Lewis Hamilton will be looking to secure the 2017 Drivers’ Championship title when the lights go out at the United States Grand Prix this Sunday.
A season that promised so much is heading towards an extremely boring conclusion with Mercedes’ main man Lewis Hamilton a race victory away from claiming his fourth World Championship. The ‘Brit has been in great touch since returning from the mid-season break while his only title rival, Sebastian Vettel, has fallen to pieces.
We now head for a three-week jaunt of the Americas and what is likely to be little more than a Hamilton victory parade.
The status quo has well and truly returned to F1 following the mid-season break with Mercedes and their poster boy, Lewis Hamilton, racking up a heap of points while the boys over at Ferrari have capitulated in spectacular style.
Mercedes procession to yet another set of Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles was further entrenched out in Japan as Lewis Hamilton dominated the race weekend. The ‘Brit had a string of barnstorming runs in qualifying and then finished more than a second ahead of main race runner-up, Max Verstappen, the following day. The victory put Hamilton some 59 points ahead of Vettel on the Drivers’ Championship standings, which is quite a remarkable feat considering how slim an advantage Hamilton held over the Ferrari man during the off-season.
While Mercedes have profited the most from the Asian leg of the circuit, where they secured the Constructors’ Championship and saw their main driver take an almost unassailable lead into the Americas, the team that has enhanced their reputation more than any other has been Red Bull.
Max Verstappen followed up his Malaysian Grand Prix victory with a solid drive out in Japan which saw the young Dutchman take second place. Suzuka, like the rest of the Asian circuits, proved to be an extremely happy hunting ground for Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo brought his Red Bull home in third and ensured a double podium for his team.
It was sad times for Ferrari however, with Sebastian Vettel again failing to finish a race, while Kimi Raikkonen could only salvage a fifth-place finish for the Prancing Stag. To make matters worse for Ferrari’s Finn, he was pipped by his countryman and Mercedes number 2 Valtteri Bottas to fourth spot.
The final place in the much coveted Top 6 was claimed by Esteban Ocon, who was followed across the line by his Force India teammate Sergio Perez.
The top 10 was rounded out by the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen (8th) and Romain Grosjean (9th) while Felipe Massa brought his Williams over the finish line in 10th.
United States Grand Prix | Sunday 22 October | Circuit of the Americas | 21:35
To Win Race
Lewis Hamilton 83/100 | Sebastian Vettel 9/4 | Valterri Bottas 6/1 | Kimi Raikonnen 12/1 | Max Verstappen 14/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 16/1 | Carlos Sainz 1000/1
The Circuit of the Americas is to F1 what Madison Square Garden was to Stadium Rock; a giant sweaty cauldron of loud echoes. The gigantic compound can hold just under 120 000 spectators and sells out year on year. It’s quite the sight and is the only circuit that provides that sort of crazy atmosphere.
Sunday’s race will see the field cover 308.405 kilometres 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 their colonial cousins, they’re more than capable of can catching drivers out.
Pirelli has nominated the Ultra-Softs, Super-Softs and Soft compound tyres for the race. You may be a bit confused to see pink-walled tyres this weekend but these will just be the Ultra-Softs in disguise as tyre manufacturer throw their weight behind Breast Cancer awareness.
The weather conditions for Austin are set to be extremely wet with rain being predicted for all three days of the race weekend.
Last year’s race was won by Lewis Hamilton, who beat former teammate Nico Rosberg across the line by more than four and a half seconds. The podium was rounded out by Daniel Ricciardo.
Podium Finish – Daniel Ricciardo – Yes – 5/10
The grinning Aussie continued his remarkable run of podium finishes out in Japan a fortnight ago as he brought his Red Bull across the line in third. The Red Bull man has a very healthy record out in the States and has claimed third place in two of the last three races held at the Circuit of the Americas. At 15/10 for a podium finish, the Aussie represents magnificent value!
Fastest Qualifier and To Win Outright – Lewis Hamilton 6/10 & 83/100