Lewis Hamilton heads to Austin for the United States Grand Prix needing just four points to secure his sixth Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton notched a shock victory at the Mexico Grand Prix last weekend, eking more out of the hard compound tyre than most expected.
The dominant Brit needed a 14-point advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas to sew up the title in Mexico City for a third straight season, but Bottas’ third-placed finish delayed Hamilton’s celebrations for seven days.
With less tyre degradation than expected, the Mexican Grand Prix was a race that promised much, but ultimately didn’t quite live up to the thriller it appeared to be developing into.
Mercedes arrived in Mexico lacking confidence – they will be feeling much more positive about this weekend. Let’s take a look back at a brief history of the American Grand Prix…
United States Grand Prix: Brief History
The first United States Grand Prix was hosted at Sebring in 1959 and won by New Zealander Bruce McLaren for Cooper-Climax. The 1960 edition of the race was held at Riverside, a circuit in California that opened in 1957.
Stirling Moss won his first and only United States Grand Prix at Riverside in 1960 – the following year, the event moved to Watkins Glen where it remained until 1980.
It’s worth noting that there have been several other races in the USA alongside the United States Grand Prix, including the United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach in the 1970s.
When Formula One left Watkins Glen after Alan Jones’ win in 1980, the United States Grand Prix was absent from the calendar until 1989.
Three races were held in Phoenix, the first won by Alain Prost and the next two by Ayrton Senna. The heat in Phoenix made for some testing conditions. Rumours of a race on the streets of Manhattan or the Las Vegas strip popped up in the early 1990s, but neither came to fruition.
Following Senna’s win in 1991, there wasn’t another Grand Prix in the US until 2000. Indianapolis hosted an annual race between 2000 and 2007 with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominating – Schumacher won five of the races, Ferrari won six in total.
Bernie Ecclestone vowed never to return to Indianapolis in 2009 and plans for a United States Grand Prix were nowhere to be seen.
Talk of a Grand Prix in New York resurfaced, of course, but never really went anywhere. In May 2010, a 10-year contract was agreed for Austin to host the United States Grand Prix.
United States Grand Prix: Circuit of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas was the first race track in the United States to be built primarily for Formula One.
Hermann Tilke, who designed several Formula One circuits and helped with the redesign of the Hockenheimring, assisted Tavo Hellmund and Kevin Schwantz with the plans.
At just under three and a half miles long, Circuit of the Americas is one of the longer laps on the calendar. Lewis Hamilton holds the track record at 1:37:392.
Corners are open, allowing drivers to take different racing lines. Overtaking is possible around the lap – the long straight between turn 11 and turn 12 gives drivers a great DRS opportunity.
It’s a track that Mercedes have enjoyed over the last few years. With 20 corners per lap, the high-downforce Silver Arrows have had an advantage over the Ferraris, but that could be different this time round.
Ferrari’s raw power will be noticeable on the two straights and we’ve seen them improve through the corners in recent races.
United States Grand Prix: Recent Winners
2018 – Kimi Raikkonen
2017 – Lewis Hamilton
2016 – Lewis Hamilton
2015 – Lewis Hamilton
2014 – Lewis Hamilton
United States Grand Prix: Most Wins
6 – Lewis Hamilton
5 – Michael Schumacher
3 – Graham Hill, Jim Clark
2 – James Hunt, Jackie Stewart, Ayrton Senna, Carlos Reutemann
United States Grand Prix: F1 Betting Tips
If we were ranking Hamilton’s best Grand Prix wins, his display in Mexico would be near the top.
The complaints over the radio are often a warning for his rivals, and it proved that way again last weekend. Hamilton managed his tyres beautifully as the Mercedes again outdid the Ferraris despite having a slower car for much of the weekend.
Strategic misjudgements have cost Ferrari throughout the second half of the season. Tension between Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel has waned slightly since the awkward situation in Sochi, but decision making hasn’t been great.
Both drivers have made errors and failed to convert Saturday pace into race victories. Leclerc is marginally favoured of the two at 5/2 to win this Sunday in 888sport’s F1 betting.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for Max Verstappen. Some of it has been misfortune, some has been of his own doing. The Dutchman has been outscored by Alex Albon since the youngster was promoted from Toro Rosso.
Verstappen held off Hamilton brilliantly to finish second at COTA last season – he’s 4/1 to win the race this year.