Well, it’s been nearly 2 months since our whirlwind trip to Austin, and I’m still blown away by how amazing the entire experience was. It’s safe to say that Formula 1 has finally found a true home in this country; one that is better suited all around to host it than any were previously.
As unlikely a match as it seemed in theory, Austin was held up on the world stage and performed magnificently.
With echoes of Texas Motor Speedway’s disastrous opening weekend that saw people still waiting the next day to get out of the parking lots looming in my head, I was fearful of the logistics involved going in. Simply put, the shuttle system was well thought out, well executed, and made getting to and from the track an absolute breeze.
Texas Hospitality was also on full display from the moment fans approached the shuttle buses in town, and the gates at the track. Throughout the weekend, I noticed visitors from outside the state commenting on how nice the volunteers and employees were. There was also an amazing number of them patrolling the grounds in red shirts, with maps and guides in tow, ensuring that all needs were met.
The rush of people on Saturday and Sunday did lead to long lines for food and souvenirs, but in the end this was a slight blemish on a stellar event and facility, and everything was capped off Sunday with an outstanding race.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel duked it out from the moment the lights went out, with Hamilton eventually making use of dramatically faster speed through the DRS Zone to better the German in the penultimate race of his McLaren career. Passing was rampant throughout the field for most of the day, leading the packed crowd on the Turn 19 berm to cheer at regular intervals throughout the 56 lap contest.
A personal highlight was seeing Kimi Raikonnen quickly close the gap between his Renault and Nico Hulkenburg’s Force India as they flashed by us entering Turn 19. I pointed out the charge to my dad, then up to Turn 1 a few seconds later as Kimi looped out, then under entering the sharp apex at the top of the hill, executing a hair-raising pass as the two flowed into the esses.
All in all, I don’t think I could have wished for a better way to right the wrong of 2005. Bravo, Austin, and thanks to Tavo Hellmund and all the rest who have made this a reality. It certainly won’t be the last F1 race I attend.
Finally, what would an F1 post be without a little noise? Here’s a compilation of the videos I grabbed throughout the weekend.