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Rosberg ‘in the best position to judge’ Hamilton/Vettel F1 clash

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg offered his thoughts on the clash between current title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Baku, believing himself to be in the “best position” to pass judgment.

Rosberg fought Mercedes teammate Hamilton for the drivers’ championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016, eventually claiming his first crown last year before retiring from F1.

Rosberg and Hamilton enjoyed a tense relationship that saw their rivalry spill over with on-track clashes on a number of occasions, contrasting the early stages of this year’s title battle that – until Baku, when the pair collided behind the safety car – seemed cordial.

Vettel accused Hamilton of brake testing him and slowing deliberately behind the safety car that meant they touched and reacted by swiping towards him, causing contact. Vettel was penalized in the race and could be penalized further by the FIA.

Rosberg appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England on Sunday, taking part in a public interview with ex-F1 driver Mark Webber, who asked if he had watched the race.

After confirming he’d watched the race, Rosberg quickly asked: “So what was your opinion on that one, Mark? Who was to blame, Lewis or Sebastian? Be honest now…”

Webber said it was “very easy”, pinning the blame on Vettel before asking Rosberg for his thoughts.

“My opinion? I’m German. I’ve got to be careful now…” Rosberg joked, before giving his view on Hamilton’s alleged brake test.

“It’s pretty simple. To be honest, I’m the guy who knows Lewis best in the whole of the racing industry, so I think I’m in the best position to judge it.

“For sure he didn’t do that on purpose, definitely.”

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.