USA 2018 - GP Preview - Racing Point FI Mercedes
“Austin was my home race before the arrival of the Mexican Grand Prix and it’s still one of the best events on the calendar. All weekend long you can see plenty of Mexican fans and you feel all their love and support. It makes it a really special weekend for me and I also have my family and friends there as well, so it really is like the perfect race.
“Austin is a small town but the vibe is great. It’s a college town so you see a lot of young people and it’s a great environment to be in. The place comes alive at night and there are so many nice things to do and places to go, so I really like it.
“The Circuit of the Americas is very enjoyable. It’s a very interesting circuit and it has some very challenging parts, especially the first sector. Turn one is really unusual and it’s the corner I enjoy the most: it’s very hard to pick your braking point and not miss the blind apex. The Esses that follow make this sector really fun to drive. Last year was the first time we got to try it with the high downforce cars and I’m looking forward to having another go this weekend.
“The circuit layout has a bit of everything so a balanced set-up is the key to doing well. There are slow and fast corners, tough braking zones and you need a car you can trust. We have had this kind of great balance in the last few races, so I think we can be competitive and pick up some good points.”
“Austin is a fantastic track and it features lots of nice bits from other circuits combined into one. You have a first sector that looks like Suzuka and a tight section that reminds me of Mexico: it’s a good track for fighting, with some quick corners and some chances to overtake. Turn one and the left hander at the end of the back straight are quite good opportunities.
“The first sector is my favourite section. It’s very quick, very technical and in the Esses you need to position the car well otherwise you end up losing time in all the following corners. It’s good fun, but so tricky to get right. Setting the car up is a big challenge. You need a car you can trust in the quick sections and a good car in the slow section – not an easy compromise.
“What makes this weekend special is also the city of Austin. It’s such a cool place, with a lot of nice venues with live music. It has a very young vibe; it’s definitely an enjoyable place and it’s nice to stay there a bit longer to experience the town before going on to Mexico. There are lot of cool things to do and last year I went to enjoy a proper, big American steak. When I was a kid, one of my dreams was to travel to the United States and I didn’t come here until my first race in Austin in 2016, so I have a lot of catching up to do!”
“The United States Grand Prix is a home race for me and it’s always a highlight of the year. The drivers love the track and Austin is a great place to go racing. It’s hugely important for the sport to have a home in America and you have to say Austin always puts on a really good show. They’ve done a wonderful job over the last six years.
“With just four races to go, we are getting to the business end of the season. We continue to score good points and we need more of the same this weekend. Our performance in Japan showed that we have great speed in the car on a very demanding track. I think we can be the fourth quickest team in Austin too.”
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