Mexican drivers delighted with return of home grand prix

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Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez have made no secret of their happiness following the news that the Mexican Grand Prix will be returning to the F1 calendar in 2015.

The race was last held back in 1992 – Gutierrez was just one year old at the time – at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but it was confirmed earlier this week by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that the sport would be returning there as of next year.

Speaking in the FIA press conference on Thursday, both of the drivers expressed their excitement for the Mexican Grand Prix and the chance to race in front of their home fans.

“It’s great, I’m so happy,” Perez said. “Since I left my home at 13, 14 years I never raced in Mexico. I never raced in my home country. Now to go back after so many years and race actually in Formula 1 is great.

“They’ve been really pushing for so many years, since I came to Formula 1 four years ago. The spirit of the fans is massive back home.

“It’s great for my country, for all the fans back home and I’m sure you all will be surprised at how good the event will be. I’m just very proud and excited. It’s great that we can confirm that we will have a Mexican GP next year.”

Gutierrez has enjoyed one race in front of his home crowd before, but to have a grand prix in Mexico is a “dream come true” for the Sauber driver.

“I have good feelings about it, because all these years that Mexico has been involved in Formula 1 with obviously first Checo getting to Formula One and now myself, we are two in Formula 1 and I think this is a great step to have a grand prix,” he said.

“It’s really a dream come true for many of us. I had the chance to race once in Mexico City, back in 2008, when we did the world finals of Formula BMW. It was a great experience.

“I think it was an introduction to what it can be, obviously very, very small by comparison but now we will be able to going into the biggest thing in Mexico and to really share with our fans, with our supporters, to share with them physically the sport.”

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.