United States GP Preview: Six points gap, six races to go as title race heats up between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton

(Motorsport news) With Formula 1 heading to Circuit of the Americas at Austin, Texas the title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton is set to continue. Red Bull’s team will be concerned with how fast Mercedes have been, particularly at the Turkish Grand Prix in both corners and straights. 

Despite Verstappen currently being six points ahead of Hamilton, it’s the seven time World Champion who will be favourite as Mercedes have only lost once on the track in six hybrid-era races and it’s a venue that Hamilton has traditionally excelled in. This season has been such a roller-coaster ride that the title lead has changed hands five times already with all signs pointing towards a sixth occasion this time around. 

Both the drivers will compete on a level playing field this time around, with no grid penalties expected from now until (hopefully) the end of the season. What does this mean? That the race winner will have earned the podium position on merit rather than external circumstances at the business end of the season, a factor which will benefit Mercedes more than Red Bull. That’s because the Mercedes has been a faster car, not just at Monza and Russia but Turkey as well, a track which was expected to suit the Red Bull car. The Silver Arrows have insisted that the increase in performance has to do with understanding their car more than any engine boost, whatever it may be, the advantage is there for all to see.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said “Austin is a track we like and is another opportunity but I'm under no illusion this is very much going to go to the end in the championship.” Verstappen, who spoke of Mercedes’ speed said “There are a lot of flat-out sections as well, and tyre wear is quite high, so there are a few things to look into. I think maybe at some other tracks we can maybe be a bit better, but it's never going to be very easy. The whole year already has been quite close, of course. Sometimes it looked like maybe we were a bit better but then sometimes also they were quite quick. I just hope that from the remaining races there are a few tracks, of course, or more than half, are better for us but we'll find out."

In other notable battles, Ferrari has the opportunity to overtake McLaren at the United States GP after the Scuderia took 10 points off their rivals with only 7.5 points separating the two sides. Both teams are evenly matched but McLaren may have a slight edge as the Circuit of the Americas track should compliment McLaren’s straight line speed more. However, Ferrari introduced an upgraded power unit in the last two races and could prove to be a vital factor in the results in Texas. The shrewd move by Ferrari to introduce the upgrade before the 2022 season may pay dividends for both this season and the next as the most successful Formula 1 team in history continue their pursuit to get back to where they belong – challenging for the titles.

The United States GP will be broadcasted LIVE on Monday, 25th October at 12:30 am.

Also read: Formula 1 reveals provisional race calendar for the 2022 season with record 23 races


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