W if a driver can win the world title, then it's a special racing weekend not only for the driver, but also for us reporters. We consider it our duty to celebrate the new world champion with dignity. The standard program includes a current portrait and a large gallery with the most important stations of the season on the way to the title
If, as in the case of Hamilton, it becomes apparent early on who will finish first in the drivers' championship achieves, then the stress factor is limited with us. The party program can be prepared accordingly and only needs to be adjusted slightly when the time comes. But unfortunately that is not always the case.
I still remember the situation two years ago when we had to adjust to two alternatives in Abu Dhabi - Rosberg or Hamilton as world champions. And the 2010 final in Abu Dhabi burned itself particularly firmly into my mind. Because four drivers still had a chance of winning the title in the last race of the season, we found ourselves in a bind. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we weren't able to cover all eventualities.
So in the end I only prepared stories for Fernando Alonso or Mark Webber as world champions - the two drivers with the most points before the last race. But no sooner had Alonso returned to the track after his pit stop behind Vitaly Petrov, when colleague Schmidt mumbled next to me: “I think the Vettel is doing this today.” And then it started to get really hectic.
Hamilton takes care for calm in the world championship fight
In Austin the display was fortunately a little more relaxed. The time difference makes our work even easier. All the stories that we research in the paddock during the day are not read by the vast majority of our users until the next morning. Whether hot news or new pictures appear on the site a few minutes earlier or later does not matter if half of Germany is still asleep.
Nevertheless, the excitement was brief on Thursday. Ferrari had a new underbody with it. The idea with the eye-catching vertical fins in front of the rear wheels had never been seen in this form. Our photographer spotted the upgrade when the car was being assembled in the garage. Now I just couldn't miss the moment when the red racer is pushed out for FIA approval.
Unfortunately, the weather in Texas didn't really want to play this year. Already on Thursday it was trickling every now and then. In addition, an ice-cold wind blew across the prairie. The usual Texas feeling somehow didn't want to arise. Instead, I kept hiding in the press room and the team pavilions to get some warmth.
Stress with the pit lane bouncer
I experienced an embarrassing moment on Friday. During the morning walk to the pit lane, my path was suddenly blocked by a security guard. At first I didn't understand why I was denied access and tried to talk to the doorman, annoyed. Only when I got back to the media center did I see on the screens that a frame race was just starting.
Because only six cars were taking part in the F3 Americas Championship, I simply failed to hear that the There was a slope and access to the pit lane was therefore prohibited. Of course, I immediately apologized to the security guard and he always opened the gate for me with a particularly wide grin.
The kick-off time of the is always a bit annoying in Austin Qualifying. In order to attract the visitors of Bruno Mars' evening concert to the track a little earlier, the organizers moved the start of the final training two hours back to 4 p.m. With a normal start at 2 p.m. it came inthe early years of the Texas races always caused chaos in the parking lots. Many spectators only set out for the concert and got into the enclosure with F1 fans who wanted to go home quickly after qualifying.
For us, the delayed start means above all stress with dinner. This time we made it to our regular pizzeria just before midnight before the kitchen closed. In general, the US Grand Prix is one of the culinary highlights of the calendar for me. Smoky brisket from the smoker, barbecue ribs falling off the bone, juicy grilled burgers or Tex-Mex specialties are nowhere as tasty as in Austin.
Raikkonen postpones World Cup party
On Sunday, the coronation of the new world champion was actually on the program. Vettel started the race from 5th place after a stupid mistake under red flags in the first practice session. And when the Ferrari spun on the starting lap and fell to the end of the field, I was about to press the button to put the prepared Hamilton champion stories online.
The Mercedes- The pilot actually only had to swing the thing home from pole position. But already in the first few meters, the reigning title holder lost a position to Raikkonen. The strategy and increased tire wear cost another position against Verstappen. And with the failure of Ricciardo, Hamilton finished just one place ahead of Vettel. That wasn't enough to start the celebrations. The party had to be postponed to Mexico for a week.
For we still got stressful. The petrol disqualifications for Magnussen and Ocon delayed the program. And because of the time difference, all texts and tables had to be ready for the printed edition of auto motor und sport on Sunday evening at 11 p.m. Our weekly newspaper Motorsport Aktuell needed all of the material on Monday afternoon German time. And of course the internet also asked for fresh stories for Monday morning.
Everything had to be finished before going to sleep. After a short stopover in oneApplebees Restaurant, work in the hotel room continued until 3:30 in the morning. There was only some time to relax on Monday. Bild colleague Helmut Uhl got us tickets for the basketball game in Dallas. As a big Nowitzki fan, I would have liked to see the Würzburger play again shortly before he retired. Unfortunately, however, he was struggling with an Achilles tendon injury and dropped out. The NBA game was still a great experience.
Incidentally, colleague Schmidt didn't come to the arena with us. He thinks basketball is a 'stupid' sport. “Who watches a game where every team scores 100 points?” He keeps asking me when it comes to basketball. You can't understand that at all. I always tell him that people also watch 200 oval laps at the Indy500 race, which he is known to be a big fan of.
The onward flight to Mexico did not leave Houston until Wednesday morning. On the drive back to south Texas we had enough time to discuss the subject. And of course the texts for the Hamilton celebration had to be adjusted again. After all, the sun finally showed up over Texas when we said goodbye.