Hulkenberg: Austin is a race that everybody likes

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Nico Hulkenberg is relishing Formula One’s return to Austin, Texas, next weekend for the United States Grand Prix, and he believes that it is an event that is universally welcomed by all in the sport.

The German driver is currently trying to secure a seat with Lotus for 2014 after financial problems at Sauber have caused him to become unsettled. Despite the C32 car proving troublesome to begin with, Hulkenberg has recently found his feet and enjoyed a fine run of form that he will be keen to continue at the Circuit of the Americas next weekend.

“Austin is a place everyone in Formula One likes, and I certainly like it,” Hulkenberg said. “The organisers have done a fantastic job in putting an event like this together and making us feel welcome. It’s a great circuit, although last year tire management was a bit tricky because of the nature of the brand new asphalt, oil came to the surface.

“But, in terms of fun, it’s a great track. It’s very quick, has different and challenging corners and a good flow to it. I had a strong result there last year finishing eighth.”

Formula One returned to the U.S. last year after a five year hiatus in what has proven to be a difficult market for the sport to crack. However, with Austin welcoming the F1 community with open arms and the Circuit of the Americas proving to be a hit among drivers, teams and fans, it appears that the outlook is incredibly bright for F1 in the U.S.A.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.