Here's What It's Like At The Only F1 Race In America

Formula 1 returned to America this weekend with the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of The Americas track. We left the comfort of our American football and ventured into the madness that is open-wheel racing.

Beyond just the race, which Sebastian Vettel won, there was much to take in.

There were numerous other races and activities. There were the dynamics of a 3.4-mile race track that seats 120,000 people seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And of course there were the fans.

On the next few pages we’ll take you on a tour of what it is like to experience a Formula 1 race in the United States.

Traffic was the first experience for many as the track is out in the middle of nowhere and is only accessible by a 2-lane road for more than 100,000 fans.

On Friday there was a heavy fog that delayed the start of the practice sessions and made it difficult to even see the track's landmark observation tower..

Here is a look at the tower later in the day.

There seemed to be an endless number of ways to watch the race including the main grandstand.

The main grandstand was directly across from the more exclusive Paddock Club which is situated above the garages and pit lane.

Here is a look at the crowd at the turn 1 grandstand and lawn.

At many spots along the course there were both enclosed and open-air boxes.

Those boxes were well-stocked with their own food and drinks.

And often got the fans very close to the action.

Thousands of fans preferred the hillsides for watching the race.

Members of the media were all given belt buckles, because Texas!

This is where the media watched the events with an entire wall of displays featuring video, statistics, and conditions.

On Saturday, during qualifying, it was clear in the race track lounge that we were still in football country.

The United States Grand Prix was not the only race of the weekend, as there was also this very cool race featuring classic F1 cars.

There was also a pair of races for amateur drivers that own a specific model of Ferrari.

In between practice, qualifying, and racing, the drivers also appeared at autograph sessions and learned how to rope cattle.

Fans showed their allegiance to their favourite drivers either through a country flag or through the logo of the team's major sponsor.

Many fans even dressed like their favourite drivers, including these two young fans.

Many of the first-timers were shocked at how loud F1 cars can be and noise reducers were a common sight.

Especially for the young fans.

There weren't nearly as many cowboy hats and boots as you might have guessed.

That damn horse is everywhere.

These American fans embraced the Mexican flavour of the festivities. With two Mexican drivers in the race, many fans drove up from south of the border.

Teams have a limited number of tires that can be used over the course of a weekend, including practice and qualifying. That means tires must be cleaned and maintained before being re-used.

This occurs in the paddock area between the garages on pit row and the team trailers. Fans sitting in the exclusive Paddock Club area can watch the entire scene.

The paddock area seemed like an endless wall of tires.

Fans waited to get a glimpse of their favourite driver walking from their trailer to their garage, such as former champion Fernando Alonso.

The media also swarmed for a chance to speak to the drivers.

Here is the crowd for 4-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel after his practice session.

Things were a little more formal for Vettel after he won the pole on Saturday.

While other drivers were corralled for the media.

The track features an incredible hill at the first turn that has a 13-story elevation.

This was definitely the most popular spot to watch the race.

Here is a look back to the start-finish line from the turn 1 hill.

The tower was a popular spot to watch the race and includes a see-through floor.

The track is so big that there are two bridges that allow fans to cross the track even during the race.

Many celebrities were on hand at the event including Antonio Banderas.

And racing legend Mario Andretti.

Merchandising was a huge aspect of the event with each team having their own stands to sell items to fans.

There was even a merchandising stand for former driver Michael Schumacher.

Even the beer was motorised and on wheels.

As were the doughnuts.

This seemed like a strange event for a dueling piano show, and this was typical of the crowd size the few times we walked by.

This also seemed like a weird place for beer pong tables.

Or even corn hole, which were eventually used by some after the race.

This is Texas, so a mechanical bull was not surprising.

There were also plenty of race-related activities for fans such as taking their own turn in an F1 car.

There was also a Fan Fest area in downtown Austin which included this gigantic truck that turned into a DJ booth.

Red Bull's presence was felt everywhere.

Only in Texas.

The beer garden was a hit among the fans and even featured a polka band.

Only in Texas would you find a menu item called 'The Notorious P.I.G.'

Did we mention the race was in Texas?

The event often felt like a car museum.

Everywhere you turned there was another expensive or classic car.

After the race, fans were allowed to walk the entire 3.4-mile track.

At the end of the weekend, Pitbull kept the party going with a post-race concert.

Now check out the best moments from the NFL this past weekend.

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