Drama, Excitement and Prestige

Formula 1 Texas style: Best moments from 2014 U.S. Grand Prix include hoop dreams with Tony Parker


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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley
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Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley
News_Nov14_F1USGP
Photo by Kevin McCauley

Formula 1 returned to Austin for the third United States Grand Prix, and this one was perhaps the most exciting race yet. 

The 2014 United States Grand Prix was evocative of the inaugural 2012 race, when fan-favorite Lewis Hamilton made a bold pass for the lead and won the race. It seems that no one at COTA was disappointed to see a little bit of repetition in this instance. 

The ear-spllitting V8-wail of the last few years is gone, replaced by the quieter but still thunderous sounds from the new 2014-spec 1.6-liter hybrid turbo V6s. You can carry a conversation while cars race by on track. Is it worse? Not necessarily, just different. 

The inner sanctum. The Formula 1 paddock is an elite place where celebrities, drivers and former world champions wander about. 

Nico Rosberg fields questions on Saturday after putting down a blistering lap in qualifying and claiming pole. He was roughly four-tenths quicker than his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in the session. The Mercedes pair have been utterly dominant in 2014.

 

Valtteri Bottas is congrated by Sir Jackie Stewart, moments after qualifying third. Stewart is a three-time Formula 1 World Champion.

Saturday afternoon in the paddock got strange and amazing when Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Riccicardo and team principal Christian Horner were shooting hoops with San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker. 

Ricciardo lines up a shot. The game was H-O-R-S-E.

Tony Parker ultimately shows them how it's done.

Daniel Ricciardo has a pretty strong one-handed-over-the-shoulder shot.

Ricardo Perez's team poses with their trophies — Perez not only won the Sunday Ferrari Challenge Race, but also claimed the Championship. Ricardo Perez is supported by Risi Competizione

COTA reports that the three-day attendance for the U.S. Grand Prix was 237,406. 

Some fans felt the tire compounds that Pirelli brought were too conservative — that they were too durable and not sticky enough.

There's nothing quite like a sea of Porsche 911 Cup cars.

Kimi Raikkonen after the drivers's parade. He looks pretty relaxed.

The empty suites at the far end of the paddock were an ominous reminder of the teams that weren't there: Marussia and Caterham, who didn't have the funds to finish the season. F1 finds itself in a time of crisis over issues of how it distributes funds and makes it financially viable for the teams at the back of the grid.

McLaren's Jenson Button rounds turn 2 near the start of the race. On lap 1, an incident between Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez brought out the safety car, and knocked both drivers out of the race.

Fernando Alonso drove well as he often does, but could only manage 6th place on a day that even Ferrari described as "challenging." This is Alonso's last year with Ferrari, but he hasn't announced where he is going yet.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton started in second-place behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, and then pulled a similar move to his 2012 pass on Sebastian Vettel at turn 12 to claim the lead. The mood at COTA was electric. 

Felipe Massa drove a solid race and brought his Williams home in 4th place. 

Pirelli personnel pack up their equipment and dismantle tires and wheels in preparation for the next race, in Brazil, in just one week. 

 

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