Sebastian Vettel looking forward to Austria return

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Sebastian Vettel is looking forward to Formula 1’s return to Austria next weekend, for what will be his first grand prix at the Red Bull Ring.

The German driver made his F1 debut four years after Austria’s last grand prix, which was held in 2003. Since then, the sport has transformed, with Vettel being part of the new generation of drivers. At the age of 26, he has already secured himself a place in the history of the sport, but racing in Austria will rekindle some fond memories of his junior racing days.

“I have great memories of the Red Bull Ring,” Vettel explained. “I was 13 years old when I first drove around it. I had the chance to test a Formula car from the Auinger family. That is a huge step if you’re coming from a karting background. It was something completely new and it took me a while to get used to it. I’m really happy that we will race there.

“The circuit is actually very pretty, not only the track, but the whole area. The circuit’s set amid a beautiful natural landscape. There are not many distractions there – it’s just about racing.

“The Red Bull Ring is a short track, with only a few turns, but it’s very challenging. There are also a lot of elevation changes, which makes it interesting and fun. The fans will have a great time as every grandstand offers a great view of the circuit.”

A new race in Europe came as something of a surprise given Formula 1’s global outlook, but it has certainly gone down well in all corners of the sport’s community. Tickets for the race sold out in just 48 hours, and the event promises to be a fascinating one in the wake of Red Bull’s shock victory at the Canadian Grand Prix last time out.

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”