AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Grand Prix is again this week at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, one of the in style venues on the present Formulation One calendar.
With the 2020 occasion cancelled because of the pandemic, COTA has pulled out all of the stops to make this 12 months’s occasion a memorable one. The Austin race stays one of many drivers’ favourites, as an occasion and as a race venue.
A lot occurs within the days previous a race weekend — right here we are going to convey you the within scoop from the paddock and shine a lightweight on among the smaller tales which may in any other case get drowned out all through the build-up.
Aston Martin wins free throw challenge
Aston Martin topped F1’s first Free Throw Challenge on Thursday as Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel beat drivers from rival teams to win $20,000 for charity.
Drivers from up and down the paddock joined NBA stars Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Bosh, Sean Elliott and Fabricio Oberto in taking part in the challenge on a purpose-built half court in the paddock, which doubled up as ESPN’s open-air studio. The link-up between F1 and the NBA marked the start of a new partnership between the two sports and the chance for F1 drivers to show off their skills (or lack of them) in front of the rest of the paddock.
The drivers were given 10 attempts to score from the free-throw line, with the totals of each set of teammates combined to decide an overall winner. Stroll made six baskets while teammate Vettel sunk three, giving them the best overall score ahead of Haas’s duo Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher and Alpha Tauri’s pairing Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.
Daniel Ricciardo racked up the best individual score with seven out of ten ahead of Stroll on six and Mick Schumacher on five. Williams driver George Russell was last overall after failing to score on any of his ten attempts.
ESPN will be broadcasting from the challenge area all weekend ahead of Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
Ricciardo’s tribute to The Intimidator
Daniel Ricciardo has a packed schedule for the U.S. Grand Prix. McLaren CEO Zak Brown has come good on a promise he made to Ricciardo at the start of the season, that he would let him drive Dale Earnhardt’s 1984 car — part of Brown’s personal collection — if he scored a podium. Ricciardo obliged by winning the Italian Grand Prix last month.
Ricciardo’s boyhood hero was Earnhardt, which is why he also drives with the number three on his car.
While Ricciardo’s exhibition run will be in the blue and yellow Wrangler colours Earnhardt drove in the 1980s, his helmet design for this year’s race borrowed another iconic Earnhardt look. The seven-time NASCAR champion drove in an all-black car, sponsored by GM Goodwrench, in what is arguably the colours most associate him with.
In place of Goodwrench Service Plus, Ricciardo’s one-off lid carries the words “McLaren Service Plus”. On the back, Ricciardo has his Honey Badger logo. Despite saying at the start of the F1 season he wanted to be his sport’s version of the Intimidator, on Friday he said he wanted to leave that nickname with Earnhardt himself.
Ricciardo is one of a number of drivers running tribute helmets this weekend.
His McLaren teammate, Lando Norris, has gone all out with American colours for his, while Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has taken inspiration from a mural in downtown Austin for his.
Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Tony Parker front row at the NBA last night 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Q79IEfYrRS
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) October 20, 2021
Verstappen’s Netflix snub
Netflix’s wildly in style Drive to Survive collection faces the prospect of not having the perception of one of many two protagonists of the F1 title battle in its collection on the 2021 Formulation One season, with championship chief Max Verstappen opting to not give interviews to the present going ahead.
Verstappen, who was named as F1’s hottest driver by a survey of greater than 167,000 followers revealed Thursday, believes the collection has portrayed him as a villain in earlier years and created false rivalries between drivers. He has beforehand complained about the way it coated his collision with then-Pink Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo on the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“I perceive that it must be performed to spice up the recognition in America. However from my aspect as a driver, I do not like being a part of it,” Verstappen instructed The Related Press forward of the U.S. Grand Prix.
“They faked just a few rivalries, which, they do not actually exist. So I made a decision to not be part of it and didn’t give any extra interviews after that as a result of then there’s nothing you may present.
“I’m not actually a dramatic present sort of individual; I simply need info and actual issues to occur.”
Leclerc’s journey exemption denied
Even F1 drivers run into journey points often, it seems.
Charles Leclerc has been having fun with himself in America since arriving, taking within the opening sport of the NBA season between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets. On Thursday, the media day forward of Sunday’s race, the Ferrari driver revealed his NBA journey was truly a spot of improvisation.
Whereas making an attempt to depart France’s Good airport final week, Leclerc was stopped from boarding by an overzealous member of employees who didn’t settle for his NIE (nationwide curiosity exemption) which everybody concerned in F1 this weekend requires to journey to America. Leclerc noticed the humorous aspect on the time, posting to social media that he had ended up in New York after catching the improper aircraft.
“It was only one man on the airport of Good that for some cause did not actually know what an NIE was, and I acquired caught there,” Leclerc stated.
“He solely realised one minute earlier than closing the flight that the NIE was OK, however I did not have my passenger locator type, so I needed to keep in Good.
“However anyway, it is no large deal. With the identical papers I may take a aircraft to New York, which helped me visiting this metropolis for the primary time.”
Leclerc used the chance to absorb the opening sport of the NBA season.
“It was very cool, it wasn’t truly deliberate,” Leclerc stated about his NBA journey.
“My NIE hadn’t been accepted on the airport, so I could not take the unique flight, so we modified the flight and went to New York final minute.
“I managed to spend in the future in New York — which was my first time, which was unbelievable, what a metropolis. I actually, actually loved it.
“After which I went to Milwaukee for the primary NBA match of the season, which was loopy with the ceremony of the [Bucks’ championship] rings too.
“Simply an incredible expertise.”
Hamilton will get locked in his room
Lewis Hamilton was late for his information convention look on Thursday in Austin however got here armed with a great excuse.
The Mercedes driver, who has gained on the Circuit of the Americas 5 instances, was preparing for the information convention in Mercedes’ hospitality when the door to his room slammed shut and locked from the surface.
“It is good to be again,” he stated after taking his seat mid-presser. “Sorry I’m late! I acquired locked in my room. I could not get out. No joke.”
As soon as seated, Hamilton stated he had been impressed by F1’s rise within the USA in recent times.
“I feel we already knew from the start there was enormous potential right here. My first race within the U.S. was 2007, however I’ve already been to a NASCAR race, seeing how it’s, been to an NFL sport, an NBA sport; they’re loopy about sports activities over right here, and there is by no means sufficient sports activities, they all the time need extra, extra motion.
“The progress that I’ve seen over these years has been enormous. Clearly, after all, in these previous couple of years, it has been the steepest rise. Increasingly individuals are speaking about it, an increasing number of individuals are participating.
“The quantity of emails and messages I get from those that I’ve identified for years within the States however by no means knew what I used to be doing and at the moment are hooked and might’t wait to come back. I feel plenty of them are coming this weekend. I feel that is solely good, it is a good factor, and it is nice to see the response.”