At the height of Saturday’s weather delays, which led to the postponement of qualifying, Formula One group CEO Bernie Ecclestone insisted that the pit lane be opened so that fans could get closer to their heroes, who had done their best to entertain them with various antics.
Red Bull had their two dancing Dans - a surprisingly well-coordinated ballroom routine from Messrs Ricciardo and Kvyat; there were driver swaps of Jos Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Snr for their sons down at Toro Rosso, where the boys themselves had a game of Red Bull skittles; Lewis Hamilton went on to the pit wall to wave to the fans; Sauber launched a towing boat; and Niki Lauda and Nico Rosberg enjoyed an impromptu kick around.
There were up-close driver autograph sessions in the Austin360 Amphitheater, while a never-before-seen collection of Ayrton Senna memorabilia, comprising a unique compilation of items used by Ayrton Senna himself and the cars he competed in, was on exhibit throughout at the Circuit of The America’s Downtown Paddock located at 304 E. Cesar Chavez Street.
The collection has been gathered over a period of 20 years by private collectors Howard Jacobs and Darren Jack who partnered to form their ‘Hall of Fame Collection,’ and includes helmets, driving suits, gloves, steering wheels, and various Formula One car parts.
In the paddock, actors Matt Le Blanc and Anthony Edwards joined racers Mika Hakkinen, Gil de Ferran, Juan Pablo Montoya and Conor Daly.
In downtown Austin on Thursday night, NBC’s F1 commentator Will Buxton held his annual ‘Buxton’s Big Bash’ at the Rattle Inn. This year it raised $25,000, $15,000 going to the regular Meals on Wheels campaign, and $10,000 to the fund that supports the daughters of recently deceased ex-F1 racer Justin Wilson.
Watch: Fun and games in the Austin pit lane
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