Lewis Hamilton likens US GP driver entrance announcements by Michael Buffer
The US Grand Prix was nothing less of a spectacle from a showbiz point of view, with the Liberty Media hiring famed announcer Michael Buffer for driver entrance.
Usually, the drivers would take the grid as per their wish before the host country's national anthem would play, but in Austin, Buffer announced their names for a special entry.
The social media was divided in their opinions on the new style in Formula 1, but Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was all for the entertainment the fans would get through separate 'gladiator-like' entrances.
"I think it was amazing," said Hamilton. "There was a little bit of waiting in the hallway, waiting for everyone to go out. That part felt a little bit long but I think they just made the SuperBowl here, they made the race.
"I think the entertainment was the best we’ve seen, with the drum line, the whole band. I think the whole set-up, it was great to see something different. For many many years, the whole ten years, it’s been the same old boring thing on the grid except for now you have the national anthem but not really too exciting.
"I think this one was just much more like an NFL game which is exciting, with the fireworks and everything so I think they did a really great job and I think even from this they will learn and grow from that but we also had such a great turnout today.
"Not quite sure there’s such a great reception here in Austin but the fans, that big grandstand and up into Turn 1, they really make the atmosphere. When I’m driving down that straight, I can see them.
"Also, when you come down to Turn 12, massive grandstand, that makes you feel like you’re in the most exciting arena. Then they let them all out on the track… immediately after this I’m going to see everyone," he said.
While Sebastian Vettel didn't really gelled into it being not a huge 'show' kind of a person, surprisingly, Kimi Raikkonen felt it was a good addition and they could do it more often if done the 'right' way.
"I think for the people it might be nice if they like it and obviously it’s a nice idea," said Vettel. "For me, I don’t really care to be honest. I like jumping in the car and racing. I’m not a big showman."
Raikkonen added: "I really don’t mind it as long as it’s done at the right time in the right place but it doesn’t make everything a big hassle because usually we have to run around quite a bit on Sunday.
"It’s far from ideal but I don’t mind these things as long as they are done well and actually if it works out it’s nice. I think it’s something different but everybody knows my option, what I would take."
When asked if it would work in Hockenheim next year in the German Grand Prix, Vettel added that it will take more than this to please the Germans.
On a personal note, I think, it was a good trial from the the FOM to add to the spectacle for the fans. In a sport, where drivers are meant to be the heroes - a special entrance like that, could only make them see like one.
Of course, I don't think, it is possible at every grand prix and as Raikkonen alluded, it is more of an American thing, but as I read on social media, every host could add its own flavour to showcase its culture - which is one of the reasons, the countries want to host a F1 race.
For the first time, I think, it went fine but it was longer as Hamilton said. Some drivers did take it on well, while others had their normal entrance - maybe down the line if this becomes more common, the drivers will have their own style when entering.
If concentration is a hindrance here, the announcement could be done during the driver's parade when they are relatively relaxed than just before the national anthem. This could help with the timing, as Raikkonen mentioned.
For the fans, who may not have liked it, I'll agree with Hamilton that the sport is trying something different and we are getting to see the drivers in a different light, which sometimes lacks in F1.
We have to remember, this is not affecting the races, whatsoever - anything what happens outside racing shouldn't be a huge talking point. In fact, this should be taken similar to drivers' parade, which happens for the fans entertainment, at the end of the day.