F1 United States Grand Prix diary: Party atmosphere near the podium

Lewis Hamilton won the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Austin in a thrilling duel with Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel’s runner-up finish did not reward him with the World Drivers’ Championship but it was good enough for him to bring home Team Red Bull’s third-straight Constructors’ Championship. The Drivers’ Championship will still be on the line at Brazil because Fernando Alonso minimized the damage of finishing behind Vettel, securing third place, and is only 13 points behind the defending champion heading into the finale.

The atmosphere above parc fermé was electric as the Red Bull guests celebrated a team championship and reveled in the moment of standing right next to the most star-studded podium of recent memory.

I was in the middle of the fracas, collecting one of the championship tee-shirts, getting drenched in champagne and taking this awesome picture of Mario Andretti, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton – four World Champions on the podium at Circuit of the Americas.

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This was also, remarkably enough, the first time that Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton have shared the podium – the three no. 1 drivers from the top-three teams in Formula 1. Adding 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti was just the cherry on top.

We quickly left COTA as soon as the race ended and traffic flowed much better than a crowd of 120,000 fans would indicate. It took only 30 minutes to get to downtown from the track – just 10 minutes longer than what it took on Friday and Saturday.

That’s a testament to the city of Austin and COTA’s logistic group who had a contingency plan for every problem all weekend and there wasn’t many.

I will have a complete post up soon containing my final thoughts on a fantastic weekend in Austin and at Circuit of the Americas. Thank you for taking this journey with me and I hope you’ll continue reading.

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