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Lewis Hamilton: US sporting culture big enough to support multiple Formula 1 races

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 2021-10-23

Lewis Hamilton says the United States Grand Prix alone is not enough for Formula 1 to fully tap into America’s sporting culture.

Austin, Texas has been the home of Formula 1 in the U.S. since 2012, but next year the number of F1 races is set to grow with the addition of the Miami Grand Prix. Hamilton says such a move is long overdue and believes there should be further additions in the U.S.

“The U.S. Grand Prix is fantastic and it’s such a huge country, having just one race here isn’t enough to really be able to tap into the sporting culture here and really encapsulate the fans and get them on the journey with us," said Hamilton, who has five career wins in Austin. "I think definitely we need to have at least two, but there are so many great cities to have a grand prix.

“Miami is going to be incredible, as is Austin. I don’t know where they will have the next one, but I am not opposed to that. I think it’s quite cool to have these mini championships in these continents. It’s not a bad thing for the sport.”

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Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix five times. Mark Sutton, Getty Images

Hamilton says F1’s ability to succeed in America has always existed given the country’s appetite for sports, but he’s noticed the recent increase in interest from the U.S. as the championship begins to reach more people.

“I think we already knew from the beginning there was huge potential here,” he said. “My first [race] here in the U.S. was 2007… but I’ve already been to a NASCAR race, seeing how it is, been to an NFL game, an NBA game… they’re crazy about sports over here and there’s never enough sports — they always want more, more action.

“The progress that I have seen over these years has been huge. Obviously, of course, in these past couple of years, it’s been the steepest rise. More and more people are talking about it, more and more people are engaging.

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Lewis Hamilton, left, talks with former NBA star Chris Bosh in the paddock Friday at Circuit of The Americas ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix. Chris Graythen, Getty Images

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“The amount of emails and messages I get from people that I’ve known for years in the States but never knew what I was doing and are now hooked and can’t wait to come. I think a lot of them are coming this weekend. I think that’s only good, it’s a good thing and it’s great to see the response.”

While Hamilton is a big proponent of expanding F1 in the U.S., there is another country that he'd very much like to see back on the racing schedule.

“The place that I really feel is dear to my heart and most important for me is to get a race back in South Africa,” Hamilton said. “I think there’s a great following out there. I think it would be great to be able to highlight just how beautiful the motherland is."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Lewis Hamilton: US sporting culture big enough to support multiple Formula 1 races

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