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Hulkenberg keen to regroup in Austria after missed Baku chance

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Nico Hulkenberg has set his sights on bouncing back at next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix after a disappointing retirement at the last Formula 1 race in Baku, spurning a chance for a top-five finish.

Hulkenberg was running on-track with eventual race winner Daniel Ricciardo and podium finisher Lance Stroll in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix before making an error and clipping the wall, causing damage to his Renault car that forced him to retire.

The wasted opportunity was frustrating for Hulkenberg given the unpredictable nature of the race in Baku that saw Renault leave as the only team not to score points.

“It was a difficult weekend. It was a crazy race, one of those you get every five years,” Hulkenberg said.

“During the red flag we were sixth, things were going well and we were making up places with people crashing, I was just trying to stay alive and out of trouble.

“Unfortunately, lap two after the red flag, I misjudged the turning into turn seven and hit the inside wall and broke the steering arm.

“That was the end of my race which was disappointing, we surely would have had a couple of points. That is racing, however, and we will regroup and go again in Austria.”

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix saw Hulkenberg enjoy one of his strongest F1 qualifying displays in recent memory as he qualified third and started second, only to retire late on due to a brake problem.

“It’s a short track with not too many corners. It’s important not to get a false impression as it’s still very challenging and technical,” Hulkenberg said, previewing the Red Bull Ring circuit.

“It has a lot of elevation – up and down – and some tricky corners to match. On paper, it looks easy but actually to get a good lap time it isn’t so simple. It’s about balance, there are some medium speed corners so it will be important to find that and get a decent lap time.

“Last year was fantastic to be on the front row. I managed to string a good lap together in Q3. It was just a shame not to follow that up in the race!”

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.