Formula 1

2013 American Grand Prix: Preview

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It is hard to know what to write in this preview for the American Grand Prix that has not been said already. At risk of repeating myself, it is very hard to envisage anyone beating Sebastian Vettel this weekend.

Vettel and Red Bull were in complete control at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In practice, it looked closer than it has been recently, but once again Vettel won by more than thirty seconds. Once again, despite not even starting on pole, he sprinted away into the distance and that was the last anyone ever saw of him.

You can be sure that the events from this race from 12 months ago will still play heavily on the minds of everyone at Red Bull too. Vettel came close to winning the first ever race at the Circuit of the Americas, but was denied by Lewis Hamilton. It is clear that he’ll be keen to avenge that result, and few would bet against him doing so.

It seems like most teams have admitted defeat. With both titles already wrapped up, Red Bull’s early season rivals will instead be focusing on 2014. But there should still be plenty of talking points this weekend.

Just when things looked relatively simple in the driver market, McLaren turned it on its head. Sergio Perez will have plenty of Mexican support at COTA this weekend, and he’ll need it as he drives for his future. As you’ve no doubt heard already, 2013 will be his one and only season at McLaren. With only two races remaining, he’ll need strong performances to have any hope of securing a race seat for next year.

There are others in a similar position. Nico Hulkenberg has been linked to Lotus recently, but his future is far from certain. It is the same for Paul di Resta and Esteban Gutierrez too. Additionally, on the week that it was confirmed he’ll be leaving Williams, Pastor Maldonado will need to impress. He has been linked to numerous teams, but as of yet, nothing has been announced.

Other interest will come from Lotus. Due to his popularity, there will no doubt be those at the track who are disappointed that Kimi Raikkonen is not racing. The 2007 champion is sitting out the final two races due to back surgery, but will be replaced by a fellow Finn. Heikki Kovalainen gets the best possible opportunity to put himself back in the shop window for 2014.

You have to feel somewhat for Davide Valsecchi. Last year’s GP2 champion is the team’s third driver – but even when a chance comes along he gets overlooked. He must feel invisible, and it does raise the question of what exactly is the point of third drivers…

But that is probably something to debate another time. For now, we should look forward to this weekend’s Grand Prix. Last year’s race was a success on every level, and the massive crowd were treated to a fantastic event. Let’s hope it is the same again this year.

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