Hamilton wins while Taylor Swift entertains the crowds
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lewis Hamilton got the victory he needed to keep his Formula One championship hopes alive, winning the U.S. Grand Prix for the fourth time in five years Sunday.
Hamilton cut Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg’s points lead to 26 with three races to go. Rosberg finished second ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to maintain a relatively comfortable cushion over Hamilton in the title chase.
Rosberg doesn’t have to win any of the final three races to get his first career Formula One championship, even if Hamilton wins all of them.Two more seconds and a third place will wrap it up.
But that also means Rosberg can’t afford a bad race if Hamilton is going to make a late charge.Hamilton started from pole position and got one of his best starts of the season to hold position for his seventh victory of the season.
Lewis Hamilton driving to victory in the US Grand Prix at the weekend. Picture/AP
Meanwhile With their red, white and blue tutus and Taylor Swift T-shirts, Rachel Emling and Mikala Crews were everything Formula One wanted at the U.S. Grand Prix: young fans who would travel across the country for a mix of pop stars and fast cars.
Tens of thousands packed into the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday night for Swift’s only concert of the year at Formula One’s only race on American soil.
Formula One’s goal in booking Swift was to hook a new generation of fans to their sport in America, long considered an untapped market for the global racing series.
Landing fans like Emling and Crews, NASCAR fans from Jacksonville, Florida, was exactly what they hoped for. They came for the concert and love the cars.
“We’ve been watching a little bit. It’s cool,” said 20-year-old Emling, who said they would return for Sunday’s race.
“We like racing.”
The race weekend scheduled her show after Saturday qualifying and before Sunday’s race. One group watching is Liberty Media, the American group that is taking over Formula One’s commercial entity and will be looking for ways to grow the sport.
Track president Bobby Epstein had predicted as many as 40,000 would be lured in by Swift.The concert was a big opportunity for the singer as well. Swift’s face was splashed all over publicity efforts for the race that promoters hoped would draw 250,000 this weekend just as Swift is rumored to be close to releasing a new album.
And she was not alone in the music lineup. Usher and The Roots were scheduled to play at the track after the race Sunday night.
But Saturday night belonged to Swift as she dazzled fans with set that ran about 90 minutes, full of hits from her previous albums. The only stumble was a cold she said got three days earlier.
Swift drew a mix of fans young and old, from race fans curious to thousands more who came solely to see her.After Saturday’s qualifying ended, young girls with their parents and packs of young women started filing into the stadium.
As for the Formula One drivers, some wanted to see Swift. Others planned to stay far away the night before they race.
“I’m going to try to. I know Taylor a little bit. She’s amazing. I’m a massive fan of hers,” said Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, the two-time defending Formula One champion.
But mot Romain Grosjean. The Haas F1 driver planned to get away from the track.“I like to have a very quiet dinner and a glass of red wine. I’m French,” Grosjean said.