Round 17 of the 2014 Formula One World Championship brings us to Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix. This will be the third time that an F1 race will be held at the circuit, whose eclectic mix of corners, both fast and slow, makes the event technically demanding for the drivers and provides fans with a fantastic opportunity to see F1 cars driven at the limit.
In the video above, championship leader Lewis Hamilton takes us through a lap of the circuit, using the simulator back at Mercedes AMG’s headquarters to demonstrate how he positions himself for some of the key corners.
The design of the circuit takes inspiration from many of the great corners around the world. In sector one there is a sequence of fast corners reminiscent of Becketts-Maggots at Silverstone, and the 180-degree right-hander towards the end of the lap is similar to Turn 8 at Istanbul Park. The track’s signature bend, however, is Turn 1. It’s approached up a 133-foot incline, not dissimilar in steepness to Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps, and the apex is blind.
Come Sunday, drivers will have to complete 56 laps of the 3.43-mile circuit.
The weather should be fine and sunny throughout the weekend, although there’s a slight chance we’ll see some rain during tomorrow’s initial practice session. Pirelli has nominated its medium and soft compounds, a softer combination than was used at the previous two races held in Austin.
Unfortunately, both Caterham and Marussia will be sitting out the race due to financial reasons as well as, in Marussia’s case, the fact that one of its drivers, Jules Bianchi, remains in hospital with serious head injuries after a tragic accident at the Japanese Grand Prix. It's also been confirmed that Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion and last year's winner at Austin, won't be taking part during Saturday's qualifying as he's been forced to start the race from pit lane because of his team's decision to use a sixth powertrain this season. Five is the penalty-free limit.
Going into the weekend, Lewis Hamilton leads the 2014 Drivers’ Championship with 291 points. His Mercedes AMG teammate Nico Rosberg remains in second with 274 points while Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo sits in third with 199 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG has already been declared the champion thanks to its unbeatable 565 points. Infiniti Red Bull Racing is in second with 342 while Williams is in third with 216.