TIME is tight and distance apparently no problem as the F1 circus lands in the US for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
In true blockbuster fashion, it starts with the Hollywood Ride of Fame, during which Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will roar their respective Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull racers down LA’s Hollywood Boulevard — ahead of Friday’s practice, Saturday’s qualifying sessions and the Grand Prix itself, on Sunday.
However, Los Angeles, California, is some 2000km from Austin, Texas, where the race is run on the 5.5km Circuit of the Americas.
No problem, says Ricciardo, who rates the Austin circuit as one of his favourites.
“I love the US and the city of Austin,” he said.
“I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and I really enjoy the American vibe.
“This year, it’s really exciting to be taking part in the LA Fan Festival on Hollywood Boulevard.
“Driving a Formula 1 car there will be seriously cool, so I’m looking forward to putting on a show and doing some donuts there.
“Austin is one of the highlights of the year, for me.
“The racing spectacle is great, the atmosphere in the paddock, and in Austin itself, is always good, so that makes it a very fun one to attend.
“The Circuit of the Americas is one of the best circuits we go to on the calendar. I like that it’s fast and brings some cool challenges especially the right, left, right in sector one, snaking up the hill.
“There are also overtaking opportunities throughout, so plenty of scope to send one on race day. We missed out on Checo [Sergio Perez] in Mexico, so there’s extra motivation to make them stick this weekend.
“The flowing nature also allows close battles and that’s why it’s always a fun race.
“We’re moving forward with all eyes on some Texan success. Let’s go, ya’ll!”
Teammate Nico Hülkenberg was also upbeat on the 19th Grand Prix of the year.
“Austin has a really cool vibe, so it’s always fun going to Texas for this race,” he said.
“It’s a great event, always a lot going on, so it’s enjoyable for us drivers, the team and also the fans. In terms of the circuit, it’s one of the more challenging and fun ones for a driver.
“You could say it has similarities to places like Silverstone or Suzuka; ultimate driving tracks where there are fast changes of direction, brave corners and little room for error. It’s a very well-designed circuit.
“My mindset is on doing a good job and there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”
Meanwhile, barring a major upset, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton seems certain to win his sixth world championship on Sunday.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas is the only driver left who can beat him to the championship, but he trails Hamilton by 74 points, with 78 available over the remaining three races.
So the only way Hamilton can lose the world championship is if Bottas wins all of the remaining three races, while Hamilton scores less than four points.
After Austin, there are just two more rounds left in the 2019 season: Brazil on Nov 17 and Abu Dhabi on Dec 1.