Germany's Sebastian Vettel, 25...posted the fastest times for both Friday practice runs...and on Saturday morning's test drive...on the Circuit of America's new track...in Austin.
Vettel is after his third title...in this his 100th Grand Prix event.
Legendary driver...German Michael Schumacher, 43...moved closer to retirement.
Next week's 2012 final in Sao Paulo will also be his final contest.
Schumacher has garnered 7 world championships...and 93 wins.
He retired once before.
The Austin area is in an uproar...as Formula One officially begins this weekend.
Rushed construction of a $400 million...3.4 mile circuit and stands...located on 1,100 acres on the city's outskirts...has barely been completed.
Now local residents are bracing themselves for the invasion of an estimated 100,000-300,000 fanatic racing fans...as Austin joins the glamorous 20 city world circuit...that includes Singapore, Monaco and Sao Paulo.
Hundreds of helicopter flights and private jets are expected.
Masaratis have already been spied on its streets.
Race coverage will expose Austin/Texas to an estimated world TV audience of 550 million.
Austin's hosting for this 'Circuit of the Americas' event is to last until 2021.
But...locals are already complaining about the cultural mismatch, the traffic...and, of course, the costs.
Austin is a city that embraces bikes, hybrid cars, high tech, education, music and a clean environment...and for decades has prided itself over its laid-back attitude.
Speed? Who cares! Really!
This newsblog's editor still drives a 2006 Toyota Corolla...that has logged a mere 43,000 miles...always hugging the slow right lane...while steadfastly refusing to drive faster than 60 MPH...to save gas...and lives...though sometimes trying some drivers' impatience.
The unresolved question...can Formula One change some Austinites' attitudes?