September 18, 2022

Formula 1 Top Drivers at Circuit of The Americas: Then and Now

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When 20 of the world’s best drivers take to the starting grid at the 2022 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in October, a quarter of them will have competed in every F1 race at the Circuit of The Americas — dating back to the inaugural event in 2012. 

The five drivers who have enjoyed such longevity in the sport include three world champions. They make up six of the nine winners of this event: Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo.  

The most successful of this famous quintet is Lewis Hamilton who has stood on the top step of the podium at COTA five times. He has also wrapped up the Drivers’ Championship in Austin twice (in 2015 and 2019).  

Over the past decade Hamilton has enjoyed a remarkable consistency record, having scored points at every race held at COTA. In fact, only once has the British driver finished off the podium — when he was fourth in 2013. 

The next most successful driver in the 10-year history of Austin’s hosting of the USGP is Sebastian Vettel — a winner with Red Bull in 2013. The three-time champion has also finished in the top 10 (points) in eight out of nine races at COTA (he retired with suspension failure in 2019). Vettel has also recorded the most ‘fastest laps’ of anyone — five — and has secured two pole positions at the Texan venue. 

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was a podium finisher with Ferrari at the first race in 2012, but luck has been less on his side in recent years. He has retired from the past three F1 races he has contested at COTA and missed the 2019 event altogether.  

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was a podium finisher last year and has only once retired at COTA in the past decade, back in 2014. The Mexican has been another consistent racer at the 3.41 mile track, and he finished in eighth place on three consecutive occasions between 2016-18. 

The fifth and final driver to have raced in all of the nine Circuit of The Americas F1 races is Australian Daniel Ricciardo. He has finished on the twice podium, both times in third place in 2014 and 2016, and has an average finishing position of sixth. However, for F1 Austinites Ricciardo is arguably their top driver—or fan favorite because he shares his love for the city louder than the speeding cars sprinting up the main straight.  

The other winners of the United States Grand Prix at Austin have been Valtteri Bottas (who triumphed in 2019 but didn’t make his debut at this track until 2013) plus Nico Rosberg and Kimi Räikkönen, both of whom have since retired from Formula 1.  

The last remaining Grand Prix winner at COTA is Max Verstappen who took pole and top spot in this race last season. The reigning champion made his debut in the sport in 2015 and even at the tender age of 18 looked like a star of the future. The USGP in 2015 was only the 16th race of his career and where took a remarkable fourth place with Toro Rosso. 

Who will secure victory at the 10th F1 race in Austin, Texas this October 21st – 23rd? There is only one way to find out!

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