TODAY | November 15, 2013
>>> back at 8:52, it's the second most watched sport in the entire world but chances are you've never seen it in person. the only formula one grand prix in america kicks off in austin , texas and gabe gutierrez is there. good morning.
>> reporter: good morning, we're here at the circuit of the americas here in austin , texas . we're here at pit stop practice. it takes two to three seconds to get these cars up to speed. it's precise and painstaking work. when you talk about racing in the united states most people talk about nascar but formula one is trying to build on that one lap at a time and i was lucky enough to get a glimpse of life in the fast lane .
>> drivers from all over the world and it's rocket ships that are these cars that operate on the ground.
>> reporter: in a sport that combines speed, science, and skill, success is often an art. this weekend, formula one is reving up expected to draw hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world to austin , texas .
>> there is no other feeling like it.
>> reporter: last year's winner lewis hamilton is back.
>> it's real real fast. the technology involved in what we have is far and beyond a lot of the different sports that are around.
>> reporter: hamilton may not be a household name in the states but in europe he's racing royalty. he started driving go-carts at 8 and two decades later he earns more than $20 million a year.
>> will you take me out on the track?
>> reporter: all i needed was the ride and the gear.
>> what are you wearing, man?
>> that's not good?
>> we're just going in the road car.
>> oh, man.
>> let's do it. no suit necessary to enjoy this car.
>> so i can turn this thing on? nice.
>> shift again. go here.
>> yeah. you get a nice flow.
>> so basically it's like going over the curve.
>> over the curve?
>> reporter: in a real f one car the experience is so intense hamilton says he'll sweat off nine pounds during a single race.
>> how much of the sport is strategy?
>> huge amount.
>> wow, that's a huge crash.
>> reporter: and with terrifying crashes in other motor sports , safety is also a concern.
>> they've implemented a number of standards over the years, things with fencing, driver safety aids, standardized not just catch fencing but crash barriers.
>> now break as hard as you can.
>> reporter: after one lap i clearly needed help.
>> so are you going to show me how it's done?
>> this is going to be fun isn't it? oh, boy. there we go. now this is fun.
>> this is fun.
>> you, my friend, have the best job in the world.
>> reporter: it truly is an amazing job. it's not just about the driver. the technology here at formula one is also very impressive. check out this camera that takes the temperature of the tires and if you walk with me, you can see this this is a team effort. a team of engineers --
>> gabe, thanks so much. catch formula one racing sunday at 2:00 eastern on nbc.