Austin mae­stros make merry

F1 Racing - - USA DEBRIEF -

As Lewis Hamil­ton proved that he’s the CoTA mas­ter, Fer­nando Alonso put in a drive for the ages

If you’ve ever won­dered why it is that Fer­nando Alonso re­mains the most highly rated driver in For­mula 1, you had only to watch the clos­ing laps of the 2016 US GP for an ex­pla­na­tion. There he was, in full mata­dor mode, rag­ing against his ma­chine in pur­suit of fth place, de­fy­ing those ahead of him – Felipe Massa and Car­los Sainz – to keep him from what he con­sid­ered his due.

With ten laps to go, Sainz was in pos­ses­sion of fth place and clos­ing on a re­sult that would have been his best yet in For­mula 1. Hav­ing starred in qual­i­fy­ing to crack into the top ten, his Toro Rosso team reck­oned a two-stop strat­egy would be their best means of se­cur­ing a strong points nish. And as the laps ticked down, their gam­ble of leav­ing Sainz to com­plete the last 26 laps on softs – ve more than the rec­om­mended max­i­mum – seemed to be pay­ing off.

The trou­ble was, Massa was clos­ing on Sainz while Alonso was clos­ing on Massa. In a post-

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