Red Bull got into hot water on the first day of track action at the brand new Circuit of the Americas, near Austin, but Sebastian Vettel was still able to do enough and comfortably head both practice sessions, as he looks to secure his third driver’s title on the bounce.
Before today, like many of you who read this blog, I had seen Mario Andretti’s on-board from the laps he did around the track a few weeks ago and had a good look at the circuit map. Much had been made about the uphill approach to Turn 1 – and with justification. It is a wonderful aspect of the new venue.
But having watched and commentated through the two sessions earlier today, I am much more in love with the section between Turn 3 up to Turn 9. Isn’t that fantastic? Watching the drivers really putting their skills top the test as they switch left and right for such a long time. It’s a good job that Formula 1 doesn’t visit the circuit in July, or else we would have drivers suffering serious physical problems getting through there lap after lap.
As it was, air temperature topped out at 21 degrees during the second session, while the continuous sunshine helped the track surface reach 31 Celsius briefly.
Tonight, skies will remain clear, allowing air temperature to drop sharply to a minimum of just five degrees, so if you are out and about later this evening, make sure to take a jacket with you.
Tomorrow morning is set for a repeat of today’s conditions. It will be cold first thing in the morning and final practice is scheduled to begin at 09:00 local time, so sweatshirts and possibly a light jacket will be required in the sunshine as temperatures rise.
Overhead, it will remain sunny with just one or two patches of light cloud around at worst for qualifying. Interestingly for the teams, the light north-easterly breeze is expected to switch round to a south-easterly (as it was on Thursday), so that may change the teams’ thinking in terms of gear ratios and how the drivers attack some of the corners.
Air temperature will again reach 20 or 21 degrees and with continual sunshine we should get track surface temperatures through the 30-degree barrier once again. And with grip levels improving, lap times may come down by another two seconds by the end of qualifying.
Enjoy the sessions tomorrow, as the story of the 2012 United States Grand Prix continues. I will be back once the track action has cloncluded, to look over the day’s events and cast a weather eye towards Sunday’s race.