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Formula One Returns To USA
Nov 18 - In the penultimage race of the season,
Formula One returned to the United States,
racing at the new Circuit of the Americas track
in Austin Texas.
The course was completed only in time for the
F1 race. Consequently the new track was
slippery, especially the first day of practice.
The course looked great, difficult and fun. It
features a long straight, a big uphill climb to the
first turn and lots of curves.
An interesting architectural feature is a tall
17-story tower with a stairwell that winds up it to
a platform for a few dozen lucky folks. It must
have an elevator.
Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole. If Vettel
won the race and Fernando Alonso finished
worse than 6th then Vettel would win the
Although Alonso started 7th, he had his usual
good start and slotted into 4th at the first turn of
the race. He had qualified 8th and his
team-mate, Felipe Massa, qualified 6th. This
put Alonso on the dirty side of the track.
Ferrari cleverly broke the FIA seal on Massa's
gearbox resulting in a penalty which moved
Massa back to P11 and caused Alonso to
move to P7 where he could start on the clean
Lewis Hamilton started next to Vettel and was
passed at the start by Mark Webber. Hamilton
would go on to pass both Red Bull cars for the
lead. He retained it to win the 2012 USGP. He
also won the last USGP which was run in
Alonso finished 3rd and retained a chance to
win the championship at the last race which is
|Cool Fly By in Texas USA!
|Cool Tower at Circuit of the Americas
All three drivers on the podium donned cowboy hats
NASCAR Season Ending Race
Nov 18 - The fuel strategy that was supposed to carry
Jimmie Johnson to a sixth championship instead
made a winner of his teammate, Jeff Gordon, who
triumphed in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at
Homestead-Miami Speedway as Brad Keselowski
locked up the Sprint Cup title.
Gordon crossed the finish line 1.028 seconds ahead
of Clint Bowyer as Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet sat
forlorn in the garage, Johnson's title hopes the victim
of a pit road mistake and a rare part failure.
Keselowski finished 15th, a lap down, but Johnson's
difficulties took the suspense out of the title fight in the
closing laps of the race. Johnson entered the season
finale 20 points behind Keselowski, but his 36th-place
result cost him second place in the final standings.
The Cup championship was the first for team owner
Roger Penske, and the first since 1975 for car
maker Dodge, which is leaving Cup racing at the end
of the season.
Aggressive pit strategy put Johnson in position to
challenge for the title, but the race fell apart for the 48
team after the 200-lap mark.
Able to finish the race on one pit stop to Keselowski's
two, Johnson brought the No. 48 Chevrolet to pit road
on Lap 214. Johnson, however, pulled away from his
stall with a loose lug nut, and NASCAR mandated
another stop to correct the error.
The coup de grace came on Lap 226, when Johnson
returned to pit road with the drive line problem. The
No. 48 crew pushed the car to the garage, where it
sat for the rest of the race.
Keselowski, who didn't cover Johnson's move when
the No. 48 topped off the fuel tank on Lap 158, knew
he had dodged a bullet.
"He was going to win this race, and I know that,"
Keselowski said. "We were not as fast as we wanted
to be, and we'd be the first to admit that, but my guys
never gave up. We kept working, and at the end there
we were even capable of getting back up enough to
where it wouldn't have mattered if he'd have won --
which made me feel a lot better."
|Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske
Thrilling F1 Finale
Nov 25 - Sebastian Vettel clinched his third
successive drivers' championship after an utterly
absorbing final race in Brazil, his sixth-place finish
enough to prevent Fernando Alonso, who came
home second behind Jenson Button, from
In a superb afternoon where fortunes ebbed and
flowed on almost every lap, Vettel's hopes appeared
to be dashed within seconds of the start when he
collided with Bruno Senna, spun and was left at the
back of the field. But he battled through, never getting
ahead of Alonso but always close enough that the
13-point cushion he brought to Interlagos was going to
Button's win on an increasingly wet afternoon was
handed to him when Lewis Hamilton, who had
appeared set to leave McLaren with back-to-back
victories, was taken out 16 laps from the end by Nico
Hulkenberg as the Force India driver tried to regain
a lead he had held for a large chunk of the race.
Felipe Massa was third having allowed his
team-mate through in to second place late in the race
but second proved one place too low for Alonso who
lost out to Vettel by three points. Red Bull team-mate
Mark Webber came home fourth ahead of the
recovering Hulkenberg, with Vettel a distant sixth
ahead of the retiring Michael Schumacher,
Jean-Eric Vergne, Kamui Kobayashi and Kimi
The race ended behind a safety car as Paul di Resta
crashed heavily on the run towards the finish line on
the penultimate lap, with some standing water
catching him out on intermediate tires.
Hulkenberg made good progress up to fourth place as the
rain made conditions very tricky.
Hamilton had led from pole but Button seemed more
comfortable in the conditions and took the lead on lap
eight, with Hulkenberg having already cleared Alonso and
shadowing both McLarens. Webber was the first man on to
intermediate tires on lap 10 and the rest of the field soon
followed with only Button and Hulkenberg staying on slicks.
It was a move that paid off as the two stayed over 20
seconds clear of the field, and Hulkenberg took advantage
of a twitch from Button towards turn one to take the lead
after 19 laps.
At the same time as the lead changed hands drivers were
switching back to slick tires, with Rosberg soon picking up
a puncture as more and more debris built-up on the track.
The safety car was deployed, giving Button and
Hulkenberg the chance to pit but also erasing their
comfortable lead. When Hulkenberg made a mistake,
Button passed him for the lead.
When everyone pit for intermediates, Vettel had enough
pace to pass Schumacher for sixth, meaning Alonso
While Massa allowed Alonso through in to second place he
was 20 seconds behind Button and could make no
impression on the leader. The late safety car ensured the
field finished the race in a line but ultimately it was Vettel
who had done just enough to win a third consecutive world
championship and join an elite group of Schumacher, Juan
Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart,
Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna as triple world
|Sebastian Vettel remains #1
Fernando Alonso missed another championship opportunity