After months of hard-fought battles on the track and in the pits, Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes racing team can claim both the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship this weekend in Texas at US Grand Prix. They could even do all this with three races to spare in what has been another eventful F1 campaign.
There's a number of scenarios that need to play out before that dream becomes a reality for the Brit. But after landing victory in the Japanese Grand Prix last time out, he'll surely be confident of securing a premature triumph – the fourth Drivers’ Championship win of his career!
While the mathematics appear complex, the reality is that the situation is rather simple: Hamilton will claim the drivers’ crown if he wins the US Grand Prix this week and Sebastian Vettel, his closest challenger, finishes no better than sixth, a realistic scenario most experts can easily see play out.
The English speed demon can even win the title on American soil if he finishes second, assuming Vettel comes in ninth or worse and Valtteri Bottas, who sits third in the standings, doesn't finish first. Should Hamilton finish outside of the top two podium places, his hunt for a fourth title will continue in Mexico next week.
As for Mercedes, they'll claim a fourth consecutive Constructors’ Championship should they hold an unassailable 129-point lead or better over Ferrari once the chequered flag has been waved on Sunday. Essentially, if either Hamilton or Bottas finishes in the top three, they're home and dry.
Of course, the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Kimi Raikonnen and the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will have plenty to say about that. And often the ‘win or bust’ mentality can produce some outstanding racing. So who will take the spoils in Texas on Sunday at the US Grand Prix 2017?
It's only been in the last few races that Lewis Hamilton has made his dominance count: he’s won four of his last five outings as his closest rivals, chiefly Sebastian Vettel, have floundered. In a sport where next-gen technologies are often the difference, it’s astounding to note that the cause of Vettel’s difficulties is a classic car part.
A spark plug, which retails at around $59 according to Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne, has caused Vettel’s vehicle to fail in two separate races. And in a sport where small margins are typically the keys to success, that really is unacceptable from a team as experienced and financially stable as the Ferrariracing team.
Perhaps that’s the perfect metaphor that explains the gulf in class between the iconic red brand and Mercedes this term: basic errors that have ultimately cost Vettel the opportunity to perform to his highest standard. Hopefully those woes (and outdated issues) have been resolved for this weekend's important race.
Hamilton has dominated on tracks located in all four corners of the globe but clearly there's something about Texas’ Circuit of the Americas that suits him. The 32-year-old has won four of the last five editions of the US Grand Prix here and he will be desperate to maintain that record this week to confirm yet another world title.
The Circuit of the Americas has been ever present on the F1 circuit since 2012, when the track was introduced to the circuit. And in some ways the American track replicates the formula used by the UK’s own Silverstone: blind corners, high speed direction changes and sections where routine overtaking is not onlt expected but basically demanded.
But there are also significant elevation changes to take into account and with extensive run-off areas, there's a feeling of genuine risk and reward to this Texan track. Should Hamilton triumph, he'll become the first driver in history to win six US Grand Prix crowns ahead of the legendary Michael Schumacher.
And with the Brit winning four of the last five renewals at Austin and five out of six on US soil, it’s hard to see past him making history on Sunday. The f1 sportsbooks agree, with 888sport making Hamilton a rather generously priced 17/20 favourite to take the win. Those odds certainly appear eye-catching value.
Noticeably, Mercedes have taken the 1-2 at Austin in each of the last two years, so clearly they know what it takes to succeed around this unique layout. There's just enough value in the 3/5 offered by Mr Green to back them as the Leading Constructor for the US Grand Prix.
With doubts about Ferrari at present, there could be another opportunity for the Red Bull team to show their mettle as they seek to become F1’s next best constructor behind Mercedes. They have a talented young pair at the wheel in Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and, of the two, it's perhaps the latter that catches the eye this week.
After a maiden look at the track in 2015, Ricciardo returned last year and handled the Texan curves, finishing third and with plenty of ground to spare on Vettel. The Aussie has routinely outperformed his stablemate Verstappen this season and we expect him to secure a place on the podium on Sunday.
Ricciardo can be backed at an appealing 6/4 to do exactly that with Betway. If this isn't your most confident bet, head over to Betway's sportsbook to find more markets and odds on this weekend's US Grand Prix 2017!