Alexander Rossi felt proud to have completed his first United States Grand Prix and match Manor’s best result of the 2015 Formula 1 season in Austin on Sunday.
Rossi became the first American driver since Scott Speed in 2007 to line up on the grid for his home grand prix on Sunday, and benefitted from a race of attrition to rise through the order.
As more and more cars dropped out towards the end, Rossi looked capable of recording just the second top-ten finish in Manor’s F1 history, rising as high as 11th at one point.
However, a lack of pace late on and relatively clean finish to the race meant that he had to settle for P12 overall, albeit finishing on the lead lap.
Speaking to NBCSN following his first US GP, Rossi made no secret of his pride and delight after a memorable race at the Circuit of The Americas.
“When you see P10 and P11 on pit board, getting towards the end of the race, you want it really bad,” Rossi said.
“But nonetheless a really good result for the team. Shame for Will [Stevens, who retired early]. It’s a very positive end to a great weekend.
“I was fighting with Felipe Nasr for a few laps. It was nice to race a car! I thought we could maybe pull something off. In the end, we were just missing the ultimate pace.
“It’s been an amazing week. So proud to be here. In the end, a great show for the fans on a Sunday. Difficult because of the weather, but positive reception all around, [helps] grow the profile in the States.”
The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.
With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.
Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.
With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.
“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!
“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”
Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.
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