Ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez give their thoughts on what they of the American circuit.
Nico Hulkenberg: “The weekend in Austin is one of the coolest of the whole year. It’s an event that ticks all the boxes: the track is fun, the city is interesting and the people are great. There’s a brilliant atmosphere, which you can feel as soon as you land in the city, and I really enjoy going there. I think COTA is one of the best tracks among the recent introductions to the calendar – they did a superb job with the layout. Sector one is very quick, with a great flow and high speeds. The whole lap has a good rhythm and overtaking is possible so you usually see some great racing. Last year was a very weird race, with some crazy rain on Saturday. When you get really wet weather, it adds to the challenge, because you have to keep focus while waiting around for the sessions to restart. You need to switch off and then be able to switch on again, but that’s part of being a racing driver.”
Sergio Perez: “Before Mexico joined the calendar, Austin felt like a home race for me so I am always happy to go there, to be close to home and to be able to spend a bit of time with my family and friends at the circuit. I always have guests with me and there are so many fans who make the trip from Mexico to see the race in Austin. The city is really nice and you’re never short of things to do. The whole place comes alive at night and there are so many bars and restaurants to enjoy. Of course, being there to race means we do not really get the chance to go out much, but even going for a walk gives you an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and see all the fans. It’s a young city, with many students, and that gives it a nice vibe. The circuit is incredible. The facilities are impressive and once the racing starts the atmosphere is really cool. It’s quite different from your average Formula One environment and makes for a very welcome change. Turn one is very tricky: you get to the top of the hill and the apex is blind, so you can’t really see where you’re going or the best line into the corner. You take a leap of faith and just go for it, and if you hesitate it’s very easy to turn in too late and lose precious time. You just need to get your calculations right. There are many corners inspired by other tracks – you get hints of Monza in the big braking zones, a reminder of Silverstone in the fast corners and it makes for a very interesting lap. Last year’s weekend was very difficult, with the weather stopping us from doing much practice, but we came away with a good result in the end and hopefully we can score strongly again this year.”