Ricciardo: United States GP my favorite race of the season

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If you were looking for a reason to like Daniel Ricciardo even more, he’s given you another one: apparently the United States Grand Prix is his favorite race of the season.

The Red Bull driver has been one of the breakout stars of the 2014 F1 season, and he will be hoping to claim a fourth race win of the season at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas next weekend which ranks as one of his favorite circuits.

“Hand on heart, this is probably the date on the calendar I look forward to the most,” Ricciardo said. “I’ve loved every minute of being in Austin: when they picked this place for the US Grand Prix, they absolutely nailed it. The city is awesome.

“I love listening to live music and this is a great place for that, plus Texas feels like real America, and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed just sinking into the last two seasons.

“And then, there’s the important bit. The Circuit of the Americas, in my opinion, is the best of the new breed of circuits. The nature of the corners is interesting. It’s also a very busy track where you don’t get much respite.

“The first sector is very special and that first turn, blind up the big hill is like nothing else in F1. It’s also a good example of the excitement a late-apex can create: you can have a really good lunge there. They’ve done a very good job.”

Well Dan, we happen to agree with you. The United States Grand Prix promises to be a superb event once again, and next weekend can’t come soon enough.

If you’re heading to Austin, be sure to check out some of these fantastic fan events going on in the city across the course of the GP week.

Should Ricciardo finish ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in Austin, he will be guaranteed to beat his teammate in the end-of-season standings. Interestingly, it would mark Vettel’s first head-to-head defeat to a teammate since making his F1 debut back in 2007.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).