Grand Prix 2014 United States Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

With Russian stamps all over their passports the members of the F1 Community now have to work their way past the Officers of Homeland Security at Austin-Bergstrom International airport. I hope they all remember to tick the "I have never been a member of a terrorist organisation" box on their visa waivers and smile sweetly for their security photo.

Enough of the nonsense, there's a Grand Prix to watch and enjoy. Remember 2012? We had a titanic battle for the lead between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton until a cucumber intervened and Lewis sneaked past for the win. Wow, we all thought, what a great race track. 2013 brought us down to earth with a bump as Vettel took pole and an easy win, although in fairness to the circuit he did that most weekends in 2013.

So what for 2014? The Mercedes drivers will, almost certainly, take the first two grid slots and, on current form, it would be hard to see past another Hamilton victory. But anything can happen in F1 and it often does. Nico Rosberg desperately needs a win in Austin not just for the points boost but also in the psychological battle with his team mate. Williams will probably be the best of the rest with Austin likely to suit their car. Could Bottas sneak a win? Unlikely, although I suspect a Massa win is even more unlikely.

Behind these McLaren seem to be on the way back up and are putting the upstarts at Force India in their place. Fourth and fifth in Russia was pretty good result compared to some of the events they have contested this year. Red Bull and Ferrari will be snapping away at one another, well Ricciardo and Alonso will be snapping away at one another whilst Vettel dreams of a bright red race suit and who knows what Kimi dreams of, vodka, ice cream, being beaten with a birch twig, his 2015 contract?

Toro Rosso had a really good show in Sochi but as soon as the race started they appeared to jump out of the way of the senior RB team. Perhaps their race set up just wasn't as good as their qualifying form suggested.

Down at the back we could have an American driver at Marussia with Alexander Rossi lined up to take the place of Jules Bianchi. I think it unlikely Marussia will choose to only run a single car again and it will be interesting to see how this young man does in a not so competitive F1 car. He's not having a great season in GP2 but I don't follow the series well enough to tell you if that is down to him or the car. I do suspect he will beat Max Chilton but then I suspect I could beat Max Chilton (is that could or want to?).

There's three teams left to discuss, all of them have been pretty crap in 2014. It's a shame to see Lotus, from the highs of 2013, so far down the field. Anyone else remember that Romain Grosjean finished second last year? Hard to believe isn't it. Sauber need a point or three to avoid dropping out of Bernie's free flight fund but given how Sutil and Gutierrez have driven so far it's going to have to be a highly attritional race for them to even get close to the points.

Kamui Kobayashi said in Sochi "he hopes" to be driving in Austin which must be quite demotivating given that he's beating his team mate race after race but he looks to be first on the subs bench when someone turns up with a wad of cash. I nearly forgot Pastor Maldonado. Not sure if anyone noticed but he brought the car home in Sochi. Admittedly he was second last and behind his team mate but kudos to you Pastor, there were some nasty walls around that circuit and you managed to avoid all of them.

One final thought, the Russian President turned up at the Grand Prix in Sochi. I know it was the first ever race in Russia and Mr Putin probably wanted to know where all those Roubles had gone but will we see his American counterpart gracing the Austin race? I'm guessing no, but as Barack sees out the end of his second term what else does he have to do? Not like there are any problems in the World at the moment are there?
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Sauber need a point or three to avoid dropping out of Bernie's free flight fund but given how Sutil and Gutierrez have driven so far it's going to have to be a highly attritional race for them to even get close to the points.

Well, based on form this season, the problem is, when a race becomes attritional, it appears to me at least that the Saubers are amongst the first to, erm, Attrish....
Please be exciting.

Ted Kravitz explained on his Russian NoteBook show, the reason the Russian race was boring was because the Tarmac was new and the surface hadn't been 'smoothed in!'

So Austin has been run on a few times, so we may find this race isn't tyre centric.

But then again.............
Most seasons in the past would have been over by now.


Lewis to win by a country mile
Rosberg to have 'some issue' that means the Mercs don't fight at the front.
Rossi to be plum last and out paced by Chilton
KMag to get a penalty for some reason
Massa to have 'some issue' he'll blame on someone else but is most likely his fault.
Grosjean to be seen sobbing in the garage over the state of his car.
Bernie to say something controversial
Everyone to over say how much they love being in America.
At least 2 mentions about the Indy 2005 race in commentary per session.
Some high profile American celeb to be there and asked to make a race prediction when they have no idea what is going on.
I did put the thread up a week earlier than normal Bill Boddy so it was likely to meander. Here's my top 3:


Hamilton will have a strange mechanical failure on lap 23.
Back to the thread guys,,,,,,,

My prediction

1) Ham
2) Ros
3) Bot
4) Massa
5) Jenson
6) Dan R
7) Seb
8) Alonso
9) K Mag
10) Danni K

Both Catherhams to start but develope strange issues around laps 12 and 16
Well I'm a marussia supporter but wouldn't be ironic if Sauber ended up in a position to pick up a few stray points over the next two races due to high attrition on the race course.
So now there will be two teams missing from this race. Surely the contract specified the number of cars to take part, and that number will, most likely not be met now. Does Bernie have to cough up a penalty fee? Can he be sued? I still don't know why all of the venues aren't suing him for devaluing their races by awarding double points for the final race!
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