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Six races remain in the 2021 Formula One title hunt, and it is a mere six points that separate protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as their titanic battle resumes at the US Grand Prix. Join The Roar for live race updates and rolling coverage from 6am (AEDT).
Returning to the technical 5.5km Circuit of the Americas in Texas, this is the first time since 2019 that Formula One has been able to race in North America; the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic having quashed any plans of that in 2020.
It is a race that has seen Hamilton flourish since becoming a calendar regular in 2012, having also won four consecutive races between 2014 and 2017. The most recent US Grand Prix in 2019 was won by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Hamilton went on to clinch his sixth title.
Red Bull have also had a win in Austin; however, that was prior to the turbo-hybrid era. This will be something that they will hope to address however this time around, with both Verstappen and Sergio Perez on form through practice.
They have made plenty of noise however in the build-up to the weekend in regards to Mercedes’ straight-line speed advantage, despite the Silver Arrows supposedly struggling with engine reliability – which has led to Bottas taking another engine penalty.
Mercedes customers in Sebastian Vettel and George Russell have also seen complete power-unit changes and a trip to the rear of the grid. So indeed there are real concerns for the engine manufacturer.
Verstappen denied Hamilton pole position at the death, with Perez third quickest to ensure that Red Bull have both cars sandwiching the Mercedes in between. This ought to make the run into Turn 1 very intriguing.
Both Ferraris out-qualified the McLarens inside the top seven, which will make the race interesting as the pair continue to battle it out for third in the constructor’s championship.
The bumpy nature of track has also caused headaches across the weekend and meant that the Pirelli tyres have had greater wear. Expect a two-stop strategy en route to the chequered flag.
The objective for both Verstappen and Hamilton is clear for the remaining races: just finish ahead of each other and score more points. Who will stand tall after 56 laps in Texas?
Be sure to tune in on The Roar from 6am (AEDT) for live blog updates and all the key happenings of the United States Grand Prix.
Lights out: 6am (AEDT)
Venue: Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 6. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 7. Lando Norris (McLaren), 8. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 9. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 10. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 12. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 15. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 16. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 17. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 18. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 19. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 20. George Russell (Williams)