7 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: Perez, Gutierrez anticipate local support
Mexicans Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez are looking forward to support from their homeland when the US Grand Prix kicks off next weekend.
While F1's driver and constructor championships may already have been decided heading into the penultimate round of the season at Austin's magnificent Circuit of the Americas, there is plenty left for Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the grid to fight for.
While the German chases his eighth consecutive win – and twelfth in all from 2013 – there are two drivers for whom next weekend's race means even more than most.
McLaren's Sergio Pérez and Sauber rookie Esteban Gutiérrez may not be Texans, but are anticipating a lot of 'local' support in one of the largest states in the union. While a Mexican Grand Prix is provisionally pencilled in on next year's F1 calendar, it is by no means confirmed, so the race weekend in Austin acts as a de facto home race for both drivers.
With its close location to their home country and the large Mexican contingent living and working in and around Austin, last year's inaugural race saw a huge turn-out of fans bedecked in red, white and green to support Pérez, who was at that time driving for Sauber.
“It was great to see so many Mexican fans and receive so much support last year, it really was one of the most special weekends of my career,” he reminisces, “It is already a track I look forward to more than others as it so special to myself and the people of Mexico. I was so impressed with the amount of Mexicans there, especially when you consider it is not an actual Mexican race and they had to spend so much money to get there.”
This year, Perez is joined by the impressive rookie, Esteban Gutiérrez, his replacement at Sauber, which will provide the Mexican fan-base with even more reason to take over the Circuit of The Americas. Coming to the end of his first season in F1, Gutiérrez is especially excited to race in Austin, having been present but not part of last year's grand prix.
“Because now there are two Mexican F1 drivers, we can expect to have a lot of Mexican supporters again,” the youngster added, “I'm from Monterrey, which is quite close to Austin, about one and a half to two hours away, so my family and also a lot of my friends will come to the event.”
Aside from welcoming the expected Mexican support, both drivers are highly positive about the track, considering it a great addition to the F1 season. While Pérez acknowledges he endured a tough time at last year's race– “I had problems with the brakes, came close to retiring and ended up finishing eleventh” - he is full of praise for the track itself, proclaiming the circuit's layout to be “really nice, it is very popular among all the drivers and is very good to drive - especially for overtaking!”.
Gutiérrez is equally effusive, declaring it “a very complex layout, particularly the first sector, which is really quite interesting”.
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