In his latest exclusive feature on, David Tremayne - three time Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year Award winner and multi-award winning F1 author - takes a look back over the United States Grand Prix...

"We broke them some time ago, and they've all since given up on developing their cars," Red Bull's team manager Jonathan Wheatley beamed after Sebastian Vettel had just won his eighth consecutive grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas and moved within a final triumph of equalling the great Alberto Ascari's record of nine in a row.

"And we haven't given up, as you can see by the evidence printed over there on the wall - a 1.92s pit stop," chief mechanic Kenny Handkammer interjected.

The pair of them can each boast 13 World Championships, from their time at Benetton, Renault and Red Bull, and for them this has justifiably been a season to relish. Just before he started his popular donut routine again,

Vettel had reminded all of his crew how important it is to savour these days, acknowledging that they cannot last forever. But to everyone else, it seems as if they will never end.

In Texas, as at every track since Spa, Red Bull were in a class of their own. Yes, Romain Grosjean got within 6.2s at one stage near the end, but Vettel was being a good boy having been told that Pirelli's hard tyres weren't necessarily bulletproof, and when the Frenchman got that close Seb banged in his trademark fastest lap just to show who was boss. As if we didn't already know...

Lotus yet again had the next best race pace, and a fast start saw Grosjean take the fight as close as he could. Crucially, it put him ahead of Webber, who rued even more losing pole by such a narrow margin to his team-mate as the dirty side of the grid dropped him from second to fourth. He caught and passed Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes by the 13th lap as the Briton began to struggle with early degradation on his medium Pirellis, but try as he might he couldn't make a passing move stick on Grosjean, who has been the revelation of the season. Once F1's enfant terrible, he is now clearly capable of leading Lotus and did so brilliantly in Kimi Raikkonen's enforced absence after a back operation in Strasbourg on Thursday.

All through practice and qualifying Grosjean's new team-mate Heikki Kovalainen also endorsed the assets of the E21 and his own potential, but come the race a problem with the front wing and KERS forced him to make two pits stops, and anyone who did that was toast on a day when single stops were de rigeur.

Though he missed out on the podium slot Hamilton was stoked by the difference in his Mercedes after it had been given a new chassis; cracks - even a hole according to Lewis - had been discovered in the old one, which underperformed in India and Abu Dhabi. Now he had something responsive beneath him which he could race, and he loved how it enabled him to nurse his rubber until the 25th lap, and later to respond when Fernando Alonso launched the same sort of late attack that he had been powerless to defend a fortnight earlier in the UAE. Too bad, then, that team-mate Rosberg qualified only 14th after tyre warming issues, started only 12th, and despite some good passes could only muster ninth. But that was enough to help keep Mercedes ahead of Ferrari. After a race spent chasing Sergio Perez's McLaren initially, then fighting with and beating Nico Hulkenberg's Sauber, Alonso could do no better than fifth. These are indeed tough times chez Ferrari.

Hulkenberg yet again reminded everyone that he's a future star as team-mate Esteban Gutierrez also drove a ballsy race in the other C32 which he'd qualified 10th before a grid penalty for impeding dropped him to 20th. But the team's chances of catching Force India for sixth overall remain slim. Like Ferrari, they need a miracle, and they are few and far between in F1 this year.

You had to feel for Perez, who had just been dropped by McLaren for 2014, But none of that showed in his driving as he battled for sixth ahead of Alonso early on and brought his improving MP4-28 home seventh. Again he outqualified and outclassed team-mate Jenson Button, who hurt his front wing yet again in first-lap traffic but was later able to benefit from Toro Roso's tyre wear to grab the final point. Button later admitted he didn't get it altogether, and needs "to sort myself out."


Two places ahead of him, there was a minor miracle, actually, as Valtteri Bottas qualified a modified Williams ninth and finished eighth after a great drive that completely overshadowed his now unpopular and outgoing team-mate Pastor Maldonado who had a weekend distinguished only by an ill-tempered and foolish attack on his team. It was good to see the Finn get it together in a car he could use, and to see Williams multiply its points score by five in one hit.