With eight rounds remaining, we look at how the United States Grand Prix changed the balance of the championship battles.
Vitantonio Liuzzi is the 17th driver to score points this year, out of the 23 who have started races. He ties with fellow Red Bull employee Christian Klien who has a solitary eighth place in the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix to show for his efforts.
David Coulthard, seventh at Indianapolis, now has ten points and is expected to keep the Red Bull seat ahead of Klien.
Kimi Raikkonen’s no-score means Giancarlo Fisichella moves into third and the McLaren driver is now under threat from Felipe Massa.
Although 17 drivers have scored so far this year three of them have done so only by finishing in seventh or eighth place – which weren’t worth championship points until 2003. They are Liuzzi, Klien and Nico Rosberg.
Fisichella is the biggest beneficiary of the ‘new’ points system – his total of 43 is 15 higher than it would have been with the same results in 2002.
The Grove team drop to eighth ahead of only Scuderia Toro Rosso, Midland F1 and Super Aguri, the latter two still yet to score.
This was only the second time this season that a team have occupied the top two steps of the podium – the other being Fisichella’s win from Alonso for Renault in Malaysia.
Button’s plight at Honda is illustrated graphically by his four top-three finishes that all came at the start of the season before the rot set in. Although Rubens Barrichello has since thrived, he hasn’t yet matched Button’s best qualifying performances.
The first-lap melee provoked a jump in retirements due to ‘racing accidents’ – which is what the stewards decided the crash was, absolving Juan Pablo Montoya of any blame.
The nine finishers in the United States Grand Prix was the fewest seen so far this year.
Alonso remains the only driver to have finished every race (indeed, every lap of every race) this year. Underlining the importance of reliability to a championship bid he and the two Ferrari pilots are the only drivers not to have been forced out of a race by mechanical failure.
If that fate befalls Schumacher or Alonso at the next round, it could dramatically affect the World Championship.
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