Lewis Hamilton is very close to securing his fifth Formula One Drivers’ Championship and could even seal it at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 2.10pm ET; Qualifying on ESPN, Race live on ABC).
Hamilton posted his fourth consecutive victory in Japan two weeks ago, leading his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas home from pole position to move 67 points clear of Sebastian Vettel, his only remaining challenger, who could only finish sixth for Ferrari.
There are only four Grand Prix remaining and so if Hamilton is able to emerge victorious this weekend, he would win the championship if Vettel finishes any lower than second. Even if Vettel wins every race from hereon out, Hamilton would only have to accumulate 34 points to win the title: the equivalent of two fourths and a fifth.
He will, however, be keen to wrap things up this weekend at a circuit he has dominated since its addition to the calendar in 2012. Hamilton won the inaugural Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin for McLaren and has topped the podium for Mercedes in each of the last four years.
His strong record there is very much reflected in the leading American sportsbooks’ betting odds for this year’s event, although decent value can be found in backing Hamilton to secure both pole position and the race victory. That is something he has achieved in two of the last three races and at each of the last two United States Grands Prix. He can be fancied to do so once again this weekend and that has to be one of our concluding US GP predictions.
Red Bull came home third and fourth in Japan, with Max Verstappen finishing ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo to secure his third podium finish in the last five races. After a difficult start to the season, Verstappen has pulled ahead of Ricciardo in the championship and could still even trouble fourth-placed Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fifth for Ferrari in Japan. The gap between them stands at 23 points.
Verstappen produced one of the early standout performances of his Formula One career by finishing fourth in Austin for Toro Rosso in 2015. He qualified fourth and retired while in the running for a podium finish in 2016 and then finished fourth again at last year’s race. Ricciardo has also always gone well at the circuit, but Verstappen is currently in better form. With the new spec of the Renault engine performing well, he has a shot at a podium this weekend.
The top three positions in the Constructors’ Championship are now pretty much set, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull positioned in that order. There is still a fierce battle ongoing for fourth, with Renault just eight points clear of a Haas team who have made up ground on them in each of the last two races.
In Japan, Romain Grosjean came home eighth for Haas, sandwiched between the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez in seventh and Esteban Ocon in ninth. Carlos Sainz could only provide a solitary point for Renault in 10th.
Haas look the stronger team at this stage of the season. Renault began the campaign well and had opened up a 34-point advantage over Haas by the eighth race of the year. In the subsequent nine races, Haas have outscored them 57 to 30, and with Renault struggling for pace, Haas now look well-placed to grab that fourth position in the constructors’ standings.
Their other driver Kevin Magnussen is also involved in a three-way tussle with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Perez for seventh in the drivers’ championship – the best of the rest. The trio are tied on 53 points, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Perez’s teammate Ocon only three and four points adrift respectively.
The U.S. Grand Prix is a home race for the Haas team and all involved will be keen to put together a strong weekend. They probably had the necessary pace to secure a double points finish in each of the last two races and while it didn’t materialize, it could very well do so on home soil on Sunday.
Our Preview’s F1 U.S Grand Prix Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
- We would suggest a bet on Lewis Hamilton to be the fastest qualifier and the race winner but, at the time of writing this US Grand Prix preview, there are no odds yet for this option with the USA bookies.
- Bet on Max Verstappen to finish on the podium (top three finish) @ +225 with Bovada or 5Dimes.
- Back Haas to secure a double points finish (both team drivers to finish in top 10) @ +125 with Bovada.