Dinners beat world titles in Hamilton’s Austin memories

Date published: October 21 2021 - Jon Wilde

Lewis Hamilton holds up six fingers to represent his number of World Championship successes. Austin November 2019.

Despite securing two world titles in Austin, Lewis Hamilton says the social side provides his most vivid memories of the United States Grand Prix.

The seven-time Drivers’ champion clinched the 2015 and 2019 crowns at the Circuit of the Americas, winning the race on the first of those occasions although second place behind his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was sufficient the second time.

In total, Hamilton has triumphed at the Texan venue five times in eight visits, saying it is a track he loves – perhaps partly due to the exciting complex between turns five and 10 that takes its inspiration from Maggots and Becketts at the Briton’s home F1 circuit, Silverstone.

But for all the success he has enjoyed in the Lone Star State, it is hanging out with his celebrity mates that most readily springs to mind when the 36-year-old thinks back to the times he has spent in Austin over the past decade.

Hamilton often says in interviews and press conferences that he is not the best at remembering events of past years, but had no problem recalling some of his favourite off-track moments in Austin.

“I’ve got a bad memory, I don’t remember all the other times we’ve been here,” Hamilton told the Formula 1 website on the eve of the 2021 United States Grand Prix weekend.

“The things I remember of being here are the amazing guests I’ve had in the past and the dinners we go out to each night. It’s probably the only track where I would always go out to dinner every night.

“We went to the same restaurant in town and had great conversations. I think the last time I was here at dinner, Matthew McConaughey was encapsulating us, telling us this beautiful story about how he met his wife and just all these cool things.

“Those are the things I really remember. My first race, winning in 2012 here [for McLaren] and just the fact I love the track. It’s a great racing circuit.

“I don’t remember the others ones though, like winning the championship, for example, which is huge – I don’t really remember it.”

However, if he achieves a record-breaking eighth title this year after a titanic battle with Max Verstappen, Hamilton may just remember that – although it will not happen in Austin.

He will try to overturn a six-point deficit to Max Verstappen with a sixth COTA triumph.

 

“This is what racing’s about,” said the seven-time champion. “This is the dream I think any racing driver and any performer or athlete dreams of, having the opportunity to be fighting for something so special.

“I’m really enjoying this battle we’re having against another team and I’m just trying to focus to do the best job we can. We’ve got six tough races ahead of us.”