn 12 to take second place. Seb upped his pace significantly and the gap to Bottas closed up. On lap 48, Vettel set the fastest race lap, which brought him into the DRS zone. Then came a simply brilliant move at the start of lap 51, as Seb attacked the Mercedes on the climb up to the first corner, going round the outside of Bottas, catching him out as they came up on the backmarker Vandoorne. Next up he passed Kimi who was on much older tyres. In fact, right at the end, the Finn lost third place to Verstappen, but that particular disappointment was not to last long.
Seb and Kimi determined to attack right from the start
Austin, October 21st – A solid team effort and a fine piece of driving on his very last run means Seb will start from the front row of the grid tomorrow. Kimi was unable to fully capitalize on the potential of the SF70H and ended up with fifth fastest, setting exactly the same lap time as Daniel Ricciardo. However, as the Australian set the time first, he starts ahead of the Ferrari man. Now it’s time for Scuderia Ferrari drivers and the whole team to focus on tomorrow’s race, when temperatures are expected to be lower than in Qualifying. “My final lap in Q3 was good enough for the front row”, Sebastian said “and in the end we got closer than we had expected. I am looking forward to the race, and then tomorrow we’ll see what we can do. The car is good and generally we have a better pace in racing, so it should be better tomorrow. Again, the team did a splendid job in rebuilding the car around a different chassis overnight and not even breaking the curfew! For tomorrow we need a good start first of all and then we need to put pressure on our competitors. I’m not too concerned about starting on the less rubbered-in side of the track, as we’ve seen in the past here that you can attack. We have the car to do so and we can fight”. “Today the car was better than it had been so far this weekend,” said Kimi. “After the Friday session we made some changes and in qualifying I had a good feeling. We tried our best, but fifth position was the maximum we could get. I think there was more to take out of the car, but in some places it was a bit tricky to get it right. I struggled to put all the corners together, some laps were good and in some others it was more difficult. It was a decent qualifying, but for sure it could have been better, so I can’t be satisfied with the result. At the start tomorrow it will be quite tight; we’ll try to make a good getaway from the line and see what we can achieve at the first corner…”.
Seb 2nd in qualifying, with Kimi 5th
Austin, 21 October – At the end of qualifying, held on the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen found themselves in second and fifth places respectively on the time sheet, with laps in 1’33”347 and 1’33”577. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers followed the usual tyre use programme, starting off on the Supersofts, before switching to the Ultrasofts. Tomorrow’s race gets underway at 14h00 local time (21h00 CET.)
Seb (with a changed chassis) ahead of Kimi
Austin, 21 October – At the end of the third and final free practice session at the Circuit of the Americas, the Ferrari SF70Hs set the second and fourth fastest times, running new and used Ultrasoft tyres. The chassis was changed on Sebastian’s car since yesterday as a precautionary measure. He went on to set the second fastest time of 1’34”570. Kimi Raikkonen ended the hour in fourth place with a 1’34”755. The track was dry throughout the session, but it was very windy. Qualifying takes place at 16h00 local time, 23h00 CET, with an unusually long gap of four hours from the end of practice.
“The car is quick, no need to worry”
Austin – Once again, the SF70H car proved to be quick, but Seb’s practice was disrupted by a less-than perfect feeling with the car at the end of P2, when he was about to start long runs. In the end, he had to spend most of the afternoon session in the garage. Kimi had a more straightforward Friday and now Scuderia Ferrari is back at work to seek further improvement ahead of P3 and Qualifying tomorrow.
“It was a complicated afternoon” Seb commented “and not an easy session, but the car is quick, so we don’t need to worry too much about it. The only lap I had was the one with the Ultrasofts. Before that, I made a mistake taking too much risk and pushing too early. The track was quite slippery and I lost the rear under braking. So, we lost a set of tires, and then again, towards the end of the session, I felt that something was not right with the car. So, we checked a couple of times and now we are looking at the car to see if we can find something. I need to find the rhythm tomorrow and make sure everything’s in order”.
“In the morning the weather was a bit tricky to start with, but all in all it was an ok day,” said Kimi. “Just a normal Friday, in which we tried different things and learned as much as possible. Every circuit can be tricky when you’re trying to go fast, and for sure there can always be an improvement; but it was only the first day of practice. We don’t know what the other teams were doing and obviously it’s too early to make any predictions. All we know is that tonight we have some work to do for tomorrow”.
Seb third and Kimi sixth
Austin – Come the end of the second free practice session, Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in 1’35”192. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth with a time of 1’35”514. Sebastian had a harmless spin around half an hour into the sessions, after he lost the rear end under braking, ending up in the gravel. He got the car back to the pits where the team made a set-up change, after which he had to pit again to have the front end checked over. He then went out again just before the end of the session. Kimi had a more straightforward afternoon, carrying out aerodynamic and tyre tests. Tomorrow the Texan track hosts the final free practice session at 18:00 CET, followed by qualifying at 23h00 CET.
P1 starts in the wet: Seb 2nd fastest, Kimi 7th
Austin – This morning in Texas – this afternoon in Europe – the USA GP weekend, the 17th round of the F1 season got underway. The first free practice session started off on a wet track. For his first few laps, Sebastian Vettel assessed the Halo protection system. After that, both he and Kimi Raikkonen used the same types of tyre, the Intermediates and the Supersofts. Sebastian set the second fastest time in 1’36”928, with Kimi seventh in 1’37”598. The second free practice session gets underway at 14h00 local time.
Seb and Kimi ahead of US Grand Prix: we trust our package and our people
Austin, October 19th – The last few races have proved to be disappointing for Scuderia Ferrari, but the results haven’t dented the team’s morale and both Seb and Kimi fully believe in the potential that lies in the package for the last four rounds of the 2017 season, starting with the US GP in the capital city of Texas. So they’d rather look ahead to the new challenges than back to the missed opportunities. “I still think we have a chance” says Seb “and we only have to stay focused on our job. We have a great car and a good package, which could have won the last two races; we didn’t, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have a chance to win the last races. So, we need to look at what’s next and focus on the next events. Overall, I think it’s been a very good season for us so far. Some people will base their judgement on the last couple of races, which were not so good, but I think we are the team that improved the most this year. Probably nobody expected us to be as strong as we have been. So, I think there are many positive aspects. We still have races ahead of us and a strong car and we keep improving. We are going in the right direction and we have clever people on board. So I don’t look at what is already behind us, and I stay focused on what’s ahead of us. As for this weekend, I honestly don’t know what to expect here, but the track is ‘mixed’ and the speed is there, so I am optimistic”. “From tomorrow on we’ll start to understand our level of competitiveness,” adds Kimi. “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be strong here, but we must wait and see. We need to put things together better in the early part of the weekend and make sure that we can be up there all the time. In the last races we had some difficulties, but let’s not forget that in every one of them we’ve had a Ferrari car on the first row of the grid in qualifying. So, the atmosphere and the approach in the team haven’t changed and I can’t find a reason why they should have. Obviously we have to understand and fix the issues; we need to minimize them and finish the races first of all, otherwise you pay a high price. But this all is part of racing, it’s not the first time it happens and it won’t be the last. We keep on working together as a team, even more closely now”.
Austin, the heir to a very long tradition
The story linking Formula 1 and the United States is a long and complex one. A story which, for several years, in two eras and at different tracks, crossed paths with that of Indianapolis, as the 500 Miles was part of the F1 world championship from the 50s to the 60s and also featured a backdrop of street circuits such as Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit, Long Beach and Phoenix and permanent tracks at Riverside, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Indy again, before finally landing up at the Circuit of the Americas.
Austin is a lively buzzing city, which is strong on music festivals. It’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird” which has grown into a whole ethos, while there’s a statue of a lady by the name of Angelina Eberly, who saved the city archives from being stolen by firing a cannon to wake up the townspeople. The track is set in the Texan plain surrounded by farms and Tex-Mex restaurants. It was opened in 2012, with the track layout built like a puzzle, featuring some of the most interesting corners from other championship tracks and surprisingly, it works. It runs anti-clockwise, like many of the newer venues and also like plenty of old American street circuits. Its stand out element, apart from the vertiginous viewing tower, is the very steep climb after the start, which leads to a hook-shaped left hander, designed specifically to offer various lines and encourage overtaking. Then comes a series of esses, reminiscent of Silverstone and Suzuka, another hairpin, a straight, and a twisty street-style section, which flows into a multi-radius corner in the style of the unforgettable Istanbul Park. Two tricky right angle corners complete the lap. Given the low tyre wear, the softest tyres in the range will be used here, namely, Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft.