Hamilton excited by F1’s profile and growth in the USA

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Lewis Hamilton has spoken about his excitement for the growth of Formula 1’s profile in the United States ahead of this weekend’s race in Austin, Texas.

Hamilton appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show earlier this week, with dozens of fans descending on the plaza just outside of the studio donned in team gear and with flags and signs in support of the world championship leader.

In today’s FIA press conference, Hamilton spoke about his enthusiasm for F1’s growth in the United States, and how he thinks it is a key market for the sport to focus on.

“I think there is a huge market for Formula 1,” Hamilton said. “I think if you watch all the different sports here, the people in this country are so passionate about sports in general, whether it be basketball, baseball or NFL or even NASCAR and IndyCar.

“They are extremely enthusiastic about competition and wheel-to-wheel racing or just real out and out competition. Whilst we only have one race here, there’s lots of opportunity for it to grow. I’ve just definitely seen from 2007, even though we missed out quite a few years, there’s still quite a lot of growth here.

“I was in New York yesterday for example, and there were people waiting outside this building with signs and fans with our team tops on, which was huge.”

Hamilton believes that tapping into the American market will be crucial for Formula 1, and that it has a knack for entertaining.

“Over here, they have a good recipe for good shows,” he said. “When you go and watch an NBA game you know you’re excited the whole way through.

“Same with NFL and the same with baseball and so they have a good recipe for entertaining fans and we can perhaps take a bit of that and add it into this race and maybe others and make it even more attractive.”

Hamilton will be gunning for his third victory in the United States this weekend, having won the event in 2007 and 2012.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide late at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.

2017