Thu, Oct 19, 3:29pm by Staff Writer
Lewis Hamilton can wrap up the Formula One title at the US GP this weekend, while Daniel Ricciardo is simply chasing every ounce of speed from his fast-improving car.
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are under pressure to resolve the reliability issues that have plagued them in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, and keep their F1 title ambitions alive.
Hamilton and Mercedes, meanwhile, can wrap up the driver’s and constructor’s titles on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The Mercedes driver will claim the F1 title if he outscores the Vettel by 16 points and teammate Valtteri Bottas by three, while Mercedes only need to score 17 points more than Ferrari to wrap up a fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship.
Hamilton can still clinch the title from second place, provided Vettel finishes ninth or lower.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, won a career-best ninth podium of the year last week and is finally enjoying the performance of his Red Bull car.
Hamilton won in Austin last year, but Vettel holds the lap record.
Verstappen is one of only five drivers to have won a grand prix this season and arrives in Austin on the back of victory in Malaysia and second place in Japan.
Vettel’s retirement at Suzuka, after an engine problem in Malaysia and his dramatic opening- lap crash from pole position in Singapore, has seen Hamilton surge 59 points clear.
Hamilton is now virtually unbackable to take the title – either in the US or during the following three races – at just $1.01. Vettel is paying $15 to come back for the win, with Bottas on $251.
Despite a largely disappointing year for Red Bull, Ricciardo is enjoying his best ever season after climbing the podium for a ninth time in Japan after the last race.
The Aussie is a good chance to make it 10 on Sunday local time, with $2.40 on offer for a top-three finish in the US.
Sunday will be the sixth race held on the Hermann Tilke-designed Circuit of the Americas, one of Ricciardo’s favourites.
“Everyone knows I love the city of Austin, but I also love the circuit,” he said. “It’s certainly unique with the wide apexes, you can pass in more than three areas, it’s fast, it flows well and it’s definitely one of the best tracks on the calendar for overtaking.”
The challenging track is punctuated by dramatic elevation changes, blind corners and turns requiring high-speed changes.
Weather forecasters are predicting showers and warm weather for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race.
The US GP gets underway at 6am Monday (AEDT).
Suggested Bet: Take Ricciardo to make the podium: $2.40
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