All roads lead to Romain
The dash to Turn 1 defined the outcome of Mark’s United States Grand Prix. He slipped from second to fourth in the opening 350 metres of the race and was engaged in a fascinating battle for second place thereafter.
Mark’s initial getaway was good, but the dust on the inside of the circuit hampered his progress relative to the cars outside him. Pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel got away well, and Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton jumped Mark as everyone hit the brakes for Turn 1.
“The circuit was in better condition than it was last year,” says Mark, “but the inside was still at a disadvantage because it’s dirty and it isn’t used over the weekend. I then got boxed in by the cars around me, which, in turn, resulted in me not getting a good exit off the corner. But I didn’t lose this race at the start; I lost it yesterday afternoon when I made a mistake in sector 3 that cost me pole position. If I’d started on pole, with all the advantages that brings, the result might have been different.”
Mark’s opportunity to take the fight to the guys in front had to wait a couple of laps after the deployment of the Safety Car at the end of the opening lap. The race then went ‘green’ on lap five, after the debris from Adrian Sutil’s Force India had been cleared up, and Mark sat on Hamilton’s gearbox for the next eight laps. He eventually forced his way around the outside of the Mercedes driver under braking for Turn 12 on lap 13.
“The car had a good balance throughout the race,” says Mark. “Lewis forced me around the outside, but I was able to stay off the brakes longer and get in front. Then it was a question of closing the gap to Romain and trying to find a way past, which proved too difficult on this occasion.”
Mark made his one and only pitstop on lap 29, at which he swapped from the medium to the hard tyre. The Red Bull mechanics serviced his car in 1.923s – breaking the team’s previous record of 2.05s, set at the Malaysian GP earlier this year.
“Yep, the boys gave me a great stop,” says Mark. “After that I closed the gap to Romain, but he drove very well, without any mistakes. He was quick where he needed to be, and off turns 8 and 9 in particular. It’s very difficult to pass here – even with two DRS zones – and I tried various tactics, but couldn’t find a way through. Still, I’m happy to finish on the podium in front of the American fans for the last time – in Formula One anyway.”
Mark will now spend a couple of days in Austin with family and friends prior to heading to Sao Paolo for the season finale at Interlagos. He has won the Brazilian Grand Prix twice before and he’ll be gunning to end his Formula One career on a high next weekend.
Susan fm Ozon November 18, 2013 Reply
I was able to get up very early and watch the whole race live. Yes I think had you started on pole things may have been different but not to worry there’s absolutely no shame in a podium finish. I thought you may catch Grojean and for once the RBR mechanics gave you a very fair go with a brilliant pit stop. I don’t think anyone will comprehend just how much F1 racing, fans etc will miss you until season 2014 begins. Glad your family are in Austin to share these special memories with you. I look forward to Brazil with much sadness but at the same time you are a champion of the highest order, a true sportsman with exemplary character, incredible athletic ability and endurance and just a straight up decent competitor. Your fans (obviously including me) will be hoping for a top finish at Brazil so you end in the style you so deserve:)
bruceon November 19, 2013 Reply
Well done Mark, the outside of the grid appears to be the best side at this venue for getting a good start. Romain is turning out to be a very god driver now that he as got over his first lap crash syndrome. Look forward to next week hope things go well for you and then you can go and relax for a while.
Mack Brabhamon November 19, 2013 Reply
A terrific race by you and a wonderful result.
I have been thinking a lot these days about your career. As I’ve said before I became a fan of yours when I went to my first F1 race ever in Hockenheim when you were driving for Minardi and I’ve been a fan of yours ever since. You are a fantastic driver beyond any doubt. You have had a fabulous career in F1 and I am so looking forward to seeing you drive the wheels off that Porsche. It would be grand if you could win in Brazil but whatever your result you are #1 in my book.
psycho budgieon November 19, 2013 Reply
On the podium again, good stuff, looking foward to Brazil… 😀
Wendyon November 19, 2013 Reply
Good to see you on the podium again Can’t believe next time out will be our last race in F1 Really hoping you get your 3rd win in Brazil Would be great to go out on that particular high! So going to miss you