Last weekend, at the COTA, or Circuit of The Americas for the “uninitiated” (like anyone cares) Lewis Hamilton became the 2019 World Champion Driver in F1, making it SIX total times. It is fitting that it happened in Texas.
The circuit is in Austin, TX, as many of you know. It is a purpose-built track, with wide spaces for cars to run out of control, good spectator access to all parts of the track, and decent weather in which to race (mostly). Don’t want to speculate on the cost of a ticket but expect from the number of bigwigs there that it is beyond my means. ‘Course I’m a known cheapskate. Many well-known names were on hand for pre-race interviews. I note that most seem to be “CONSULTANTS” to some race car outfit. Big pockets for German, French, and Italian teams.
The race itself had some good passing, but nothing dramatic. Vettel got to second in qualifying but balked on the takeoff and was outdragged by Bottas for first. Hamilton did his usual trick of moving up from 5th qualifying to the lead during the race, where he comfortably stayed until near the end. Then Bottas put a push on and passed him for the win. His second place, however, was enough to clinch the championship.
Clearly there were no team orders. Perhaps Hamilton laid back a touch as 2nd would win, or perhaps Valerie just plain did a magnificant job of driving. One might go with the latter considering his performance earlier in the race where he held 1st for a considerable time against all pressures. In all events, his efforts have made him second in the standings of driver championship, not an insignificant accomplishment.
So with several races still to go, Mercedes has clinched the Manufacturer’s Championship and its drivers 1st and 2nd place in the Drivers’ Championship. Nicely done.