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Hamilton sets new F1 "mission"

Hamilton sets new F1 "mission"

F1 News

Hamilton sets new F1 "mission"

Hamilton sets new F1 "mission"

Lewis Hamilton believes F1 has a "good mission" to find the next American star for the sport but insisted the lack of talent from the United States "doesn't really surprise me".

F1 marked its expansion in the American market with the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last weekend, an event that saw a record US television audience tune in to watch Max Verstappen take his third victory of the season.

The sport will add a third event in the country next year with Las Vegas joining Miami and Texas on the calendar, yet there has not been an American F1 driver since Alexander Rossi raced five times for Manor Marussia at the end of 2015.

Asked if he was surprised that only two US drivers had made the grid since Michael Andretti left McLaren in 1993, Mercedes driver Hamilton replied: "It doesn't really surprise me: I think it's perhaps more a cultural thing, you know, here in the States, it's the NFL, it’s NBA. It's NASCAR, IndyCar.

"And I mean, in my 16 years of coming over here, it's been such a slow build, trying to bring awareness of the sport.

"Unfortunately, the Americans have to wake up at odd times in order to watch a grand prix. But I think this new step that's been taken, into bringing awareness, the Netflix show has really just brought in that amazing fan base, a sports fan base that we have, that there is here in the US.

"Maybe now's the time to start focusing on how we can include more people here because it's such a diverse country.

"I'm sure there are some amazing drivers here somewhere, as they've got so many great sporting talents. So, it'd be a good mission for us to find the next one."

Gasly hails F1's US "exposure"

Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive has been credited for assisting the boom of F1 fans in the US market, with record crowds attending the Circuit of the Americas event last season.

Sat alongside Hamilton during the pre-event press conference in Miami, Pierre Gasly said: "Coming here four or five years ago, I remember all the fans knew about NASCAR, not many knew about Formula 1.

"I think to see the evolution, the exposure we got as a sport over the last two, three years, it's been very impressive and now the fan base is just growing massively.

"And we can feel it, as drivers, when we see Austin last year: 450,000 people coming over the weekend was a very, very special and unique atmosphere. So now very excited to come back here more often with Miami, with Vegas.

"I’m sure with that exposure we're getting now, more and more people are going to get into the sport and yeah, hopefully we will see more of them in the future."

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