United States Grand Prix 2019 Preview
Lewis Hamilton’s task is simple: finish eighth or higher and the World Championship title is his. The British driver has a 74-point lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas but it is now a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Hamilton will claim his sixth world title triumph. You won’t find many Formula One followers claiming that the Mercedes star doesn’t deserve it either…
2019 has been Hamilton’s year. With 10 Grand Prix victories this campaign, he has been the dominant force in Formula One – the rest of the field have managed a total of eight race wins combined. With Hamilton edging closer to Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven world titles, you have to wonder… could the Mercedes driver move level with the Ferrari legend in 2020?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet though – Hamilton still has a job to do in the final three races of the campaign. Although he doesn’t need to top the podium, Hamilton will want to secure Grand Prix victory number 84 this weekend. You’ll struggle to find a man in sport with a greater drive and desire to succeed and that hunger has helped mould the British driver into the star he is today.
According to the latest Betway odds, Hamilton is a 15/8 shot to emerge victorious at the Circuit of Americas this weekend. Fortunately for him, he has an excellent record at the track and plenty of punters will be backing the Mercedes man to claim victory on Sunday. Hamilton has won five of the seven Grand Prix events since the United States race returned to Formula One back in 2012.
A win for Valtteri Bottas probably won’t mean much to the Finnish driver at this stage of the campaign but he can at least take the World Championship fight to the next race weekend if Hamilton finishes ninth or lower. Bottas has been a faithful servant to Mercedes over the years but he has played second fiddle to Hamilton – though Bottas has managed to fend off competition for second spot in the title race.
Simply put, Bottas just hasn’t been on Hamilton’s level during his time at Mercedes. In fact, Hamilton has been a class above the rest of the sport. Bottas has snagged three Grand Prix wins in 2019 though and a fourth will make this his most successful season in terms of race wins. He was outstanding when winning at Suzuka earlier this month and Bottas could top the podium once again if emulates that performance.
With so much at stake, expect Bottas to push himself to his limits this weekend. The 9/1 on offer with Betfred for Bottas to emerge victorious on Sunday is a price worth considering – particularly as Mercedes are still some way clear of their rivals. In some ways, you’d have to say that Bottas deserves another Grand Prix win this year. Hopefully it can go some way to softening the blow of missing out on the World Championship…
New kid on the block Charles Leclerc is ‘next best’ behind Hamilton in the United States Grand Prix odds. Currently priced at 5/2 with Unibet, Leclerc has exceeded all expectations since joining Ferrari and he looks destined to challenge for the world title at some point in the near future. Watch this space, Leclerc could be Hamilton’s closest rival for the crown in 2020 and beyond.
Leclerc enjoyed back-to-back Grand Prix triumphs at Belgium and Italy before finishing a gallant second in Singapore. At that time, Formula One fans were quietly hoping for Leclerc to put a run of form together to challenge Hamilton’s dominance at the top but Mercedes got back to winning ways almost immediately. Write Leclerc off at your peril though, he is more than capable of bouncing back in Austin, Texas.
At the other end of the Ferrari spectrum, we have Sebastian Vettel. It has been a frustrating year for Vettel but there is still everything to play for in the Ferrari garage – the German sits just six points behind Leclerc with three races remaining. Vettel has just one Grand Prix win to his name in 2019 but a triumph at the United States race could be enough to cement his status as Ferrari’s top driver ahead of 2020.
At the time of writing, Vettel is priced at 7/2 to claim victory with 888sport. The four-time world champion won this race back in 2013 during his Red Bull Racing days and he will have fond memories from that day. Can he use those memories as the catalyst to go on and win the 2019 race? Only time will tell. Vettel’s primary aim now is to finish ahead of Leclerc in all three Grand Prix events this year.
If you’re looking at the fastest lap markets, Max Verstappen is always worth a punt. The Red Bull driver is one of the sport’s biggest characters and he is one of the riskier drivers on the circuit. Capable of winning one week and then finishing down the field the next, Verstappen can be inconsistent but he is a high risk, high reward play. With some bookmakers offering 4/1 on the young Dutchman, Verstappen is well worth considering.
The long term future of the United States Grand Prix is up in the air but nobody is talking about that right now. If everything goes to plan, Hamilton will have world title number six by Monday morning and British racing fans will be eagerly anticipating Sunday’s race. Over at Ferrari, we have an inter-team battle on our hands that will help to keep neutrals interested throughout.
The odds for Hamilton winning are a tad short, especially as he may be tempted to settle for a podium berth. Instead, backing Leclerc to emerge victorious could be the way to go. On the face of it, the Circuit of Americas track should suit the Ferrari down to the ground and we could see the Italian giants dominate this weekend.
RACE WINNER: Charles Leclerc (5/2 with Unibet)
FASTEST LAP: Max Verstappen (4/1 with Betfred)
About United States GP
The first United States Grand Prix in the Formula One era took place in 1958, with American Chuck Daigh giving the home crowd a famous success. Since then, the United States Grand Prix has been on and off the F1 calendar but it has been an ever-present since returning to the sport in 2012.
Incredibly, 10 different circuits have hosted the United States Grand Prix over the years. The current track, the Circuit of Americas, is located in Austin, Texas and motorsport fans from all over the world will be eagerly anticipating this year’s race.
The inaugural United States Grand Prix was held at Riverside International Raceway and saw over 50 drivers compete for glory. The race has changed somewhat since those days but the US Grand Prix remains one of the most popular motorsport events in North America.
Having made a return to Formula One in 2012, the United States Grand Prix has been a key race on the calendar. This weekend, Lewis Hamilton needs to outscore Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by four points to clinch the 2019 Formula One World Championship.
Luckily for Hamilton, he has an excellent record in the United States Grand Prix. In fact, he is the most decorated driver in the history of this race with six victories – the Mercedes man had won this race four years in a row before Kimi Raikkonen’s success in 2018.
Of the current drivers, Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel have one win to their name. Vettel was successful in 2013 but Hamilton has been the standout name at Austin, claiming victory in five of the seven Grand Prix races at the Circuit of Americas.
With that in mind, plenty of punters will be backing Hamilton to top the podium in 2019 – it would be the perfect way to clinch his sixth world title. William Hill users can back Hamilton at 15/8 to prevail and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the British driver celebrating a race win and the championship.
Ferrari are the most successful team in United States Grand Prix history though and Charles Leclerc and Vettel will both fancy their chances of an upset. The latter has won his race once before but Leclerc has been Ferrari’s standout performer in 2019.
The Italian giants went 12 years without tasting victory in this race prior to Raikkonen’s win last year but we could see Ferrari make it back-to-back triumphs this weekend. History tells us that Ferrari cannot be discounted at the United States Grand Prix – no matter where it is held.
As you might expect, Hamilton has been the dominant figure in the United States Grand Prix when it comes to setting quick lap times. In 2018, the British driver secured pole position with a blistering 1:32:237 – though Vettel wasn’t too far behind on that occasion.
During the race, the Mercedes man had a couple of issues that cost him victory but he still managed to set the fastest in-race lap time. Setting a new US Grand Prix lap record in the process, Hamilton romped round the Texas track in 1:37:392 to further enhance his status as one of the best F1 drivers of all-time.
One of the more fascinating facts is that the Circuit of Americas is one of only five anti-clockwise tracks on the Formula One calendar, alongside Baku, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
In addition, it is one of the hilliest tracks in Formula One. There is a difference of close to 31 metres between the lowest and highest points of the circuit, making it tough to negotiate and judge for some of the more inexperienced drivers.
Raikkonen’s win in 2018 ended a 114-race win drought, which was the longest drought in Formula One history at the time. Now racing for Alfa Romeo, his chances of making it back-to-back United States Grand Prix wins are relatively slim…
Mercedes are the only team to win more than once at the Circuit of Americas. Since moving to Austin, the United States race has been dominated by the German giants – with victories in four of the past five races here.
The current agreement will see the United States Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar until 2021 but talks are underway regarding an extension – excellent news for motorsport fans based in North America.
In 2018, the Circuit of Americas saw over 260,000 spectators attend the track over the United States Grand Prix race weekend. That saw the race rank as the fourth best Formula One weekend of the season and should enhance its chances of a future in the sport.
Indianapolis wasn’t the right place to host Formula One in the United States but the Circuit of Americas has its own identity in the sport. Fingers crossed for a long and successful future between Formula One and the circuit for years to come.