Cruisin’ the Beach – at 180 mph

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The famous 1.97-mile Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit has a little bit of everything from long straights and 90 degree corners to tight braking areas that can create serious trouble. It’s a street circuit, so there will be no elevation changes for the drivers to navigate through like they did two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park, but there’s more than enough to keep drivers on their toes.

Turn 1 is the best area on the course to pass as it comes off the famous dog-leg frontstretch of Shoreline Drive, but it’s not the only passing zone.Β  Turn 6’s location on the end of a short straight doesn’t give the drivers as much time to plot and execute a pass, so if one is not quick on the brakes, they’re liable to lose a spot if someone else is close by. Turn 9 can see a lot of jockeying for position as well.

There are also several tight spots on the circuit, chiefly the “Fountain” complex at Turns 2 and 3 and the famous Turn 11 hairpin, which is very critical to get right as it leads into the long blast down Shoreline Drive. Trouble in these corners can be very problematic, and could lead to stack-ups if there are multiple cars around.

Click above to go for a lap around this legendary track, and catch the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.