Lewis Hamilton won from third place on the grid in Mexico after beating his last remaining title challenger, Valtteri Bottas, who must win in Austin to keep his extremely slim hopes of a first Driver’s Championship alive.
The Mercedes duo have already contributed to clinching the teams’ sixth consecutive Constructors’ Championship and with Hamilton almost certain to leave the US GP as champion, their double success is nearly complete.
Whilst Ferrari have dramatically improved in the second half of the season, they have still faltered in race situations with their rivals Mercedes getting the better of them, and Mattia Binotto’s team will be hoping to get back on top in the United States.
Ahead of this weekend, Binotto said, “We have started the last six races from pole position but have only gone on to win three of them and we certainly want to do better than that. We are encouraged by the fact that we now have a package that allows us to fight for wins on most tracks.”
Charles Leclerc now rests just six-points above his teammate Sebastian Vettel after the German’s resurgence in recent weeks and their rivalry could heighten as the season approaches it’s climax.
The ongoing battle for sixth place in the championship has arguably been more exciting than the fight out front as Carlos Sainz’ no points finish has allowed Pierre Gasly to leapfrog the Spaniard, with Alexander Albon hot on the heels of the pair now just three-points off sixth.
The Circuit of The Americas is one of Formula 1’s newest circuits on the calendar and it only hosted its first Grand Prix in 2012.
There are 56-laps across a race distance of 308.405km and the track is a known favourite of the drivers. Though, the high-speed opening sector is known to be physically demanding, especially for first-time drivers of the track.
The first corner almost guarantees overtaking action, especially on the first lap as the uphill surge that transitions into a left-hander can leave masses of space for the late-breakers to dive up the inside.
The lap record is held by Hamilton in the Mercedes last year at 1.37.392, a time that could be beaten throughout this weekend’s action.
What happened last year?
The 2018 US GP was set up for Hamilton to be crowned five-time World Champion, but thanks to Kimi Raikkonen, that did not materialise.
The Finn whose victory prior to the US GP was back in Australia 2013, was able to deny Hamilton for one more week as he claimed his 21st and most recent Grand Prix victory.
Max Verstappen had one of his greatest races as he put a poor qualifying behind him to go from 18th on the grid to second, just ahead of Hamilton and Vettel, with the Ferrari driver recovering to fourth a first-lap spin with Daniel Ricciardo – one of many incidents in the closing stages of the 2018 season which contributed to losing out of his fifth title.
When can I watch it?
Free practice 1: 16:00 – 17:30
Free practice 2: 20:00 – 21:30
Free practice 3: 18:00 – 19:00
Qualifying: 21:00 – 22:00
All times GMT.