THE US GP
THE MAIN EVENT
Given the Texan love of a fanfare, it’s something of a surprise that the Circuit of The Americas is so understated. While other new F1 venues have sought to make a statement with flamboyant architecture, COTA concentrates on the important stuff – namely exciting corners, fast changes of direction and a couple of on-theragged-edge overtaking zones. You can ditch the fake pagoda bridges and stick to the cinder-block strip-mall aesthetic when you have that.
Not that the race weekend lacks razzmatazz: It’s got cheerleaders, brass bands, busy grandstands, and celebrities galore. We could probably do without Saturday’s schedule being fiddled around to accommodate Justin Timberlake, but there’s no doubting the commitment of the US GP’S organisers to making a success of their grand prix. And at least this year we’ll be spared the phenomenon of traffic jams leading in to the circuit after qualifying as everyone queues up for the Taylor Swift concert.
CLASSIC RACE: 2012
For F1’s first outing here, hard Pirellis, low temperatures and raw asphalt combined to ensure F1 did a passable impression of Bambi on ice. The high-speed changes of direction and low grip made for compelling racing, with COTA’S homage to the Adelaide Hairpin and Hockenheim’s stadium section proving just as compelling as its take on Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel.
Lewis Hamilton took his final win for Mclaren after battling with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, while Fernando Alonso dragged a less-thancompetitive Ferrari to the podium to ensure a title showdown with Vettel at the final race in Brazil.