The past couple of days have been mainly occupied following the weather forecast and watching the rain fall. It’s been more like watching an English summer than waiting for what is the inevitable crowning of Lewis Hamilton as World Champion.
Not many drivers have been able to beat Lewis this season but Hurricane Patricia has been doing a good job. It’s been absolutely pouring it down for the majority of the past couple of days and qualifying won’t take place until Sunday followed by the race itself.
As well as getting soaked, the American fans have at least managed to get a few glimpses of the F1 cars. Not that many though as the final practice session was held without any viewing spectators after organisers told fans to stay away until noon for safety reasons. Meanwhile Sky presenters have been trying their best to keep rabbiting on for hour after hour with precious little to report, apart from the fact anyone with a garden won’t need to water it for a while.
Mercedes have been in top form despite the rain pouring down. Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session with Hamilton topping the list in the final practice. That was important for the championship leader because if qualifying couldn’t take place then those final practice placings would be used to form the grid.
One important job over the past couple of days has been preserving the restricted sets of tyres that can cope with any further wet conditions.
Hamilton only needs to beat Rosberg by two points and Vettel by nine to clinch his third world title. Even if it doesn’t happen this weekend we all know it’s just a matter of time before it does happen. The chances of it happening on Sunday has been heightened by the ten-place grid penalty that the Ferrari drivers have been given after using a fifth engine this weekend.
Hamilton was the only driver able to go under two minutes during the final practice session and was 0.863 seconds faster than Vettel. Rosberg was down in ninth so he’ll be hoping that qualifying definitely goes ahead. He didn’t have the easiest of times spinning on his first lap and damaging a front wing.
So what can we expect on Sunday, weather permitting Well, more rain is forecast and it could lead to a rather messy race. In some quarters that wouldn’t be a bad thing because it’d be a heck of a lot more interesting than some of the Mercedes dominated races we’ve had over the past couple of seasons.
With Vettel having to start down the grid because of his penalty, it looks as if only Rosberg can stop Hamilton clinching the title this weekend. If the form of the last few races is maintained, then a Hamilton title win looks inevitable. Hopefully this time he won’t give us the “I can’t believe it” routine as he did last year.
US Grand Prix Fact File
The first Grand Prix held on this track was in 2012
Lewis Hamilton has won two of the three races held on this track
Sebastian Vettel has started on pole in two of the three races held here
Only once has the car on pole won the race here, that was a Vettel win in 2013.
On all tracks, Lewis Hamilton has won three US Grand Prix races. That’s joint second with Graham Hill and Jim Clark. A fourth win would put him in outright second, one win behind Michael Schumacher who won five, including four in a row between 2003 and 2006.