|© AP Photo/David J. Phillip
United States’ latest Formula 1 track, Circuit of The Americas, captivated those in the sport with expectations for the action high for the penultimate round of the season.
On Thursday, Lewis Hamilton reckoned that the layout was “quite difficult to learn” but was confident that it would be “fantastic to drive”.
"We've taken the good bits from all the different circuits and tried to put them together. It should make good racing," believed F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Designer Hermann Tilke admitted that there were “some real difficult parts” in the track hoping that it would be one of the most challenging circuit on the calendar adding that he expected drivers to make several mistakes.
“For the drivers it will be hard, it will be difficult to set up the car and it will be tough to keep the tyres running correctly too,” Tilke said. “That could mean there are more problems with the tyres, which will be good for the race.”
But what the venue primarily has to offer was the stage for the title battle, with championship contenders Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel separated by ten points.
“I'm much more relaxed, much more focused,” said the Ferrari driver who has fought for the title at the final race of the season on number of occasions.
“In 2006, I arrived at the last race fighting with Michael (Schumacher) in Brazil. It was quite stressful, quite an intense weekend and not easy to get focused or sleep or things like that because it was a very emotional weekend.
“The year after, 2007, it was also a very stressful last race, three of us fighting for the world champion: Lewis, Kimi (Raikkonen) and me and it was also a stressful weekend and not easy to do things.
“In 2010, we arrived in Abu Dhabi, again fighting for the world championship at the last race. I was much more calm there, I was more confident and things in the race, in the weekend were quite good for us and we did more or less - in terms of preparation and approach - it was much more calm and more mature, I felt, in 2010,” he recalled.
“The race was what it was and we didn't win in the end but feeling-wise we were much more prepared. In these last two races, I feel, as I said before, completely normal,” the Spaniard explained.
“It's the fourth time we have been fighting for the world championship up to the last race - hopefully - and you really feel the difference, being much more focused, concentrated, trying to do the job and understanding that if you do everything perfectly you have a chance; if you make a mistake you will lose the chance,” he added.