Sports Hamilton: F1's US popularity enjoying "steepest rise" amid Liberty push
F1: Bottas wins Turkish GP, Verstappen reclaims title lead
ISTANBUL (AP) — Valtteri Bottas scored his first win of the season Sunday at the Turkish Grand Prix, a mixed day for Mercedes when Max Verstappen reclaimed the overall championship lead from title rival Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton started 11th because of a 10-place grid penalty, drove his way to third, but wound up a disappointing fifth after a late-race tire change. The Mercedes strategy allowed Verstappen to swing the championship race from down two points to Hamilton to now leading by six with six races remaining. “It’s been close the whole year,” Verstappen said. “This season has been really good.” F1 now leaves Europe, and next up is the U.S. GP on Oct. 24.
After years where grand prix racing had struggled to make a breakthrough in the US, a sustained effort by Liberty Media to tap in to the market appears to be paying off.
Helped by the success of the Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ series, the US will add a second race in Miami in 2022 and there are even suggestions of a third event in the longer term.
For Hamilton, who spends a lot of his year in the US, the change in the sport’s profile has been noticeable, and the acceleration of interest has ramped up a lot recently.
“I think we already knew from the beginning there was huge potential here,” explained the world champion.
Meet Max: Low-key Verstappen heads to Texas atop F1
The lineups were set in advance: Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez vs. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola in a pit stop competition at the ExxonMobil headquarters. When it came time to loosen and then tighten a set of lug nuts, Verstappen reconfirmed his calling was inside a race car. “I think I realized I am not a good guy for the pit box,” Verstappen said. “It is better if I drive the car.” Verstappen and Perez, like most of the F1 drivers in the paddock, have been on a whirlwind tour of the country ahead of this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
“My first race in the US here was in 2007, but I had already been to a NASCAR race, seeing how it is. I have been to an NFL game, an NBA game, and they are just crazy about sports over here.
“There is never enough sports. They always want more, more action. The progress I have seen over these years has been huge.
“Of course in these last couple of years it has been the steepest rise and more and more people are talking about it, and more and more people are engaging.
"The amount of emails and messages I get from people who I have known for years in the States but never knew what I was doing and are now hooked and cannot wait to come.
“I think a lot of them are coming this weekend, so I think that is only a good thing and it is great to see that response.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: US sporting culture big enough to support multiple Formula 1 races
Lewis Hamilton says adding Miami along with Austin to the 2022 F1 schedule is long overdue and believes there should be more additions in the U.S.Austin, Texas has been the home of Formula 1 in the U.S. since 2012, but next year the number of F1 races is set to grow with the addition of the Miami Grand Prix. Hamilton says such a move is long overdue and believes there should be further additions in the U.S.
Photo by: Steve Etherington /
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was clear when he took over the running of the sport earlier this year that there would be a big focus in attacking the US market.
He felt, however, that the sport needed continued messaging there, rather than believing that the interest surrounding a single weekend would be enough.
“I can guarantee to you there is now big interest in the USA with Formula 1,” he said.
“What we don't have to do, in terms of mistake, is that the US needs to be fed with F1 news every day.
“It's wrong to go there one week, and let's say you have an incredible push one week before the Austin race and then being silent.
“What we have is a plan of communication quite strong in the US. We need to hammer information with the right channels in a continuous way.
“It will take a lot of start-up time in terms of investment, but the payoff will be huge. So this is part of our strategic global communication campaign that we need to push this year.”
Hamilton-Verstappen rivalry is F1's best duel in years .
Lewis Hamilton is Formula One's biggest star. Max Verstappen is the challenger trying to dethrone the seven-time champion. Through pulsing race wins, crashes and clashes, the two have crafted F1's best on-track duel in a decade. It's pumped new energy into the world's biggest motorsports series after years of predictable results that include 100 Hamilton victories since 2007. “Max is driving on the knife. So is Lewis," two-time F1 championThrough pulsing race wins, crashes and clashes, the two have crafted F1's best on-track duel in a decade. It's pumped new energy into the world's biggest motorsports series after years of predictable results that include 100 Hamilton victories since 2007.