Lewis Hamilton is very strongly placed to wrap up the 2019 Formula One Drivers’ Championship at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix (Race: 2.10pm ET Sunday).
Hamilton extended his advantage over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by taking a superb victory in Mexico last weekend, perfectly managing his tyres to make a long second stint work out and hold off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel for victory.
Bottas came home third at least to extend the championship battle into this weekend’s race in Austin. It is now simply a matter of time before Hamilton wraps up the sixth title that would make him the second most successful driver in the history of the sport. Even if Bottas wins all three of the remaining races, Hamilton would still just need four points to clinch it.
He can, though, be expected to do so in much more convincing and appropriate fashion this weekend. It was at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin that Hamilton claimed his third title in 2015. Since its addition to the calendar in 2012, he has always gone well there, winning that first race for McLaren and later claiming four more victories for Mercedes.
Ferrari have had the upper hand in qualifying since the summer break, taking all six of the pole positions. They won the first three races back, but it has been Mercedes who have been the slicker operators on race day over the last three Grand Prix, matching that with three wins of their own. Last weekend’s victory was Hamilton’s 10th of the season and he can be fancied to secure a decisive 11th triumph on Sunday.
Charles Leclerc came in fourth for Ferrari in Mexico, ahead of the Red Bulls of Alexander Albon and Max Verstappen, the latter of whom had an eventful weekend. Then came the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
Racing Point seem to be heading in the right direction. For Perez, his seventh-place position on home soil in Mexico was a fifth top-eight finish in the six races since the return from the summer break. Teammate Lance Stroll has struggled to match his performances: Perez has out-qualified him 16-0, and outscored him 43 to 21. They have still achieved a pair of double points finishes in that time.
This weekend’s race may very well give them the opportunity to grab another. The team always had good pace at the Circuit of the Americas under their previous guise of Force India. They have had at least one points scorer there in each of the last four seasons, have got both cars into the top 10 in qualifying in three of the last four, and took a double points finish in 2017.
If Stroll can produce one of his better weekends, Racing Point have a decent chance of getting both of their cars in the points on Sunday.
Things didn’t work out for McLaren on race day in Mexico. They locked out the fourth row of the grid and made a good start on their soft tyres. Lando Norris dropped back following a botched pitstop and then Carlos Sainz was unable to get the hard tyres to work after his first pit spot, necessitating a further switch to mediums that left him with too much ground to make up.
McLaren do, though, now comfortably seem to have the fourth quickest car in F1. Sainz has been able to convert that into seven top-six finishes. Whenever one or more of the drivers from the top three teams has encountered difficulties, he has been there ready to profit.
Sainz has finished well at Austin in each of his four United States Grand Prix, coming home seventh and sixth for Toro Rosso and following that with two sevenths for Renault over the last couple of years. He clearly gets on well with a circuit he has described as having much more character than many of the other newer tracks on the calendar. He has a solid chance of taking another top-six finish on Sunday.
Our Betting Preview’s F1 US Grand Prix Predictions & Picks Verdict
- Back Lewis Hamilton to win the race @ best odds of +195 (almost 2/1) with Bookmaker.
- Bet on Racing Point to secure a double-points finish (both team drivers to finish in the top 10) @ +350 (7/2) with Bovada or Intertops.
- Back Carlos Sainz to secure a top-six finish @ +150 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.