Both championships may already be decided now, but there’s still plenty to fight for up and down the grid heading into this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. Sergio Perez is still battling to finish second in the Drivers’ Championship, with both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso closing in.
Mercedes are also aiming to hold off Ferrari in the fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship. Williams rookie Logan Sargeant will also be hoping to earn his first point in F1 at his home race.
The American is the only driver yet to pick up a single point this year other than Daniel Ricciardo and Nyck de Vries, neither of whom have raced the entire season. The Circuit of the Americas will also host its first Sprint weekend, meaning teams only have Friday’s morning practice session to get their setup right.
Express Sport is on hand to provide live updates throughout the day as we look ahead to the weekend’s action.
Piastri setting sights on first F1 win
Oscar Piastri has set his sights on his first-ever Grand Prix victory after taking the win in the sprint race in Qatar.
“To know that when I get things right, in the right circumstances, at a track that suits us, that we can genuinely win on merit is very exciting,” Piastri said ahead of the United States GP.
“And for me, Safety Car restarts, starting on pole, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong so I’m proud that I managed to weather a lot of those things and come out with the Sprint win. So it is a nice confidence boost – but I still want the Grand Prix win.
“These next five races will be tougher for us – Japan and Qatar suited our car perfectly. I think we can still be in the fight with Mercedes and Ferrari around us, but Red Bull will be a step ahead. I think some more difficult races are coming up for us.”
Hamilton calls out FIA for ‘poor communication’
Lewis Hamilton has blamed the FIA for “poor communication” after he was fined at the Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Austin, Hamilton said: “No, I don’t think I was singled out. I think ultimately it was just poor communication. I don’t think what they had said is exactly what they meant.
“I think what they mean is that they’re just gonna look into how they can tackle those sorts of things moving forward to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“I think there was a karting incident recently where a kid was hit, so we really need to make sure that we’re continuously focusing on safety. I think that’s really at the core at the root of it, but I just think they probably need to speak to their PR agent to do a better job.”
Ricciardo backs Lawson to carve out F1 career
Daniel Ricciardo has offered some words of encouragement for Liam Lawson after the Aussie returned to the cockpit ahead of the United States Grand Prix.
“Liam did a great job for sure,” Ricciardo responded when asked about the 21-year-old’s stint at AlphaTauri.
“In terms of him currently not having a seat next year, it’s one of those ones where he’s young. He’s not at the end of his career, so just keep persisting, keep your head down and he’s done well to create an opportunity for himself.
“Your career can be very long and he’s young, he’s 21 so I’m sure he’ll find his way onto the grid if he keeps doing what he’s doing.”
Stella backs Piastri after back-to-back podiums
McLaren boss Andrea Stella has claimed that Oscar Piastri is a special talent thanks to his comfort in high-speed corners.
“He goes back in this category of drivers whom, you put them in a car, you put them in the simulator, and they just immediately show their natural speed,” Stella explained on his F1 Beyond The Grid podcast appearance.
“And for Oscar, I would say especially in high-speed corners, it’s almost his natural ground. Normally drivers are more comfortable in low speed [corners], but Oscar almost doesn’t really perceive the associated elements of being so fast.
“He seems to be in his comfort zone in these high-speed corners and then, more technically, he’s working on developing the low-speed stuff.”
Sainz: I’m happy at Ferrari
Carlos Sainz has claimed that he is comfortable at Ferrari and hopes that the team can continue to make steps in the right direction in 2024.
“I think it’s been a decent season overall, feeling good with the car at the beginning and then trying to understand where we were, what Red Bull had done to all of us to dominate the way they were doing.
“I’m comfortable and happy at Ferrari, I see positive steps being taken in the right direction, and I always said I’m happy here and that the winter is a good time to sit down and discuss the future, hopefully it will happen this winter.”
Steiner still against Andretti F1 entry
Guenther Steiner remains vehemently opposed to the addition of an 11th team onto the F1 grid amid ongoing conversations about Andretti’s entry.
Speaking about fan perception ahead of the United States Grand Prix, he said: “The fan is there, but I think maybe the fan needs also some explanation why it’s not so easy to just add an 11th team, because we risk the whole other 10 teams.
“I think that is a little bit of education of the people as well. It’s a little bit populistic, that poll. You know how that works, you present something, but you don’t explain the whole [picture] behind.”
Stella using Ferrari inspiration at McLaren
Andrea Stella has explained that he is looking to implement some of the traits of the Ferrari and Michael Schumacher golden era at McLaren.
“There was so much continuity in this journey where you keep identifying what you need to add and you keep building brick by brick,” he explained on his F1 Beyond the Grid appearance.
“I think this is something that we sort of missed during the Fernando [Alonso] era. And we could have built it, but definitely would have needed a lot of continuity and this brick-by-brick approach that was established as of the mid-90s at Ferrari.
“There are some elements of the script that haven’t changed over the years, independently of the role that I’ve been on. And continuity and seniority, they do form part of this script. And this is what we are trying to do what McLaren as well.”
Jamie Chadwick returns to IndyNXT grid
Former Williams junior driver and F1 hopeful Jamie Chadwick will be back in a race seat in 2024, signing a new one-year deal with Andretti’s IndyNXT team.
“I’m really looking forward to being back with Andretti to compete in my second IndyNXT season,” Chadwick explained.
“My first year with the team taught me so much and we were able to make a lot of progress with every race.
“I know that taking this experience and confidence into 2024 is going to be massively valuable for us, and I truly feel like part of the family here. I can’t wait to hit the ground running this winter and see what we can do for next season.”
New upgrades for AlphaTauri
AlphaTauri will enjoy a new floor upgrade this weekend at the United States Grand Prix, according to head of vehicle performance Guilherme Dezoteux.
Dezoteux told RaceFans: “The floor update we brought here is for reliability. It’s on the forward part of the floor to make an aero surface more consistent and more robust.
“So it’s a small update. The biggest update came in Singapore, where we brought a complete new floor with the new bodywork.”
“But the car has made a step forward and we think this is one of the main factors we’ve been able to be closer to Q3 over those last races, that’s definitely one of the main factors.”
Ricciardo ready for F1 return
Daniel Ricciardo has provided an update on his fitness ahead of his return to the cockpit at the United States Grand Prix.
“It’s good to be back! My hand is much better,” he explained. “And the simulator was a useful way of assessing it. I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go.
“My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.
“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit “Pause” again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.”
FIA not stepping in to stop Red Bull
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has no intention of stepping in to interve on Red Bull’s dominance in F1.
“Dominance has happened so many times: just look at Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher ,” he told Motorsport.com.
“How are you supposed to stop that? It is a bit cruel and not right to punish success. I am open to suggestions to find a way that is fair and democratic, and not just punishes Max and his team or any other team.
“In that case we are all ears. But I’m also stuck. It is impossible that the FIA will punish success.
“Such dominance has happened twice before during my period.”
Ricciardo warned of long road back
Nico Rosberg insists Daniel Ricciardo will need time to be back to his best ahead of his return to the grid this weekend.
The Australian missed the past few weeks due to an injury and Rosberg doubts whether he’s back to full fitness.
Rosberg said: “It won’t be easy for Daniel to be 100% when he comes back. It’s so physical. It’s not just the steering, because when braking, for example, you also have to push the steering wheel away from you, so to speak. I don’t think that the expectations are so enormous, because he already has a seat.
“Will Daniel ever win another race? That will certainly not be easy. He must have a top seat, so he will have a top season next year at AlphaTauri.”
‘Wolff needs to stay neutral’
Nico Rosberg has warned Toto Wolff that he must stay neutral in any clear-the-air talks between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton to avoid any conflict getting out of hand.
Rosberg knows too well what can happen if two drivers don’t get along after his ugly fallout with Hamilton.
And the 2016 world champion insists the onus is on Wolff to make sure things remain harmonious between Russell and Hamilton.
Rosberg told Sky Sports: “Toto has a lot of experience in managing teammates. He knows what needs to be done. The most important thing is that he remains neutral, an advice that Alain Prost gave him during my time in the sport. Prost said: ‘Toto, the most important thing is that you never take sides between your drivers. Stay neutral, because as soon as you take sides, things get out of hand.’ I’m sure Toto has learned a lot and will manage things well.”
Verstappen rejected by Pirelli
Pirelli boss Mario Isola has knocked back Max Verstappen’s suggestion to have other racing events break if new asphalt had been put down on the track to help tyre degradation in F1.
“I don’t think organizing another international event is the solution,” Isola said.
“Every championship is different. For example, in the past we had a few problems with coaches. That was because they cut the track more often than Formula 1 cars. You can organize such an event, but you will not find the same problem. “
‘Perez disappointed F1 fans’
Nico Rosberg believes Sergio Perez let down a huge section of the F1 fan base by not challenging Max Verstappen for the 2023 world title.
Perez started the year in great form but soon saw his performances nosedive with Verstappen easing to his third consecutive title.
And Rosberg feels F1 fans ultimately paid the price for Perez taking his foot off the gas.
He said: “Formula 1 fans were looking for a bit of excitement in him.
“He disappointed the fans in a way, because he made it too easy for Verstappen.”
Verstappen teases MotoGP stint
Max Verstappen has made it clear throughout his career in F1 that he won’t stick around for long because he wants to try out other disciplines.
He wants to race in Le Mans 24 Hours and has mentioned other categories he would like to try.
And Verstappen has admitted he’d like to follow a similar path to Valentino Rossi by competing in GT car racing.
Verstappen said: “It would be nice to do like Valentino Rossi. I like to see his races in GT, a category I have an interest in because we have our own car entered.
“He did everything he could in MotoGP, with a crazy career, and now he’s having fun, while still working hard and wanting to win again. I think I will look for something similar in the future.”
‘Lewis needs to take responsibility’
Former F1 team manager Peter Windsor wants to see Lewis Hamilton “set a responsibility” after walking across the track in Qatar.
The FIA have reopened their investigation into the incident where Hamilton walked across the track while the race was still ongoing.
And Windsor has sided with the FIA, insisting Hamilton should have been more aware about the danger he put himself and others in.
“Lewis, in Qatar, after the first-corner shunt with George Russell, gets out of his car, but apparently he crossed the track before he was signalled that he could cross the track,” Windsor said on YouTube.
“And I think that’s a terrible thing to do actually. And I think the FIA are quite right to point out, as a World Champion, as a senior driver, he does need to set a responsibility.”
Norris refutes following in Hamilton’s footsteps
Lando Norris insists it’s impossible for him to copy the same path as Lewis Hamilton as McLaren were at different stages of dominance in F1 for both Brits.
Hamilton was winning races and challenging for a world title in his rookie season in F1 while Norris is still waiting for that first victory.
A lot of that has had to do with McLaren falling behind and Norris doesn’t like being compared to his compatriot.
He told Motorsport Week: “I’ve done five years already not being able to win a race because I’ve just not had the car to do so. Comparing to other people, you know, they’re in different situations – Lewis came into McLaren when they were winning races. So if anyone asks me, ‘are you trying to do what Lewis did?’ I’d go ‘no,’ because you can’t – it’s just not the same.
“I’m just trying to do my own stuff and maximise what I can do myself. When that time comes of ‘you’re now matching these guys’ or ‘you’ve got 30 wins,’ then I think that’s when I see it as a huge achievement to be alongside these people because I respect everyone that I race with, race against, and who has raced.”
Hamilton made an example of
Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has suggested that Lewis Hamilton is being made an example of by the FIA following his rare mistake.
“Lewis Hamilton is definitely a role model. However, walking across the track was the wrong thing to do,” Herbert told Lucky Block.
“Even a seven-time world champion makes mistakes. Even the best have made mistakes. And Lewis has made very few mistakes in his career. I’d struggle to count them on the fingers of one hand.”
Red Bull urged to sack Marko
Former Formula 1 team manager Joan Villadelprat believes now is the time for Helmut Marko to be dismissed at Red Bull.
Marko has hit the headlines this year for his outspoken views and overstepped the mark with controversial remarks about Sergio Perez.
He issued an apology and Perez declared publicly that he had forgiven the Red Bull advisor.
But Villadelprat doesn’t think Marko should be able to continue working at Red Bull.
“Take Helmut Marko away from the f****** team,” he told PlanetF1.
“Every time he opens his mouth, the only thing he’s doing is hammering. It’s an area that you don’t need to talk about because, if things don’t go well and things are tough for a driver, you don’t need somebody telling you that you’re useless.”
Hello and welcome back to Express Sport’s live F1 blog looking ahead to this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
Stay tuned as we bring you live updates throughout the day with the drivers set to speak in their scheduled press conferences.
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