Formula 1

By Vlad Roman,
General Manager, Smart Games

In October, Formula 1 moves to the American continents, four grand prix where we can still expect changes in the ranking order from the second positions down. At the moment, before the United States grand prix hosted by the “Circuit of the Americas” in Austin, the capital of the state of Texas, the situation is clear for the driver and the champion manufacturer, but the 2nd place among drivers is still contested by Perez, Hamilton and maybe even Alonso and in constructors, Mercedes has a slight lead over Ferrari.

The 19th round of the championship started on Friday with practice and qualifying, on Saturday with sprint qualifying followed by the sprint race and on Sunday – the race itself. The COTA circuit brings great challenges to the teams due to the unevenness, it has high speed corners in sector 1, a straight line in sector 2 and low speed corners in sector 3…so high downforce settings, followed by of low resistance and low downforces plus high tire wear and higher car lift due to uneven track surface.

The fastest time in qualifying was set by Max Verstappen but was disqualified for exceeding the circuit limits, as a result, pole position for Sunday’s race went to Charles Leclerc, ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen started the race from the sixth position, but the unlucky ones of the session were the drivers of Aston Martin and Williams placed on the last 2 lines at the start.

In sprint qualifying on Saturday, Max made no more mistakes, claiming pole by just 0.055 seconds ahead of Leclerc and 0.069 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Not much happened later in the sprint race, of course the Dutchman still won by over 9 seconds (which is a lot for only 14 laps of the circuit), Hamilton took the 2nd step of the podium followed by Leclerc. However, problems began to appear at Red Bull, following rumors launched by ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher and the TV channel Sky Sports, it seems that the power struggle between Christian Horner and Dr. Helmut Marko is intensifying, a fight in which triple champion Max Verstappen also involved, who would have pointed out that if Helmut Marko has to leave, he will also leave… but let’s leave the cancan for the moment and continue with Sunday’s race.

After a perfect start Lando Norris took the lead but was unable to hold off Lewis and Max, the Red Bull driver taking victory despite starting from P6 and brake problems in the second half of the race. Hamilton fought for a long time for the leading position, in the end, after an attack that came too late to seriously threaten the Dutchman’s victory, he had to settle for 2nd place. However, the result did not remain the same, around two hours later after the race, an announcement made by the FIA technical delegate caused an uproar. Two cars are reported to have failed post-race scrutineering – skid plates on Hamilton’s and Leclerc’s cars had excessive wear, so Lando Norris advanced to P2 and Carlos Sainz to 3rd. 4th went to Sergio Perez on that awaits him a special race at his home Circuit Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez, where all his fans want a Mexican victory.

At an altitude of 2285 meters, Mexico City is the highest Formula 1 circuit, the thinner air at this altitude affects the cars in different ways. While a normally aspirated engine would lose up to 25% of its power, modern turbo hybrid power units in F1 fare somewhat better – although there are still significant cooling challenges.

Lower drag allows for impressive speeds of over 350km/h on the long main straight, but cornering downforce is reduced. Teams try to compensate for this by running maximum levels of wings, which they can do without losing much in straight-line speed. In terms of car setup, Mexico is quite different from most places.

Qualifying was… Ferrari, both drivers passed Max, Ricciardo managed to position his Alpha Tauri on row 2 behind Carlos Sainz and Perez shares row 3 with Hamilton.

The start was brilliant!… Leclerc was caught immediately after the start by the Red Bull pilots, in the first corner Charles Leclerc’s front left wheel touched the right rear tire of Sergio Perez, which “flew” to the side of the track, with difficulty he managed to take the car to the pits but to the great disappointment of the Mexican fans he had to abandon.

After three laps Max Verstappen already had a lead of over a second and a half over Charles Leclerc, who could not attack with DRS. Shortly afterwards, the Monegasque’s broken front wing endplate came off and the marshals called for a VSC phase on lap five to recover the wreckage.

On lap 33, a crash by Kevin Magnussen turned the race upside down. The Dane missed the line on the exit of the last corner and went hard over the curbs. Shortly thereafter, the right rear suspension broke causing an uncontrolled spin at approximately 220 km/h ending up in the Tecpro barrier. Kevin Magnussen immediately got out of the burning wreckage. Race control first called for the safety car, but the red flag immediately followed. During the 20 minute break, the drivers changed tires, some went out on hards, others on mediums, it seems that the Mercedes strategy worked, the mediums gave results compared to Leclerc’s hards, Hamilton overtook him in lap 39 and set off in pursuit of Max… no luck though! After 71 laps of the circuit the start/finish line was crossed in order by Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Sainz, Norris and Russel. Australians Ricciardo and Piastri followed and the points-scoring platoon was completed by Albon and Ocon.

Articolul precedentAutumn asthenia
Articolul următorWorld Poker Tour announces $40 million guarantee for 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas