A peek at ‘F1 Countdown’: Lewis Hamilton’s big risk

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Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes was one of the moves of the Formula 1 offseason. And the risk he takes in leaving the team that has supported his entire career in switching to one that has won just one race since Mercedes took over prior to 2010 cannot be understated.

This is a segment from “F1 Countdown,” a preview show to the 2013 Formula 1 season that airs tonight, March 7, at 9 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. (If you miss the 30-minute show, it re-airs every day until March 13 at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

NBC’s booth commentary team of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett anchor the show. Pit reporter Will Buxton also reports from testing in Barcelona.

It’s the first show NBC will bring to you in the 2013 season, which starts with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”