• United States Grand Prix

Andretti hails 'phenomenal' Circuit of the Americas

ESPN Staff
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Mario Andretti drove the circuit in his championship-winning Lotus 79 © Circuit of the Americas
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Mario Andretti has hailed the new Circuit of the Americas as "phenomenal" after officially opening the track.

The circuit's official opening ceremony was marked by Andretti cutting through a chequered flag banner before driving his championship-winning Lotus 79. Though he didn't drive the Renault R30 being run by Lotus due to technical problems, Andretti said the track proved to be even better than he had envisaged.

"It's everything I expected and more," Andretti said. "The track is phenomenal. It has all the features that you are looking for, giving you the opportunity to overtake, while negotiating some tighter corners. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into it."

Lotus reserve driver Jerome d'Ambrosio got some time in the R30 before an engine issue ended its running and he also had praise for the circuit.

"It's a really enjoyable layout with a couple of really good places for overtaking, some long, fast sweeping "S" corners and some really good high speed changes of direction like Becketts at Silverstone," d'Ambrosio said. "It was a shame I did not get more laps but I had enough time to get a really good feel of the circuit.

"It's an enjoyable track for a racing driver and also fantastic for the fans as the viewing areas are well placed and there should be plenty of action. The first corner is quite special and it will be interesting to see it when people are dicing for position in the race. Austin is also a superb city; it's really going to be something special."

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