NBC Sports Network Formula One pit reporter Will Buxton and Caterham reserve driver Alexander Rossi, the only American with a valid superlicense, had time in Bahrain to experience something not many civilians get the chance to do: ride on board the USS Typhoon. A host of U.S. Naval ships are in the area.
Daniel Ricciardo may have been disappointed to lose second place in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix after a badly-timed Virtual Safety Car period, but that didn’t stop the Red Bull driver offering some entertainment on the podium.
Ricciardo made a rocket start to run second behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton early on at the Circuit of The Americas, with championship leader Nico Rosberg struggling to keep up in third.
Mercedes rolled the dice with Rosberg’s strategy, only to get a free pit stop under VSC when Ricciardo’s temamate, Max Verstappen, suffered a gearbox failure.
Rosberg jumped up to second in the process, much to Ricciardo’s frustration.
Ricciardo eventually crossed the line third, marking his sixth podium finish in the last eight races and tightening his grip on P3 in the drivers’ championship.
The podium interviews were conducted by actor Gerard Butler, who had Ricciardo’s infamous ‘shoey’ forced upon him, only with Red Bull in place of champagne.
“Gerard told me he doesn’t drink alcohol, so we had to figure something out,” Ricciardo told NBCSN after the race.
“Then one of the boys threw Red Bull up. Much to his dismay, he did it.”
Ricciardo then turned on his Texan accent, something he had broken out intermittently over the COTA weekend after spending Wednesday working on an authentic local farm.
Ricciardo also broke it out when talking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton after the race, even quoting racing icon and star of Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby.
“I’m not sure what to do with my hands! My friend Ricky Bobby said- oh that’s too much!” Ricciardo said, before returning to his usual speaking voice.
“Yeah the VSC was frustrating. I expressed some frustration. It’s a good rule in many respects, but it hurts when it has that on you.
“Nico gained about 10 seconds on us. That’s an eternity in racing terms. Especially as it’s a Mercedes.
“That made it a bit stationary at the end. Even if he caught me he would have made it interesting. Cool place, cool podium, cool anthem. I live for that stuff.
“We had Nico’s pace. That’s encouraging. We’ll do what we can in the next few. Another big bag of points. Just me and Seb [Vettel] out there but we gained a little on Ferrari.”
Ricciardo then offered yet more science on the shoey, believing that the Red Bull energy drink will have eased the taste of his sweaty race boot after a 56-lap run at COTA.
“I didn’t try it! I smelt it. It smelt pretty good. Red Bull has a strong flavor. It killed the bad stuff,” Ricciardo said.
“My foot wasn’t that sweaty. Gerard had a small coronary on the podium, but he recovered.”
Never change, Danny Ric.
Max Verstappen has been voted Driver of the Day for the United States Grand Prix despite retiring from the race due to a gearbox failure.
Verstappen qualified fourth in Austin before a poor start saw him slip behind Kimi Raikkonen during the opening stages at the Circuit of The Americas
The Red Bull driver took the position back before closing in on Nico Rosberg through the second stint of the race, but retired soon after due to a gearbox issue.
Nevertheless, Verstappen has won the online fan vote for Austin, the result being announced on F1’s official Twitter account on Sunday night.
AUSTIN, Texas – After an eight-race scoring “drought” since the Austrian Grand Prix, the 10th race of the season, Haas F1 Team broke its longest pointless scoring streak to date with a welcome and perhaps surprising return to the points in today’s United States Grand Prix in Austin from Circuit of The Americas.
Although Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez started only 17th and 14th respectively in the pair of Haas VF-16 Ferraris, they both made it to the fringes of the top 10 early before resuming in their sometimes eternal position of 11th.
Gutierrez fell out after Lap 17 with an apparent brake failure, but Grosjean pressed on the rest of the race. Once Kimi Raikkonen retired in one of the factory Ferraris after one of his tires hadn’t been secured properly, that promoted Grosjean into 10th and a World Championship point, a welcome result in his 100th Grand Prix start.
Grosjean noted that after a tough weekend for the team, down on downforce and with some aero parts breaking off on Friday, the point was a welcome result.
“It didn’t go too bad. Bit of a messy first lap. We did an aggressive strategy. It worked pretty well,” Grosjean told NBCSN’s Will Buxton.
“I’m lucky a few cars retired in front of us. We needed to finish the race. Great to score points in front of the home crowd. It’s been a long time since we’ve scored points!”
After the run of 11th-place finishes, Grosjean said scoring points late was a huge confidence booster for the team.
“Yeah it’s a great thing to score points at the end of the season,” he said. “It means a lot for how we’ve worked. Yesterday he’s not so happy after the performance we had but today he is. Gene’s mother, his sister, and there are a lot of people here. Now I have to watch Talladega and see how our boys are doing in NASCAR!”
Gutierrez, who retired early, was still diplomatic and thankful for the weekend experience.
“Yes it was (brake failure). We think one of the discs broke,” Gutierrez told NBCSN’s Will Buxton. “It’s not what we wanted for a race weekend. Not easy to accept either. Difficult start of the weekend and it was not going to be easy. We went on.
“We did a great qualifying, optimizing what we had. We pushed to the maximum. We got into the top 10 the first few laps. Aggressive strategy. At some point I lost the brakes. Fortunately I didn’t run into the barrier (at Turn 11).
“It’s very disappointing but we have to continue focusing on the positives. I want to thank everyone for the enthusiasm and support all weekend. I’m sorry for all of you who were here to support us and ensure we are doing our best.”
Gutierrez now heads to his home of Mexico City next week, where he’ll race in his first Mexican Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg was content with his drive to second place in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, ensuring his Formula 1 drivers’ championship lead over Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton remains healthy.
Rosberg arrived in Austin leading the drivers’ championship by 33 points, enjoying the luxury of being able to finish second in the remaining four races of the season and still win the title.
The German qualified second behind Hamilton at the Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, and opted to slot in behind his teammate through the first corner.
This allowed Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to dive up the inside, taking second place through the esses and leaving Rosberg with a mountain to climb.
Mercedes opted to put Rosberg on medium tires for his second stint, causing him to come under pressure from Max Verstappen behind, but then gained a place from Ricciardo after pitting under the Virtual Safety Car.
Taking what essentially was a free pit stop saw Rosberg file out five seconds clear of Ricciardo in second, where he remained to the end of the race, finishing four seconds down on Hamilton up front.
“Lost it at the start. In the end I came back,” Rosberg said of his race on the podium after the race.
“Second place is OK, damage limitation. I wanted to win in America, would have been awesome, but it wasn’t to be. I was going for it. Flat out. All the way to the end.”
The result marks Rosberg’s first defeat in a race to Hamilton since the German Grand Prix at the end of July, and leaves the points difference at 26 points with three races to go.
Rosberg can afford to finish second twice and third once and still win the title, but will undoubtedly be keen to boost his points advantage to prevent the title fight going down to the wire in Abu Dhabi on November 27.
Mathematically, Rosberg can wrap up the title in Mexico next weekend should he win the race and Hamilton retire or fail to score.