Rosberg v Hamilton In Texas

2016-10-19 06:00

THE F1 paddock travels halfway around the world from Japan to the lone star state of Texas and the Circuit of the Americas for the 16th round of the season.

The Circuit of the Americas, designed by F1 architect Herman Tilke, hosted its first race in 2012. As one of the newest circuits on the calendar it doesn’t quite fit the mould of a modern circuit. While it does have acres of run-off areas like its modern counterparts, its layout is a real throwback to old school circuits.

The Esses section in Sector 1 is especially reminiscent of the Maggots-Becketts section at Silverstone with a hint of Suzuka bleeding into the combination.

“The track in Austin is sick; I love it. It has a lot of unique features like the wide apex at turn one, you could fit about four cars side by side through there. There are loads of opportunities to overtake and have fun throughout the whole track,” says Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Last year Lewis Hamilton arrived in Texas with one hand on the driver’s title, but this year it’s a much different story for the Mercedes driver. He trails teammate Nico Rosberg by 33 points with a maximum of 100 points still available.

This means that even if Hamilton wins all four of the remaining races it does not ensure that he will win the title. Even if this situation eventuates, Rosberg would still need to finish third in at least one of the races for Hamilton to be champion.

But in the dominant era of Mercedes there has never been a better chance for Lewis Hamilton to show a real champion’s courage.

Never has any driver or champion been revered for winning from the front but rather for how they respond when the odds are against them.

Racing in the USA has been very rewarding for Hamilton. As a rookie he won in North America at Indianapolis in 2007 and has won three of the four races held in Texas. It stands to reason, barring unreliability, that the reigning world champion will be difficult to beat in Texas.

Let’s not diminish the performance of Rosberg in 2016. The way he has been inching his way to the title has been extraordinary. Few could argue that he wouldn’t deserve the title at the end of it. And he’s, mostly, aced it off the start line this season.

The beauty of the fight between Hamilton and Rosberg, despite the latter’s points lead, is that it is impossible to predict. There still hasn’t been a true wheel-to-wheel race between the two either. Perhaps Texas is primed for just such a battle.

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