Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
United States Grand Prix | Circuit of the Americas | 25 October | 20:30
Following a similar path tread by many a cold war spy, the teams head from Mother Russia to the United States. Their mission, try to stop Lewis Hamilton claiming another Drivers Championship.
Lewis Hamilton may not have managed to increase his poles tally in Sochi but he did break Aytron Senna’s career wins record. For a second race in a row, the Brit was out done in qualifying by his teammate but still managed to win the main race. It would take Hamilton a lot longer to pass Rosberg, this time around than it had been in Japan.
Rosberg led the field up until lap seven, when his throttle pedal started to become unresponsive. The Mercedes man tried to soldier on but to no avail. He would retire a lap latter and subsequently hand the lead over to his teammate.
As soon as Hamilton moved into p1, the race was pretty much sewn up. The Brit started to open up a gap between himself and the trailing pack, which contained Valtterri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel and Bottas had been dueling for third spot since the beginning of the race, with Rosberg now retired both drivers were in line for a second place finish. Vettel was running in third spot behind the Williams man until, Romain Grosjean, spun his car into the turn three barrier. Sergio Perez, who had been running further down the field, came into the pits immediately after the incident hoping to implement an undercut. The tactic worked and Perez moved up into third position. Vettel also went for the undercut in the wake of Grosjean’s crash. The Ferrari man manged to get out ahead of Bottas and Perez, leaving the Williams man to battle it out with Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikonnen for third and fourth spot.
Ricciardo wouldn’t factor into the equation however, as he retired with a suspension issue after forty-seven laps. There was to be late drama, with Kimi Raikonnen crashing into the back of Valtterri Bottas on the final lap. Bottas had just passed Perez and was running in third when the incident occurred. Perez made the most of the collision and moved back into third position - where he would finish the race.
At this point Hamilton and Vettel had already crossed the line and were preparing to mount the podium. Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikonnen, came across the line in fifth. The Finn’s Top Six finish was to be short-lived, however, as he was handed a time penalty for his attempted overtake on Bottas. The Ferrari man was subsequently demoted to eighth place. The man who benefited the incident involving Raikonnen and Bottas was Felipe Massa. The Brazilian managed to steal into fourth place after the incident. Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top six; he was followed across the line by Felipe Nasr. Pastor Maldonado claimed seventh spot, he was followed across the line by the two McLarens. The struggling team’s double points finish was to be temporary however, with Fernando Alonso tenth place being rescinded due to a five second time penalty for exceeding the track limits. His place was taken by Max Verstappen, who had come across the line in eleventh place.
We move from the seaside resort town of Sochi to the outskirts of Austin, Texas. The circuit is another brainchild of German architect, Herman Tilke, who drew inspiration from the established European circuits when designing the Circuit of the Americas. The track itself spans a length of 5.513 Kilometers, while the facility it is in closed can hold 120 000 spectators.
Sunday's race, will see the field cover 308.405 kilometers over fifty six laps, which contain twenty corners. The first corner, which starts a hairpin turn, is the tracks most infamous bend. While the corner itself is tricky to negotiate, it is made harder by the forty metre climb that leads into the turn. Another set of corners that will provide a challenge is the sequence between turns three to six; they're inspired by the Maggots and Becketts sequence at Silverstone, and like it’s colonial cousin, it's one of those high speed combinations that can catch the drivers out. Sebastian Vettel currently holds the fastest lap record at the track; his 1:39:347 lap time has stood for the last two years.
Pirelli have issued the medium and soft compounds for the weekend, the same tyres will be in use for this seasons' remaining races. The weather conditions for Austin this weekend are looking uncharacteristically wet. Thunderstorms are being predicted from Friday through to Sunday, but may abate for the main race.
As you may have already guessed, Lewis Hamilton won last year’s race. He was followed across the line by his Mercedes colleague, while Daniel Ricciardo took the final podium position.
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 4/10
Nico Rosberg 5/2
Sebastian Vettel 10/1
Valtterri Bottas 25/1
Felipe Massa 33/1
Kimi Raikkonen 40/1
Nico Hulkenberg 100/1
Sergio Perez 100/1
Daniel Ricciardo 150/1
Daniil Kvyat 200/1
Lewis Hamilton - To Win and Fastest Qualifier ( 4/10 & 4/10)
I know Hamilton has become a staple pick for me, and while he doesn’t offer the best value, he does produce a return almost every single race week. As he marches on to another World title, the only question left to ask, is when he will wrap up the Driver’s Championship?
My money is on him sealing it with a win this weekend. The Brit thoroughly enjoys the track, and why wouldn’t he? I mean he’s won every Grand Prix held here. While Rosberg claimed pole for the last two races, Hamilton has still managed to win both Grand Prix races. Even though starting second on the grid and winning a few races can’t be classed as staring adversity in the face and conquering it, it does take a great deal of skill to overtake the pole holder off the line. While he didn’t manage to do this at so Sochi, he did demonstrate that he can play the patience game as well.
My money is on Hamilton sealing the title in style by claiming pole and the race win,such is the Brit's dominance.
Sebastian Vettel - Podium Finish (To be added upon release)
Seb is another driver who delivers more often than not. While he may not be able to always compete with Hamilton, he does have a good podium record in 2015.
He didn’t have the best Grand Prix at this venue last year, but he didn’t really have a good season in general. He has looked a lot more impressive behind the wheel of Ferrari and I for one cannot wait to see what he can produce in an updated version of the car next year.
But for now I’ll focus on near future and Sunday the 25th in particular. I’m predicting a third place finish for the German Maestro in Texas.
Daniel Ricciardo - Podium Finish (To be added upon release)
On to my final pick and he’s also another driver who appears frequently in my tips. Ricciardo, has been looking good for a podium finish for the last few races now, in fact, he probably would have gotten one in Sochi had it not been for his unreliable car. The Red Bull man was once again sorely let down by his manufacturer’s inability to produce a reliable machine. While a lot of the blame has been passed onto their engine supplier; the team needs to admit that their car design is also flawed. Having said all of that, Red Bull actually have a pretty decent record at the track. They've also had some time to tinker with the car and hopefully rid it of some of the mechanical and aerodynamic gremlins that have been plaguing their season
If the car holds up, the young Australian may well add another American Grand Prix podium finish to his list on achievements.
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