Mercedes have the most wins of any team at COTA, Ferrari took their first victory at the track last year and Red Bull, Racing Point and Haas have the highest DNF rates. Here’s how the teams’ histories compare at the Circuit of the Americas!
2018 marked the end of a four-year streak of wins for Mercedes at COTA. Aside from the first race at the track in 2012, Mercedes have scored in every season here, and have had at least one of their cars finish on the podium in all of the last five years. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took 1-2 finishes in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The team are yet to record a non-finish at the circuit, and are the only current team with a 100% finish rate in Texas. Michael Schumacher’s sixteenth position in 2012 is their worst finish to date.
Since the start of the hybrid era, Mercedes have taken pole in every season for the U.S. Grand Prix, and locked out the front row in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Nico Rosberg’s Q2 exits in 2012 and 2013 are the only occasions where a Mercedes driver has failed to reach the final part of qualifying at this track. Rosberg’s seventeenth place in qualifying in 2012 remains their worst performance to date.
Last season, Kimi Raikkonen scored Ferrari’s first victory in Texas. The team have appeared on the podium in three of the last four races at this track, including with a 2-3 finish in 2017. While Ferrari have scored on every visit here so far, they’ve also recorded two DNFs – both for Raikkonen in 2015 and 2016.
Felipe Massa’s Q2 exit in 2013, where he qualified down in fifteenth, is the only time a Ferrari driver has failed to reach the final part of qualifying at this track. While the team have never taken pole here, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have provided Ferrari with two front row starts at COTA, each time with the Ferrari taking the lead at the first turn.
Red Bull have had the misfortune of one of their cars retiring from all of the last four U.S. Grands Prix. Add Mark Webber’s 2012 retirement into that, and the team have had five DNFs in Texas – the second-most of any team. Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 win here remains their sole victory at the track so far, but they’ve enjoyed two podium finishes here in the last three years, including a runner-up spot for Max Verstappen last season.
Sebastian Vettel’s Q1 exit in 2014 and Max Verstappen’s Q2 exit last season are the only occasions where a Red Bull driver has failed to reach the final part of qualifying at COTA. Vettel is the only driver to have taken pole here for Red Bull, having done so in both 2012 and 2013, while Mark Webber set the second fastest time in 2013 to give the team their only front-row lockout at the track.
For the first time since their return to F1 in 2016, Renault finished the U.S. Grand Prix with both cars in the points last year. Carlos Sainz had previously scored Renault’s first points at the track in 2017 by finishing in seventh place. The Spaniard did the same last season, while team-mate Hulkenberg went one better and finished in sixth. In the previous season, Hulkenberg recorded the team’s only non-finish so far at COTA.
Carlos Sainz secured Renault’s first appearance in the final part of qualifying at this track in 2017, while Kevin Magnussen’s Q1 exit in 2016 is their only such exit so far in Texas. Hulkenberg beat Sainz’s previous best of eighth in qualifying at COTA by setting the seventh fastest time last year in the team’s second top ten appearance.
Under their previous Lotus guise, Renault scored a second place finish with Romain Grosjean at the track in 2013.
Romain Grosjean’s tenth place at COTA in 2016 marks the team’s only points-scoring race so far at the track. The 2017 race is the only one which both Haas drivers reached the end of, but both Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen featured outside of the points on that occasion. Last season, Grosjean was eliminated after an early crash, while Magnussen finished ninth. The Dane would later lose this position following a disqualification for using more than the allowed amount of fuel.
Last year, Haas reached the final part of qualifying at the U.S. Grand Prix for the first time, as Romain Grosjean qualified in eighth. It was also the first year where neither Haas car was eliminated in the first part of qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton’s win at the inaugural Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in 2012 remains McLaren’s only victory, and only podium finish, so far at the track. The team have failed to score in each of the last two races here, while Fernando Alonso has recorded non-finishes for the team in each of the last two seasons. 2012, 2013 and 2016 are the only seasons where both McLaren drivers have finished in the points in Texas.
Last season, McLaren suffered their first double Q1 elimination at COTA. Before that, Jenson Button’s Q1 exit is the only other time one of the team’s cars has been eliminated in Q1. 2014 is the only season where both McLaren cars have reached the top ten shootout, while Lewis Hamilton’s second place in qualifying in 2012 is the only time a McLaren has started from the front row at the track. It’s also the only time a McLaren driver has qualified in the top six here.
Racing Point (Force India)
Force India have scored points in all of the last four U.S. Grands Prix, but also have one of the highest non-finish rates. They retired with one car four races in a row between 2013 and 2016, while 2014 saw both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg retire. Last season, Sergio Perez finished eighth, while Esteban Ocon was disqualified for a fuel flow irregularity. The team’s best finish here is Perez’s fifth place in 2015.
Force India have reached the final part of qualifying with both cars in each of the last two seasons at COTA. 2013 and 2014 are the only occasions where neither Force India driver featured in the top ten shootout, while Adrian Sutil’s seventeenth in qualifying in 2013 marks the team’s only Q1 exit here so far. Sixth is the best qualifying position achieved by a Force India driver in Texas. Sergio Perez qualified sixth in 2015 and Esteban Ocon recorded the same result in 2018.
Alfa Romeo (Sauber)
Last season, Marcus Ericsson finished tenth in the U.S. Grand Prix, marking only the third time that Sauber have scored at the Texas track. Their best finish here came in 2013, when Nico Hulkenberg finished in sixth, while their only other points-scoring race at the track came courtesy of Felipe Nasr, who came home ninth in 2015. In four of the last five seasons, a Sauber car has failed to finish the race at this track.
Nico Hulkenberg’s fourth place in qualifying in 2013 at COTA was a rare high point for Sauber at this circuit. That season is the only time where both Sauber drivers have qualified in the top ten at this track, while Adrian Sutil and Charles Leclerc have recorded the team’s only other Q3 appearances here in 2014 and 2018 respectively. Sauber have seen at least one of their cars eliminated in Q1 in all of the last five seasons at the track, while they suffered double Q1 exits in both 2015 and 2017.
While this is the Alfa Romeo name’s first visit to the Circuit of the Americas, the Alfa team scored their two most recent pole positions in America, with Bruno Giacomelli taking pole at Watkins Glen in 1980 and Andrea de Cesaris setting the pace at Long Beach in 1982.
Jean Eric-Vergne’s retirement from the first race here in 2012 remains the only non-finish for the Toro Rosso team so far at COTA. The team have scored at least one point at the track in all of the last five seasons. 2015 was their best result so far in Texas, with both drivers finishing in the points and Max Verstappen finishing fourth.
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz are the only Toro Rosso drivers to have reached the final part of qualifying here, each qualifying in tenth in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The team have only had four Q1 exits here, including in 2015 when Sainz failed to set a time. Both cars reached Q2 at COTA last season.
2018 was only Williams’ second visit to the Circuit of the Americas where they failed to pick up any points. The 2015 race was the only other where neither Williams scored, with both of their cars failing to finish the race – their only two retirements so far at the circuit. Felipe Massa’s fourth place in 2014 is the team’s best result so far at the circuit, and 2014 is one of only two seasons, along with 2012, where both Williams’ cars have scored in a race at the track.
Valtteri Bottas’ third place in qualifying here in 2014 marks the team’s best qualifying performance so far, with their cars locking-out the second row of the grid. 2016 saw both Williams reach the final part of qualifying for only the second time at the circuit, but they have not appeared in the top ten since. Last year, both Williams cars were eliminated in Q1 for the first time in Texas.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.