F1 back on form with popular COTA race

2014 United States Grand Prix

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While the previous round in Russia was seen to have fallen short of the high standard set by many races in 2014, F1 was back on form at the Circuit of the Americas.

The race which saw Lewis Hamilton passing Nico Rosberg to win, Daniel Ricciardo making his way up to third and several scraps for the lower points places at the end, received an average score of 7.3 out of ten from F1 Fanatic readers.

That puts it close to the average for the season so far, and many of the comments from readers reflected that view. Here’s what you had to say:

Really good fighting up and down the field throughout the race and we had a battle for the lead as well.

This track – and the softer tyres – is very good for encouraging overtaking. COTA is the best addition to the calendar in recent years.

Not the best race of the season, but a very nice race nonetheless. There was battle for the lead (even if it wasn’t very exciting), the battle for the podium was decided in the pits, so a bit disappointing. But the last few laps were quite fun, people were all over the place, the Lotuses ran wide basically in every single corner, Vergne overtaking Gran Turismo style (which is using your opponent to make the corner) and Vettel pitting even if there was no need to, probably.
Yoshitsune (@Yobo01)

The depleted field

Several F1 Fanatics commented that the absence of four cars, leaving a depleted field of 18, affected their enjoyment of the race.

Very, very relieved that this was a good race. With two teams missing and the world champion starting from the pit lane, this could have been awful and killed F1 in the US for another ten years. But it was great with loads of overtaking through the field.

Annoyingly more evidence for Ecclestone to say that backmarkers are pointless.

I didn’t enjoy it so much. F1’s current situation may have dimmed my view on the race.

I can’t describe it but it felt rather strange to see only 17 cars on the grid and already down to 16 by lap two.
PorscheF1 (@Xtwl)

I can’t say I was excited before this race as the background situation of the missing teams rather took the attention away from the job at hand. I wasn’t any more excited after qualifying, as the cars at the front looked like they could easily process to the finish with no order change.

However, that was an entertaining race with plenty of overtakes, different strategies and good, simple wheel-to-wheel racing. It reminded me why I like F1 in the first place!
James (@Spirals)

The start was a little slow (with the safety car and all) but it picked itself up rather neatly and kept me entertained, with plenty of drivers going all out and having the tyres and track to battle on. Perhaps it’s because Vergne has to prove himself, but him, Maldonado, Ricciardo, Vettel and Grosjean were really giving it their all during battles. That’s really what I want to see; drivers fully directing their attention to a battle as it happens, I can live with the calls for tyre preservation once they’re past.

That being said, it definitely felt like there was less at stake without Marussia and Caterham.
Nick (@Npf1)

An improvement on the last round?

The previous grand prix in Russia received one of the lowest scores ever seen on Rate the Race. And there were some who felt last weekend’s race was no better:

I don’t see how this race was any better than Sochi.
PorscheF1 (@Xtwl)

I’d have to say the first six laps of Russia were okay, but today at COTA there was always a battle going on, positions were being traded throughout the field much more entertaining than Russia. Yes Mercedes were out in front again but the rest of the field remained quite entertaining. Also there is no comparison between Sochi and Austin as far as the circuit is concerned.
RB (@Frogmankouki)

There was far more action and the race was won in a tight battle, with a nicely done pass for the lead, while the midfield had a great tussle for most of the race.

I hate having one dominant car. Lost interest by the end. Just can’t get into this season, if it’s anything like this next season I can see myself giving up on F1.
Yes (@Come-on-kubica)

View from the stands

@DaveD offered a verdict from the enviable vantage point of turn one:

I was sitting at turn one so that made it great for me!

But it was a great race for those of us in the crowd. Everyone around me loved the race and had a blast which is the important thing. And there were so many passes and then over-under moves between turn one and turn two that it was great for those of us at the race. And lots of fights throughout the field that we got to see that weren’t always obvious if you watch the TV feeds.

Alonso and Vettel were both driving like wild men and the fight between Button and Alonso for about three laps was awesome.

Well worth the trip.

Bernie Ecclestone raised his complaints about F1’s engine noise again but this fan was happy with what he head:

I really liked the sound. It was loud enough that you could still feel the power of the cars, but it wasn’t silly loud so that it hurts your ears. As others have noted, you really, really can hear all kinds of cool sounds: the whir of the of the ERS kicking in while it was under hard braking and then the acceleration of each engine as it took off towards turn two.

And I was right at the fence and could enjoy the race with no ear plugs and no headache! It was awesome to me and it certainly didn’t rate a comment from anyone around us and we made lots of friends during the couple hours before the race, and I did ask. A few people said they missed the engines you could hear all around the track, but admitted they preferred to be able to talk and cheer and hear the announcers so they knew what was going on.

F1 back as it should be

However the general reception to the race was that the 2014 season is back up to the high standard established earlier in the year.

After a reasonably cool race in Japan which ended in horrible circumstances we were then subjected to total bore of a race in a country where the president is a nut-case.

Finally we were given an opportunity to see Mercedes versus Mercedes, Williams stay close for a while, Ricciardo drive brilliantly again with him, Alonso and Button fighting with everyone before Button lost the balance with the rear. People always imagine a golden age, forgetting that Ferrari dominated for five years, that Red Bull dominance made 2011 and 2013 dull, and cars in the ’70s and before could be separated by minutes.

Apart from Bianchi’s accident and the politics this year has been a cracker, better than it being Vettel versus Vettel.

Previous rate the race results

2014 United States Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “F1 back on form with popular COTA race”

  1. i think that the sochi rate is a bit biased because of the great race in gp2 and japan race before. it deserve to be around the same score as malaysia

    1. @hahailham1 I didn’t watch the GP2 race and I was over the events of Japan by then (although they remain firmly in my thoughts), Russia simply produced a really, really dull race.

      1. @craig-o I agree now that I have seen the highlights from BBC once more there was perhaps more overtaking and it was overall a better race but on a scale to 10 it wasn’t 3.3 points better than Sochi. I think Sochi should’ve been somewhere near a 6. But considering a lot of people just voted against Putin rather than the actual race,…

        1. @xtwl It wasn’t the fact that Putin was there that bugged me, it was the fact that they cut away from what little was happening on the track several times over the last few laps just to see a shot of him which was what got me.

        2. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Putin to come in future..

        3. Sorry but for me USA and Russia were basically the same. The only difference is that we had the ‘good’ laps at the beginning in Russia while at Austin they were at the end of the race.

          I still do not understand the results for the Russian GP, 4.064, really? Compare it to any race from 2013 and the Russian GP was better.

      2. GP2 race in sochi produce really good race, especially turn 2-3-4, probably that was the best part of sochi.

        Ah and i forgot about Putin factor. no wonder why it doesnt even touch 5 now..

    2. sochi was a proper snoozefest to be honest nowhere near malaysian gp this year

  2. 3 races in a row I’ve been quoted now, I’m almost blushing :)

    1. @broke84 Damn you. The best mention I ever got on F1 Fanatic was a good “suggestion” for a Caption Contest. Spend 364 days hoping to see my name on the F1 Fanatic birthday-wish list. I was so excited. Then guess what? Forgot during my actual birthday. If you can’t tell already, I get pitied a lot.

      1. If it was my website I’d quote you all day my friend.

    2. Haha, I am very chuffed to get my first ever one ;)

  3. ‘I don’t see how this race was any better than Sochi.
    PorscheF1 (@Xtwl)’

    you’ve got to be kidding me? @xtwl
    there were overtakes and battles in Austin, almost none in Russia. Also an overtake for the lead in Austin.

    1. @sato113 It was a perhaps harsh reaction but I still stand by what I wrote that entire comment and not this tiny section. As the results are now known I still don’t think Russia was 3.3 points worse on a scale of 10 than Austin. Sochi also had duels and overtaking, interesting strategies, etc…

      1. @xtwl ok, interesting strategies? most of the field made 1 stop. yes massa pitted on lap 1 but nothing came of his strategy.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        7th November 2014, 13:15

        1 point for a battle for the lead.

        1 point for it being an exciting track which is designed to allow fights. Turn 1 allows multiple lines on both the entry and exit for example. Turn 1 at Sochi only allows 1 line and anyone trying to defend will be pushed off the track or hit.

        1 point for the broadcast being focussed on the race instead of that country’s ruler.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          7th November 2014, 13:16

          1 point for variable strategies instead of tyres that last an entire race.

    2. @sato113 There was more happening in the first 10 laps of the Russian GP than in the first half of the American one.

      No seriously, go watch those first 10 laps again. I could barely follow what was happening.

  4. Maybe I should watch it again – I found it boring (for the most part), but that might be because I watched rushed highlights at 2230 (UK time) on the BBC. Seeing only half of the races properly is ruining my already tested love for the sport.
    I will not tolerate Sky, please don’t suggest it (from what I *have* seen of their coverage, I’m not missing much – other than Brundles gold chains, and laggy, awkward looking giant iPadTV things). I do miss Ted though.

    1. At least you get to see hi-lites on the news. Here in the states, it is never mentioned, and I live in the Dallas area. If it ain’t football, it ain’t worth watching.

  5. I’ve seen numerous times in the past people rating races based on highlights, which I think is a pointless way of doing things. Sure, a race with plenty of overtaking action will no doubt have a more action packed highlight reel, however a race isn’t just about the overtakes, it’s about the build up to the overtakes and the strategy involved. Highlights just don’t capture this at all.

    I doubt I’m the only one who was monitoring the Mercs catch up to the back of the pack with a couple of laps to go, seeing Hamilton’s lead reduce all of a sudden reduce drastically. It got little to no mention during the coverage do to everything else going on at the time, and it ended up being a non-issue as Rosberg then got held up through the esses, but those little stories that unfold during a race and cause your heart-rate to rise a little just don’t get picked up in highlights.

    There was nothing like that in Sochi… The race was predictable after the first lap. Austin was anything but predictable with drivers trading places right until the end.

  6. None of these F1 races will be exciting to watch until we have at least 5 competitive teams.

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