Lewis Hamilton claims to be nervous ahead of F1’s new adventure to Miami, despite turning out in almost 300 Grands Prix and winning more than 100 of them. The Magic City is set to make its debut on the F1 calendar as the sport’s popularity grows stateside.
Hamilton and the rest of his F1 peers are edging further onto the radar of American fans, particularly after last season’s dramatic race for the world title which could certainly be described as ‘Hollywood’. Netflix series Drive to Survive has raised worldwide awareness of the sport, and authorities have sought to capitalise by adding another US city to the circuit.
The lights will go out in Miami on May 8 and Hamilton claims to be feeling the nerves already. Mercedes’ early-season struggles would naturally do that to a driver, but the 37-year-old has cited a different reason.
“It has been nerve-wrecking because I think it’s going to be such a huge event for us,” he told Good Morning America, “We obviously have the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing. The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007.
DON’T MISS: Charles Leclerc must ‘rein in’ his driving style to beat Max Verstappen in title fight
“But now, with the Netflix series Drive to Survive growing, we have two Grand Prix in the States and another one in Vegas next year, so it’s going to be huge. I think [F1 has cracked the US market] now. I’ve been coming out here for a long, long time and I never quite understood why people weren’t into F1.
“Everyone knew NASCAR, and obviously you’ve got such huge sport fans out here. This Netflix show has just brought massive awareness, especially through the pandemic, and now it’s booming.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his mechanics are under pressure to find solutions and produce a car fit for the seven-time world champion. Hamilton’s assessment was bleak in Emilia-Romagna, pointing out that ‘each weekend is a rescue [mission]’ under their current circumstances.
Fans would be ambitious to expect a sudden turnaround in Miami, so it may be left to Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to wow the crowds. The pair have produced fireworks already this season, having split the first four Grand Prix with two wins apiece ahead of what promises to be a gripping race for the top prizes in 2022.