Alfa Romeo heads to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas with bragging rights, last year’s United States Grand Prix race winner, Kimi Räikkönen, safe in its red-and-white branded garage.
2018’s edition was a great moment for the Iceman, then with Ferrari. The Finn storming to his first race win in 113 races, since Australia 2013 - and his 50th podium for the Prancing Horse.
Räikkönen’s 21st F1 victory put him 15th on the all-time winners list. One ahead of compatriot, two-time F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen. Michael Schumacher still leads the way on 91.
But, Räikkönen is nowhere near the most successful F1 racer in America, with that accolade going to someone still on the grid…
… Lewis Hamilton, who is top man stateside with six wins, including all but two in Austin, his first at Indianapolis. Schumacher has five, all at the IMS. Graham Hill and Jim Clark are on three each.
Hamilton though heads to the circuit able to clinch a sixth world title if he can outscore his teammate Valtteri Bottas by just four points…Austin where he secured his third in 2015.
The circuit itself is a classic with a breathtaking uphill straight. 30-metres the climb from the track’s lowest point between turns 19 and 20. And the drivers are huge fans, its corners inspired by other iconic turns.
AUDIO QUOTE (English) NICO HÜLKENBERG,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“Yeah it’s just a good combination of corners, a lot of elevation changes as well, which are always good to have and mix things up. It’s just a fun track and gives you a good sensation as a driver.”
Located 20 minutes from downtown Austin, the 5.513 kilometre track has 20 turns, 11 left and nine right - and a top speed of 330 kilometres an hour. Lewis Hamilton reset the lap record last year for Mercedes. There are two DRS activation zones, with the first on the back straight, the other located on the pit straight. There are also two DRS detection points, the first after Turn 10 and the second before Turn 19.
A real drivers’ track, deep in the heart of Texas…. It’s time for the United States Grand Prix.