2007 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT Hamilton bonds quickly with USGP fans; Lloyd, Hamilton reunite at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 19, 2007 -- Lewis Hamilton and the fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a good rapport right from...
2007 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX POSTSCRIPT
Hamilton bonds quickly with USGP fans; Lloyd, Hamilton reunite at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, June 19, 2007 -- Lewis Hamilton and the fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a good rapport right from the time he turned his first laps in practice June 15. Hamilton waved to the cheering fans on his cool-down laps and from the front of the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes pit garage all weekend.
The crowd at the Brickyard on Race Day, June 17, gave the rookie a rousing reception when he won the United States Grand Prix.
"It was great to see that there was a big crowd here," Hamilton said, "and they're all very, very supportive; a lot of British flags out there, which is fantastic for me. I get a lot of energy from that."
Racer reunion: Alex Lloyd finished second in both the Liberty Challenge races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the United States Grand Prix weekend. Leaving the podium after celebrating his second place in the race June 17, Lloyd found his good friend and fellow Englishman Lewis Hamilton waiting to congratulate him.
"I haven't seen (Lewis) since his surprise 21st birthday, which was some time ago," Lloyd said. "My family got to see his dad during yesterday's race, but I hadn't had a chance to catch up with him.
"A lot of people doubted that he could be so good, so fast. But this is what he's been groomed for. I knew that he would have a lot of success. He's had a lot of success since I've seen him, so I had a lot to congratulate him about."
The pair became friends when they raced karts. In 2003, they competed in the Formula Renault UK championship where Hamilton beat Lloyd for the title.
Friends win at Indianapolis: Lewis Hamilton has long been a fan of the Indianapolis 500, and he was thrilled when his friend and fellow British driver Dario Franchitti won the 91st edition of the "500." Three weeks later, Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's F1 track.
"Just to win any race in Formula One is obviously extremely satisfying," Hamilton said. "But obviously I've watched the Indy 500 many times, and to see Dario finally win, I was extremely happy for him because I know him quite well.
"To really continue that (winning at Indianapolis) and to have both Brits doing well, I think it's great for the country, and I'm extremely proud."
Rookie record: Lewis Hamilton's victory in the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway extended his amazing rookie record to seven consecutive top-three finishes in his first seven Grand Prix races.
With a third place in the season opener followed by four second places and then wins in Montreal and Indianapolis, Hamilton never has finished a Grand Prix lower than he qualified.
Busy schedule: The F1 teams are in the middle of a hectic time of the season with four races, plus testing, in five weeks.
Following the North American F1 double-header with the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10 and the United States Grand Prix on June 17, the teams returned to Europe, where they are testing this week either in Silverstone, England, or Jerez, Spain.
Next on the schedule are the French Grand Prix on July 1 and the British Grand Prix on July 8.
Sato penalized: Super Aguri Honda driver Takuma Sato will be penalized 10 starting places in the upcoming French Grand Prix for a rules infraction at the United States Grand Prix.
Race officials said Sato passed another car in a yellow-flag zone during the race. Normally this results in a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, but Sato spun out of the race before he could serve the penalty. So he will be penalized at the next race.
Schumacher's role: Five-time United States Grand Prix winner and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher may not be racing any more, but he is still closely involved with his Ferrari team.
"Michael is part of our team," said Ferrari's sporting director, Stefano Domenicali. "You have seen sometimes that he is at the races, but that is not the main role and the main activity that he has.
"He's working with us, and mainly with us and with our engineers in order to give his advice, his contribution to the way that he knows how to work around the car. This is something connected to F1, but he has also an important role on the other side of the factory on the road cars. His experience is very important in tuning up the cars for our customers."
Schumacher did not attend this year's United States Grand Prix, but he was at the Canadian Grand Prix a week earlier.
Champions visit: Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda, both three-time World Champions, attended the United States Grand Prix. Between them, they earned a total of 48 Grand Prix victories, including two wins each in the United States Grand Prix.
Rap star rapture: Pharrell Williams, a Grammy Award-winning rap star, attended the United States Grand Prix.
"It's an incredible thrill to see these cars go like they do," he said of the exotic F1 machines. "When they go past, they hum, they sound like tiger cubs."
Williams also was impressed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"This is incredible," he said. "It's like being in the Colosseum in Rome."
This was the first time Williams watched Lewis Hamilton race in person, but Williams said he is a huge supporters of British star Hamilton.