Lewis Hamilton explains what he loves about the USA and how Formula 1 has developed in the country since his first visit.
Formula 1 failed to break into the American market in the 1980s and early 2000s. Motorsport fans in the United States still preferred the household names of NASCAR and IndyCar to F1.
However, the Circuit of the Americas welcomed Formula 1 to the United States with open arms in Austin, Texas.
Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 United States Grand Prix finishing just ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. He had already become a celebrity in the country after appearing on the TODAY show a week before the race.
Lewis Hamilton describes the ever-growing F1 culture and New York City
The 2014 world champion spoke to his fans and the media in New York during his visit for the TODAY interview.
Asked what he likes about this particular city, Hamilton said: “Growing up and watching TV, I just remember different movies. Seeing New York and many cities in the United States, you always dream to visit here. So when you come here, all these tall buildings going up, the weather has been amazing.
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He was delighted to see the change in people’s perception of Formula 1. According to him, few people seemed enthusiastic about the sport when the Briton last visited America.
He added: “The first few years I came here, I didn’t think people really knew too much about F1. It’s great that he’s growing. Also, with the people coming down today and the road signs, I had positive energy today.
Hamilton supports Miami Heat
Much to the sadness of New Yorkers, Hamilton is a Miami Heat fan. When asked what his favorite American sport is, Hamilton was quick to bring up the NBA.
He added, “I don’t really know in the NFL. But Miami Heat, especially the last two years, watching the seven-game Finals has been amazing.
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The Mercedes driver was quick to admire people’s enthusiasm for sports and competitions in the United States. He added: “People are so enthusiastic about the sport, which is huge.”
Asked about the importance of fans in racing, Hamilton described the positive energy the fans exude. He added: “Just arrived and the energy you get from the fans when they show up in your shirt or your boxes, you can’t measure it.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 2, 2016