Vettel looking forward to “special” United States GP

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has said that he is looking forward to returning to Austin, Texas, next weekend for the second United States Grand Prix to be held at the Circuit of the Americas.

The race is one of just two on the current calendar that Vettel is yet to win, having led a good part of last year’s race before being passed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton with fourteen laps remaining. The Briton went on to win the race by half a second, but the event as a whole was the real talking point as the F1 world embraced the sport’s return to the United States after a five year hiatus. For Vettel, returning to Austin will be a highlight in a season full of stand-out moments.

“It was fantastic last year,” Vettel said. “It was great to see that there were so many people. Really the special thing that we enjoy, apart from the track itself, is that the whole city was living the grand prix. You could feel that there was a special vibe and that everyone was looking forward to the event. I think it was generally very positive. We obviously look forward to going there again.”

Vettel also spoke about the challenge of the Circuit of the Americas, which has proven to be one of the more impressive ‘new build’ circuits to have graced Formula One in the past few years. The German driver wishes to collect another Pirelli cowboy hat on the podium that replaced the regular headwear given to the top three finishers.

“The track is tricky, very challenging, mixed, with high speed and slow corners. It was nice to be on the podium last year, nice to get a different kind of hat. We’ll try to do it again.”

Currently in the form of his life, Vettel is chasing an unprecedented eighth consecutive win in a single season after claiming his seventh in a row at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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 of 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.