The 2012 Formula 1 Austin Texas inaugural US Grand Prix is in the record books and what a great and action packed race it was. You can simply judge the success of this race by the jam packed spectator stands. The virgin race track provided low grip, but this venue was second to none in terms of celebrity, eye candy, and racing action.
Sebastian Vettel dominated the practice sessions and it was more of the same in Qualifying. Vettel’s RedBull kept getting faster and faster through the three sessions. However, the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton was not very far behind. Lewis took the second qualifying spot with Mark Webber rounding out the top three. Fernando Alonso did not have a good Saturday, he posted a 9th quickest time in the final qualifying session.
Ferrari then turned to dark trickery in order to position Alonso, the Championship title chaser, for the best possible result. They took off the FIA inspection tag off of Felipe Massa’s transmission, thus causing Massa to take a 5 grid spot penalty. This and another penalty on Grosjean’s Lotus allowed Fernando to move up to 7th starting spot and onto the cleaner part of the track. All this shuffling paid big dividends, as Alonso made a great launch and made it through the first corner into 4th place.
There was more passing in this race then I can remember in any other race from this season. Wow! And the action did not end to the last millisecond of the very last lap. Lewis Hamilton drove a masterful race and was rewarded with a well deserved win. Vettel did not go down without a fight as the gap between him and Lewis was just 0.6 seconds. These two guys were in a league of their own. Alonso came in third, but was nearly 40 seconds behind. He took advantage of the alternator failure on Mark Webber’s RedBull, which took Webber out early in the race.
The Driver’s championship is still alive, as Alonso still has a chance to beat Vettel in Brazil next weekend. However, RedBull team clinched the all important Constructor’s championship this weekend for the third straight year in a row. Congratulations to RedBull.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, and software engineer. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering with a car in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.