Rating the drivers’ performance in the United States Grand Prix
Vettel was flawless all weekend and ultimately couldn’t have held off Lewis Hamilton for the win. He was unlucky with the position of Narain Karthikeyan, even if being passed by the McLaren was an inevitability rather than a possibility.
Mark Webber | Ret | 7/10
For the first time in three years Webber retires from two consecutive races. He was holding third place when the alternator failed. Renault hasn’t sorted the problem and that will be a huge concern for Vettel in Brazil.
Jenson Button | 5th | 8/10
Button’s qualifying woes – not his fault – were exacerbated on Lap 1 as he dropped to sixteenth. He fought back resolutely, including an aggressive move on Bruno Senna and a perfectly judged one on Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton | 1st | 11/10
Was it his best win? Possibly. Hamilton’s victories in 2012 haven’t necessarily been the swashbuckling style of past years, but his driving this season has been outstanding. Ifs and buts don’t count in this sport, even if you can’t help but wonder what might have been.
His gesture on the podium was clear: one more. After a season of miracles for the Spaniard, he can be world champion in six days’ time. However, he’s never won in Brazil and hasn’t led a lap since July. One more miracle…?
Felipe Massa | 4th | 9/10
He was understandably unhappy at taking one for the team, even if it is entirely logical from Ferrari’s point of view. His race was exquisitely judged, and if the title wasn’t at stake, he’d be on the podium. His form could see Ferrari beat McLaren to second in the championship.
Michael Schumacher | 16th | 6/10
For all of his previous indiscretions, Schumacher doesn’t deserve his career to fizzle out in such ignominious circumstances. He slipped back from 5th to 16th, which says more about the state of the car than of him.
Nico Rosberg | 13th | 5/10
Mercedes managed the impressive feat in Austin of being slow to get their tyres up to temperature and then eating them up at a rate of knots. Kudos to them, it really is some feat.
His 100% finishing record looked under threat for a split second when he was shoved off at Turn 2, dropping him behind Hulkenberg. He fought back a few laps later to go around the outside of the German in what was the move of the race.
Romain Grosjean | 7th | 6/10
Strong qualifying? Check. Very good race pace? Check. A dogged battle with a rival driver that almost ends in contact? Check. A silly error that loses his time and a couple of points? Check. Grosjean’s 2012 season in a nutshell.
Paul di Resta | 15th | 4/10
After being so strong in the first part of the season, di Resta’s year has fizzled out. He lamented oversteer that led to a spin, but the fact is that his team mate managed points.
Nico Hulkenberg | 8th | 7/10
Is his move to Sauber a move forwards or a move sideways? Only time will tell, but if the Sauber really is as good as everyone thinks it is, Hulkenberg could be in for some strong results in 2013.
Kamui Kobayashi | 14th | 4/10
He was one of the first out on track on Friday and he didn’t get anywhere near hitting an apex while the track was dusty. The weekend hardly improved and he barely threatened the top ten. Gutierrez is expected to be announced this week.
Sergio Perez | 11th | 6/10
When you’re under pressure for being erratic ahead of moving to a big team, weaving in front of Glock and then shoving Pic off the road in practice probably isn’t a good idea. He somehow escaped a penalty but brake issues limited his progress.
Daniel Ricciardo | 12th | 7/10
Ricciardo has been one of the impressive drivers across the second half of the season, although points eluded him in Austin. Toro Rosso gambled on running long, but it didn’t pay off.
Jean Eric Vergne | Ret | 5/10
Since being picked up by Red Bull mid-season, Antonio Felix da Costa has finished 3rd in GP3, been almost untouchable in FR3.5 and is now a Macau F3 winner. 2013 practice runs beckon.
Pastor Maldonado | 9th | 7/10
Maldonado was strong all weekend but wasn’t quite quick enough when it mattered in Q3. Despite starting on the clean side of the grid, he made an awful start but his drive was strong, including a bold move on Senna.
Bruno Senna | 10th | 6/10
He started tenth and finished tenth, but there was a lot of action in the middle. He was part of the early midfield battle behind the ailing Schumacher, although his race was hindered by emerging from the pits behind Hulkenberg.
Heikki Kovalainen | 18th | 6/10
Kovalainen suffered from tyre issues all weekend and that limited his progress. He battled with Glock throughout the race, eventually passing the Marussia late on. Glock, however, saw it differently…
Vitaly Petrov | 17th | 7/10
Petrov outqualified Kovalainen and despite suffering from a small vibration for the last part of the race, he stayed ahead of his team mate to win the Class B fight.
When you consider how much the front teams were sliding early on in the weekend, imagine what it was like for the HRT drivers, who have about as much grip as a shopping trolley. De La Rosa did well to finish, considering his carbon seat broke with five laps to go.
Narain Karthikeyan | 22nd | 3/10
The team is flailing, the end is apparently nigh and we hope that everyone affected by a company who has lost interest can find work again within the sport. Well, nearly everyone.
Timo Glock | 19th | 7/10
“Late in the race I was able to get past Heikki in Turn 12 but in Turn 15 he dived in again and retook position, pushing me off the track a bit”. It may be only for 18th place, but it’s a jungle out there.
Charles Pic | 20th | 6/10
Pic was the driver who lost out at the first corner as front wing damage resulted in understeer for the duration of the race.
If you’ve read this and have not taken part in our 2012 survey, please do so!