Formula 1 Betting Preview: U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas
For the 10th time, Formula 1 heads to Austin for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). F1 started coming to Texas in 2012 and has shown up annually each year except for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lewis Hamilton is the winningest driver at COTA, having won five of the first six races here, but the seven-time world champion has not been victorious at COTA since 2017.
Here’s an update at how the Formula 1 season has transpired and what auto racing bets you should target this weekend.
F1 Season Recap
Unlike last season’s title chase that came down to the last lap of the last race of the season at Abu Dhabi, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen arrives this weekend already as the 2022 season champion.
Besides a couple of early races and Ferrari’s single-lap pace in qualifying, Red Bull undoubtedly has had the best car this season. Add in Verstappen being in the best form of his career, and you have a runaway constructor’s and driver’s world titles for Red Bull.
If you needed any more evidence of Red Bull’s domination, since Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won in Austria in July, Red Bull has won the last seven races, with Verstappen winning six of those.
The qualifying pace has not been an issue for Ferrari this season. Between Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari has earned pole in four of those races. But with questionable strategy decisions, driver errors and the car simply have not able to match Red Bull over the long runs of a race.
Of the big three, Mercedes has seen the biggest fall. Hamilton is currently sixth in the driver’s standings, which would mark the lowest finish of his career. Mercedes has not been able to balance the downforce in the sharp turns while also maintaining a competitive top-end speed.
As for the rest of the field, this will mark Sebastian Vettel’s last race in the United States with Vettel set to retire at the end of the season. Vettel won the second race hosted here back in 2013.
Best Bet to Win Circuit of Americas
As it stands, Verstappen is -230 at FanDuel Sportsbook to win on Sunday. I don’t see how you can confidently bet anyone else to win this weekend. Verstappen found victory lane for the first time in his career at last year’s race, so he should arrive confident and has a better car compared to the field in 2021.
But I’m not interested in betting Verstappen at the opening price. I would consider waiting. Given Ferrari’s penchant to win pole, Verstappen could find himself starting third or farther back in the field, depending on how qualifying plays out on Saturday. Verstappen has shown no issues working through the field. Of his 12 wins, only eight came from the pole position. He’s also won on the grid from fourth, third, second, third, second, 10th, 14th (!) and seventh this season.
COTA hasn’t been a great qualifying track for Verstappen. Sure, he did earn pole last season, but it was the only time in his career he has started on the front row here. In the five other races, he started eighth, fourth, 16th, 18th and third.
Of course, you run the risk that Verstappen makes pole and -230 becomes a bigger number such as -400. In that case, I’d prefer waiting once again for a live bet during the race. If Verstappen falls behind, and as long as he doesn't get in a wreck, I’m confident he’d be able to make his way through the field.
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