Another weekend, another show of Sebastian Vettel dominance. That was the story from the American Grand Prix, as the four times champion was in a class of his own once more.
But while some of Vettel’s rivals may despair at his current form as they continue to count down the days to the 2014 season, there are still opportunities to impress. This weekend saw several stand-out performances from three drivers in particular.
Valtteri Bottas is the obvious candidate for driver of the day. The Finnish rookie came into 2013 with a great deal of promise. However, due to the way Williams have underperformed this year, he hasn’t had many chances to deliver what many believe he is capable of. Aside from qualifying an excellent third on the grid in Canada, highlights have been scarce.
Indeed, he hadn’t even scored a point till this weekend. But at COTA, he was more than a match for his team mate, Pastor Maldonado. Bottas qualified in the top ten for only the second time in his career, with Maldonado accusing the team of sabotage after only managing seventeenth. Bottas, who was confirmed as a Williams driver for a second season earlier in the week, then produced an assured race performance to finish eighth.
It was the first points of his career, and probably will not be his last.
Also worthy of a mention are Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg. The pair, who could be team mates at Lotus next season, lined up on the second row after qualifying. Grosjean drove superbly, making another excellent start to move up to second, before holding off the clearly faster Red Bull of Mark Webber for the rest of the race. It is a remarkable turnaround in form from a man, who, twelve months ago, looked as if his time in F1 could rapidly be coming to an end.
Nico Hulkenberg also produced yet another strong performance. He challenged Fernando Alonso in the closing stages for fifth place, before settling for sixth. His future may still be the cause of much speculation, but one thing that is not in doubt is his talent. It is just frustrating that he has not yet been confirmed as a driver for 2014 – what more must he do?
Those are my selections following this weekend. As ever, feel free to let me know if you agree or not with my selections. Stay tuned for a top ten drivers of the season piece following the Brazilian Grand Prix.