Count me among the thousands of people who have been glued to their TVs every Sunday morning to watch Formula 1 since eagerly watching Netflix Drive to survive during a coronavirus pandemic. This year’s Austin Grand Prix was expected as a home race to taste one of the best championship seasons of recent years and the first race on U.S. soil since last year’s cancellation.
The action starts on Friday and you can watch live on ESPN and its associated channels.
Friday (October 22) – Exercise 1 at 12:25 ET on ESPN 2
Friday (October 22) – Exercise 2 at 15:55 ET on ESPN 2
Saturday (October 23) – Exercise 3 at 13:55 ET on ESPN News
Saturday (October 23) – Qualifiers at 4:55 ET on ESPN News
Sunday (October 24) – Race at 15:00 ET on ABC
Here are some of the best stories you can watch at the Austin Grand Prix.
One of the best driver championship races
Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton six points at the top of the league table with six races to go.
For those just getting acquainted with drama, we have a clash between arguably one of the greatest drivers of all time and the next big star.
On September 26, Hamilton recorded his 100th victory at the Russian Grand Prix. His dominance in the last decade has led him to set a record in F1 for most points, most pole positions, most podiums and most consecutive races on the way to seven drivers ’championship titles.
Verstappen won seven races in 2021 and is looking for his first title at 24 years old. He would be the first driver after Nico Rosberg in 2016 to beat Hamilton. Although this year’s championship could also reflect the season in which the last race in Abu Dhabi determined the winner, it is different because Rosberg and Hamilton were teammates in Mercedes. Verstappen is not in the same car as Hamilton, but he keeps it close.
With four changes in the lead at the top of the league table in the last six races, this is one of the best finishes of the season. Tensions rose between the two drivers at the Italian Grand Prix in September Verstappen and Hamilton collapsed and kicked each other out of the race. This led to strong criticism at the expense of Verstappen, as he walked away from the collision without checking Hamilton, who got stuck under a Red Bull car but was saved from any serious injury due to advances in Halo cockpit protection technology.
Verstappen has a pair of runners-up in the last two races, in Russia and Turkey, but the station in Texas is a place with a rich history for Hamilton. Mercedes has won five of its last six races in Austin with four consecutive Hamilton victories from 2014 to 2017, followed by last year’s victory of Valterri Bottas. Red Bull’s last win in this race was Sebastian Vettel in 2013.
Looking ahead, Red Bull could gain an advantage with races in Mexico and Brazil competing at altitude — an area where Mercedes’ car wasn’t as great. Saudi Arabia looks like a throwaway. Qatar and Abu Dhabi have favored Mercedes in recent years. Both teams would also have to replace engine parts, which changed the start order for some due to the F1 penalty net of 10 places to change the drive unit, so all systems are in order.
With all that said: Remember, this is F1 where bad boxing stops, a collision, engine failure or even rain (sorry to Land Norris fans for reminding me how Russia ended) could make a difference.
Who do other drivers want to beat?
It was interesting to read the comments of other drivers when asked who they would rather see in the win between Verstappen and Hamilton.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo didn’t necessarily stand aside, but He said: “I think obviously people like to see a fresh face, so maybe Max is a more popular voice, because that would be his first title, and it’s something new and exciting for everyone. So it’s always like you have that story of feeling good. ”
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AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda sided with Verstappen since Red Bull also runs Honda. During the Turkish GP, he admitted that he wanted to keep Hamilton as long as possible. (It was only eight laps before Hamilton passed. Tsunoda finished 14th that day.)
“I want Max to win last year’s Honda, as well as for Red Bull,” Tsunoda said. “So I tried to keep Lewis as long as possible because I don’t know how many laps. I was trying to save more of my tires. ”
Constructive championship warm-up via Perez and Bottas
Mercedes currently leads in the construction championship with 433.5 points, and Red Bull with 397.5 points but it is getting closer after the recent strong driving of driver no. 2 of each team.
Bottas won from the pole position and recorded the fastest lap of the day after Hamilton entered the fastest time in qualifying, but received a penalty of 10 positions online for the new drive unit and then finished fifth overall. It seems like the burden has been lifted from Bottas ’shoulders since it was announced he would be driving for Alfa Romeo 2022. Of all the drivers, Bottas has collected the most points since the news was released on September 6th. His total of 54 points since then came from third place in Italy, fifth in Russia and a victory in Turkey.
Perez’s third place in Turkey was his first podium since the French Grand Prix in June. After the race in Turkey, Perez joked to Verstappen: “You owe me a couple of tequilas!” to retain Hamilton. Verstappen said he would take them to Perez after the Mexico City Grand Prix.
A bet is a bet
Before the start of the season, McLaren CEO Zak Brown bet with Ricciard that if the driver won his first podium for the team in 2021, he would be allowed to drive a 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo by Dale Earnhardt Sr. The Aussie star managed it. At the Italian Grand Prix in September, Ricciardo and his teammate Lando Norris scored 1-2 in Monza for McLaren’s first victory since 2012.
Danica Patrick: The US needs its F1 star
As this sport continues to grow in the United States, one of the biggest ways he could find a second take-off point would be to have an American driver. There have been no American drivers in F1 since 2015. There are only 20 vacancies, and politics is certainly in play as some drivers are given the opportunity due to possible sponsorships they can bring or personal connections.
U.S. driving star Danica Patrick, who will be part of Sky Sports ’coverage of F1, also shared hopes for the U.S. driver in the near future.
“If there was an American driver we could cheer for, then I think what you would see here is more coverage,” she he told Motorsport.com. “Be it, you know, late-night television, magazines, morning news, generally just sports coverage; there would be a reason for that, and I think that would definitely help.”
Mario Andretti enters the chat
Rumors are heating up that Andretti Autosport is interested in taking over Sauber, who oversees the Alfa Romeo team. (Twitter Andretti Autosporta the bill teased fans on Wednesday morning with “little team news” before announcing Avalanche as the title sponsor of his Formula E team)
If a bigger thing happened, 21-year-old IndyCara star Colton Hertha could be a name you’d start to hear as a possible transfer to F1. He competed with Land Norris in F3 back in 2016, and returned to the US to drive an IndyCar in 2017. In 2019, he went down in history as the youngest winner in the series ’history.
One of the biggest obstacles the search for an American driver faces is finding someone with FIA super license. Hertha currently qualifies for one. However, unless Andretti opens the door, he sounds like he’s happy with his current lineup.
“I know the time for a Formula 1 race is short and I would give it a chance, but I knew I would always be able to get back to IndyCar,” Herta told the AP. “And I’ve always planned to race IndyCar for most of my career.”
Gene Haas is currently the sole owner of the US F1 team and is his only team not yet to score a point in the 2021 Constructors rankings. year.
Eyes Already in 2022
Formula 1 announced its 2022 season calendar last Friday. The schedule includes 23 races over 36 weekends for a new record. The season will start on March 20 in Bahrain. The United States will have its second race in 2022 with the Miami Grand Prix from May 6 to 8.
More race reports:
• F1, NBA announce a partnership to celebrate the 75th season
• F1 reveals the entire race calendar for 2022 with 23 races
• Lewis Hamilton became the first F1 driver to record 100 wins
• The CEO of Netflix would ‘certainly consider’ buying the rights to broadcast F1 races