x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Time right for Formula One to make impact in USA, insists Hamilton

The McLaren driver won the last Grand Prix to be staged on American soil five years ago, and believes the sport needs to establish a proper presence in the US again.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton believes it is time for Formula One to put down proper roots in the US ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix.

The sport has led a nomadic existence over the years in the States as it has struggled to capture the imagination of an American public.

Riverside, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Phoenix and Indianapolis - the latter most recently in 2007 - have all tried and failed at some stage to showcase F1.

This weekend will mark the latest attempt to take the sport to the USA, at the custom-built Circuit of The Americas near Austin, Texas.

Hamilton, who won the last Formula One race on American soil five years ago, is confident the new facility has what it takes to finally win over the sceptical Americans.

"I have to admit, I'm absolutely made-up that we're going back to the States," said Hamilton.

"It's a fantastic country and a place where our sport truly deserves to be.

"I think the Circuit Of The Americas looks like it could also be the place modern Formula One finally calls home.

"I've only driven it on the computer and in the simulator, but I think it's going to be a track that drivers enjoy, which produces some great, close racing, and which fans will quickly love."

Although another track designed by Hermann Tilke, who has not always produced venues conducive to spectacular racing over the seasons, it boasts a remarkable 41-metre elevation change, with its peak the apex of turn one destined to become a signature corner in F1.

Beyond that, Tilke has taken elements of some of the sport's best-loved circuits and pieced them together jigsaw-style.

Whether Tilke has produced a masterpiece, the drivers will know come the first few laps of practice on Friday.

On paper at least, the initial impressions are positive as Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button said: "It looks to have a little bit of everything.

"The plan-view certainly looks familiar; you can see elements of the Maggotts/Becketts complex from Silverstone; there's a reverse of Istanbul Park's Turn Eight; and I can even see a bit of the Hockenheim infield, too.

"Whether those elements will blend together to make a satisfying whole remains to be seen.

"But there are a couple of long straights into tight corners, which should at least open up the possibility of overtaking."

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