Rosberg Rides To Glory In America
US Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg trails Championship leader and teammate, Lewis Hamilton, by 17 points going into this weekend’s US Grand Prix. Can he turn it around?
The Season So Far
Lewis Hamilton led all the way in Russia to win his fourth consecutive Grand Prix, giving him a healthy 17 point lead over Nico Rosberg in the Drivers’ Championship. Rosberg did well to recover from a first lap pit-stop to finish second, but with three races to go, has it all to do to overhaul his team-mate. Valtteri Bottas earned his fifth podium finish of the season for Williams and moved up to fourth.
The Circuit of the Americas in Austin made its debut in 2012 and is a typical modern Grand Prix track, combining a long straight with a mix of high and low speed corners. After a couple of years of the surface bedding in, grip shouldn’t be so much of a problem this time round, although the likely high temperatures will be tough on tyres.
In The Pits
Sebastian Vettel had managed a second in Singapore and a third in Japan and the reigning champion seemed to have some late-season momentum going to Sochi. But Red Bull endured a miserable weekend, with neither Vettel nor Daniel Ricciardo threatening to make the podium. On a faster track, I can’t see them getting near to Mercedes and neither driver makes any appeal in Austin.
Rosberg attempted to out-brake Hamilton on the first lap in Sochi and paid the penalty for his failed manoeuvre, but the way he sliced through the field to finish second underlined both his determination and the superiority of the Mercedes.
It is clear that Hamilton has the upper hand at the moment, but we know Rosberg can win races and if Hamilton were to make a misjudgement or suffer a mechanical problem, no-one else could stop the German. At 9/4 he still offers more value than his team-mate.
After a couple of poor races, Valtteri Bottas was back in form in Russia, qualifying for the race in third and finishing clear of the rest. He couldn’t catch either of the Mercedes, but he recorded the fastest lap of the race and a new official lap record as he mounted a failed charge to grab second from Rosberg late on. The Williams car looks the best of the rest and Bottas is worth backing each way at 12/1.
After a long hard season and an awful lot of work, the McClaren is finally beginning to look competitive and Jenson Button followed up his fifth in Japan with a fourth in Sochi. That should give the team confidence going to Austin, where they are fighting to hold off Force India in the Constructors’ Championship. A victory looks a tall order, but if things go his way, Button has experience to take advantage and is worth a look each way at 66/1.