Qualifying at the 2016 United States Grand Prix

Sunday’s USGP marks the 5th anniversary of Formula 1’s return to the United States at Circuit of The Americas, as well as the return of America to the starting grid, with Haas F1 Team racing in front of their home audience.

For Haas F1’s qualifying debut on home soil, Romain Grosjean’s day ended early, landing him P17 in Q1 while teammate Esteban Gutierrez made it to the second qualifying round to place 14th in the session. Both drivers struggled yesterday in practice with mechanical failures to their new front wings and low grip as they tried to optimize their setups for the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, who trails his teammate Nico Rosberg by 33 points, took his 9th pole position of the season and his first ever at Circuit of the Americas, while besting his teammate by over two tenths of a second. Interestingly, all of Lewis’ victories have come from second on the grid, the only other race winner at Circuit of the Americas being Sebastian Vettel.

Haas F1 Team is currently 8th in the constructor’s championship standings, having scored 28 points and a double points finish at the last race in Japan. Speaking in yesterday’s team principal’s press conference, Red Bull’s Christian Horner commented on Haas F1 Team’s inaugural season:

“I think they’ve had a great first year. First of all, it’s super to have a credible team on the grid. Haas has got a great track record in motorsport in this territory and to come into Formula One is no insignificant challenge so, to have come in, to have come in credibly and efficiently and gone about scoring a good portion of points, being competitive, I think it’s very, very positive.”

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul was also complimentary, adding:

“I think they’ve done a great job and in particular because they are ahead of us so they are some form of nightmare to us, to the championship. Mostly, I think it is interesting because they are showing that, as always, the points you are taking at the start of the season are very important.”

This weekend marks the first time an American F1 team has taken part in a Grand Prix weekend in three decades.

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Haas F1 Team’s 2016 USGP Ticket Contest #Haastin

The United States Grand Prix is right around the corner (October 21 – 23), and Circuit of The Americas has provided America’s Formula 1 Team with a pair of tickets to give away for the highly anticipated upcoming debut of Haas F1 Team on home soil:

Announced today via the team’s twitter account, the video contest winner will receive a pair of tickets to the upcoming USGP in Austin. Using hashtag #Haastin to enter, fans can submit their video via twitter (here’s a how to guide) and show the team their impression of a lap around the 3.427 mi (5.513 km) circuit.  COTA’s 20 turns include an elevation change of 133 feet (41 m), and feature some of the best corners in the Formula 1 calendar, drawing inspiration from Silverstone’s esses through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel, Hockenheimring’s hairpin, and the infamous turn 8 at the Istanbul circuit.

 

 

Entry length will be limited to 2m 20s (max length currently allowable on twitter), and are due by this Sunday, September 25th, at 8:21pm EST.

So there you have it:  Do your lap in a French or a Spanish accent, or give it your best Santino Ferrucci impersonation if you’re going for a more reserve driver approach.  Channel your inner Romain Grosjean (#8) or Esteban Gutierrez (#21) and brake late, throttle early – may the best entry win.

As part of the team’s announcement, here’s a video to give some inspiration – good luck, and start your recording!

 

* This contest is for tickets only, travel and accommodations are not included.

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A Cold One in Canada

2016 Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton 1st, Sebastian Vettel 2nd, Valtteri Bottas 3rd

2016 Canadian Grand Prix:  Lewis Hamilton 1st, Sebastian Vettel 2nd, Valtteri Bottas 3rd

Unseasonably cool temperatures, changing weather conditions, and gusty winds added to the unforgiving nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend.  As fans braved race day temperature in the mid 50s, pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and runner up Nico Rosberg lost out to Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari at the start as Vettel overtook both drivers on the main straight before turn 1.  The Mercedes teammates came together briefly, bumping wheels as Hamilton forced Rosberg onto the chicane’s runoff, where he rejoined the race in 9th.

After several collisions with the wall and even more near misses earlier in the weekend, it was pit strategy that played a key role as the cooler weather today made lap 25 an optimum choice according to Pirelli for ultra and regular soft tires on a one stop strategy.  Vettel’s two stop strategy was revealed on lap 11 as the virtual safety car was called due an engine failure on Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda on lap 9.  Lewis was able to retake the lead, setting fastest sector times around the circuit, eventually changing his ultra soft tires in on lap 24 for regular softs.  Without looking back, Lewis held the lead to take his second win this season.

Williams F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas, who was also on a one stop strategy, started from seventh on the grid, working his way through the field to finish third behind Hamilton and Vettel.

Hamilton has now narrowed the gap to Rosberg’s lead at 116-107 as the season heads back to Europe for the Summer.

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