Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.

Some of Formula One’s leading drivers have praised the layout of the Circuit of the Americas, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso describing the track as “spectacular”.

The drivers will get their first taste of track action in Friday’s free practice sessions, but even exploratory laps on foot or by bicycle today left the drivers predicting a tough weekend ahead.

“The track seems spectacular – very, very nice,” said Alonso. “It will be challenging for us drivers and for the engineers as well. I think it will be a good show for everybody and hopefully some good overtaking as well, good opportunities around the track. I think It can be a very good weekend.”

HRT driver Pedro de la Rosa echoed Alonso’s statements about the challenges the teams are likely to face at the track.

“I’ve just been doing a lap, just walking around. and it looks fantastic,” he said. “It looks a very difficult track, with very big gradient changes and it looks very challenging because in most of the corners the apexes are blind. Let’s see tomorrow, but it’s one of those tracks that you can say it’s going to be difficult and challenging.”

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, admitted he had taken longer than usual to learn the track layout in simulation work.

“It’s quite an interesting track,” he said. “It’s quite difficult to learn initially but it looks fantastic to drive. I really started to enjoy it once I got used to it, which took perhaps a little bit longer than some of the other circuits to learn but it’s going to be very interesting this weekend.”

However, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen typically kept his powder dry, admitting that he had only seen a video of the team’s test driver Jérôme D’Ambrosio doing a demo run at the circuit in a Renault R30 recently.

“I’ve only seen the video from when they did the demo run here, but I haven’t seen the circuit itself. I will see tomorrow how it goes,” he said.

Asked whether he would walk the track for pointers on how to approach the weekend, Raikkonen shrugged: “I don’t know yet. I’ll have to see. Well, I mean, maybe if I found a golf cart or something.”