F1 2021 United States Grand Prix Preview: Who will fare better on F1’s American tour?

This year’s championship battle has been nothing short of sensational throughout the season. Heading into the final six rounds of the season, Max Verstappen leads Sir Lewis Hamilton by only six points. The Red Bull driver will have his work cut out for him this weekend though, as F1 heads for its first Grand Prix in the Americas in almost two years.

The Circuit of the Americas plays host to the United States Grand Prix and we can expect another close fight between Red Bull and Mercedes on Sunday.

Track guide

The Circuit of the Americas revived the United States GP when it joined the Formula 1 calendar for the first time in 2012. This is the first pupose-built F1 circuit in the U.S. and it shows, as it’s a terrific facility and a great place to watch a race at.

Image: F1

Overtaking isn’t usually too difficulty here, as the long back-straight provides opportunities into Turn 12. Turn 1 is also a good passing spot, thanks to the multiple options for which line to take. A good all-round car is often rewarded here, as sector one is all about downforce, sector two is straight-line oriented and sector three is largely about mechanical grip and a good chassis.

Lewis Hamilton has dominated here over the years, with five wins. However, the British legend has failed to win in both of the previous two outings here, with Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas claiming the wins in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Last time out

Bottas dominated the wet race at Istanbul Park to claim his first win in 2021

With Hamilton starting from 11th, Valtteri Bottas had to step up to prevent a maximum score from Red Bull. The Finn dominated the wet meeting from start to finish, with Verstappen managing a P2 that saw him lead the championship.

Sergio Perez got his first podium since France, as Charles Leclerc picked up an excellent 4th for Ferrari and even led for a brief period. Hamilton finished a respectable 5th, but the damage was done.

Pierre Gasly again impressed in his AlphaTauri to claim 6th, with Lando Norris salvaging 7th on a poor day for McLaren. Carlos Sainz won driver of the day for his 20th to 8th by the finish drive.

Lance Stroll got 9th in his Aston Martin, with Esteban Ocon scoring the final point after going the whole race without a pit stop.

Mercedes need to win in the U.S.

Two of Max’s favourite circuits are on the way after COTA.

While COTA isn’t a happy hunting ground for Red Bull, it is for Mercedes. Mercedes have won all but one race here in the hybrid era, with Hamilton winning all but one of those.

With Mexico and Brazil to follow, The Black Arrows will need to capitalise in the States. Verstappen has been a class above in both of those Latin American tracks, so a good result here will do his title challenge no harm.

Austin is an all-round circuit, so that should favour Mercedes, but strategy can throw up some surprises, just look at Raikkonen’s win here in 2018 and even Hamilton himself in 2012 produced a shock result.

Session Times

Practice 1, Oct 22nd: 17:30 – 18:30 (12:30 – 13:30 EST)

Practice 2, Oct 22nd: 21:00 – 22:00 (16:00 – 17:00 EST)

Practice 3, Oct 23rd: 19:00 – 20:00 (14:00 – 15:00 EST)

Qualifying, Oct 23rd: 22:00 – 23:00 (17:00 – 18:00 EST)

Race, Oct 24th: 20:00 (15:00 EST)

All times are British Summer Time (BST), unless stated

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview this weekend’s United States Grand Prix? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their USGP preview. Ruby Price hosted Tom Horrox, Tom Downey and Aaron Harper in their latest podcast. Both audio and video versions of the show are linked below:

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