Many of us struggling to come to grips with the 2023 races so far, primarily because they’re rather boring. The last race in Miami was no different, in fact it might have been the worst yet. However Formula 1 racing in the USA has given us some spectacular results and races throughout the years, albeit some being rather controversial than the rest..
F1 has been racing in the US since 1959, with the first ever US GP taking place at the legendary Sebring race track. So as you can imagine, there were many interesting races over the years. Today we’re going to count down the Top 10 F1 races held on US soil.
Valtteri Bottas maintained his lead at the start of the race while Charles Leclerc lost 4th place to Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel had problems with severe understeer, losing positions to Max Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Lando Norris, and Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel’s car eventually failed due to a suspension issue on lap 8, and Ricciardo passed Norris for 5th place. Verstappen was the first of the front-runners to make a pit stop at the end of lap 13, followed by Bottas on the next lap. Hamilton led the race and was advised by his team to pit on lap 23 but refused, eventually losing the lead to Bottas after his own pit stop. Bottas took the lead on lap 52 and won the race, while Hamilton finished 2nd, securing his sixth World Drivers’ Championship.
The 1991 US Grand Prix saw Ayrton Senna take a comfortable win in his McLaren MP4/6. Alain Prost started alongside Senna but fell behind, with Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese leading the charge behind them. Patrese was involved in two successive battles before retiring due to gearbox troubles. Senna led throughout the race, with Prost passing Alesi and Piquet to finish second. Gearbox troubles also dropped Alesi to fifth before retiring, leaving third place to Piquet. The race ended a lap short of the planned 82 as the two-hour limit was reached, with Senna leading every lap.
The 2018 United States Grand Prix saw Kimi Räikkönen take a memorable win, making a one-stop strategy work to beat Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes struggled for pace throughout the race, and Hamilton could only manage third, losing out to Verstappen for second. Sebastian Vettel had a difficult start to the race, spinning while battling with Daniel Ricciardo, but managed to fight back to finish fourth. Hamilton lost time during his second pit stop due to Mercedes waiting too long to bring him in. The race marked Räikkönen’s first win since 2013 and his final victory of his F1 career.
The 2002 United States Grand Prix was held on September 29, 2002, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. The race was dominated by Ferrari, with Rubens Barrichello taking the pole position and Michael Schumacher winning the race. The event was notable for a controversial finish, as Barrichello was instructed by his team to let Schumacher pass him just before the finish line, sparking outrage among fans and officials. The incident led to a change in rules regarding team orders in Formula One.
The 1977 Long Beach Grand Prix was held under pleasant weather conditions, with Jody Scheckter leading the race, followed closely by Andretti and Lauda. Andretti managed to clinch the victory in the final lap when Scheckter’s tire began to deflate, slowing him down. Lauda followed Andretti closely but couldn’t overtake him, allowing Andretti to take the chequered flag by less than a second. The race was held under the shadow of recent tragedies, including the deaths of Tom Pryce and Carlos Pace. James Hunt’s car was also launched six feet in the air after hitting John Watson’s wheel, but he managed to recover and finish just two seconds behind sixth place.
The 2012 United States Grand Prix marked the return of Formula 1 to the United States after a five-year absence, with the race taking place at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The race was won by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton. However it was Sebastian Vettel who dominated the weekend, who was fastest and took pole position but failed to secure the win, and finished ahead of Fernando Alonso in third. The event was hailed as a huge success and led to the establishment of a permanent Formula 1 presence in the USA.
The 2005 United States Grand Prix was a controversial race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to concerns about tire safety, all the teams using Michelin tires withdrew from the race before the start, leaving only six cars on the grid. The race went ahead with just Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi competing. Michael Schumacher won the race, with his teammate Rubens Barrichello finishing second. The event was marred by controversy and criticism, with many fans feeling cheated and let down by the lack of competition. The aftermath of the race led to changes in the regulations to prevent similar issues from happening again.
Niki Lauda won the United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach in his third race since returning from retirement. Lauda’s 18th career victory, and his first for McLaren, came ahead of Keke Rosberg. Gilles Villeneuve crossed the line in third, but was disqualified when a protest of his Ferrari’s rear wing was upheld by the officials. Mario Andretti drove the second Williams in place of Carlos Reutemann, who had announced his retirement. The race saw significant changes to the course and the Michelin teams had an advantage over the Goodyear teams in qualifying.
The 1984 Dallas Grand Prix was a memorable race due to the extreme heat and difficult conditions that drivers faced on the street circuit. The race was held in sweltering 100+ degree temperatures, and many drivers struggled to cope with the heat and bumpy track surface. In the end, only 8 of the 26 cars that started the race managed to cross the finish line. The race was won by Keke Rosberg, who managed to maintain his cool and avoid the numerous accidents and retirements that plagued the other drivers. One can fine extraordinary footage of an exhausted Nigel Mansell attempting to push his Lotus across the line before collapsing. The race remains one of the most grueling in F1 history.
The 1976 United States Grand Prix was a thrilling race held at the Watkins Glen circuit in New York. It was the final race of the season, and James Hunt and Niki Lauda were locked in a fierce battle for the championship. The race was marred by heavy rain and fog, but despite the treacherous conditions, Hunt managed to finish first whilst Lauda finished third who would lead the championship by 3 points with one race to go with Hunt eventually securing the championship by just one point. The 1976 seas0n is remembered as one of the most dramatic in F1 history, and Hunt’s victory cemented his status as a true racing legend.
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