3 things you need to know about the United States Grand Prix

Anthony Lopopolo 7h ago

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP / Getty

Formula One returns to Texas for the 46th United States Grand Prix on Sunday.

Here are three things you need to know:

The Track

Circuit of the Americas
Circuit length 5.513 km
Number of laps 56
Race distance 308.405 km

(Courtesy: Formula One)

The hilly track in Austin, Texas always poses a challenge to drivers, especially on Turn 1. It’s hard to repeat the same line twice on any given lap as the cars enter the hairpin on an incline and contend with a loss in downforce.

Turn 11 requires a similar combination of braking and turning, but there’s relief in the long straightaway that follows.

In all, the Circuit of the Americas is all about elevation changes.

Hamilton in no position to lose

Austin is kind to Mercedes firebrand Lewis Hamilton, who’s won three of the past four races on this track. The anomaly took place in 2013, when Sebastian Vettel claimed the checkered flag.

Nothing less than a first-place finish will suffice Sunday if Hamilton harbors hopes of becoming just the fifth driver to win four or more Drivers’ Championships. Trailing teammate Nico Rosberg by 33 points, the Englishman must win the last four races and hope his German counterpart falls off the podium.

It’s not impossible. Hamilton needed just six races to overturn a 43-point deficit behind Rosberg earlier this season – and he can kickstart the title run on trustworthy ground.

“America has always been a hunting ground for me,” said Hamilton. “It’s one of the few of the newer circuits that really allows good overtaking and following of cars, which is always difficult in Formula 1.”

Red Bull fighting off Ferrari for 2nd

Mercedes clinched a third constructors’ championship in Japan two weeks ago, leaving Red Bull and Ferrari to go to war for the second spot.

That’s always been the case anyway. And Ferrari, which has struggled all season to produce a consistent and competitive car, has reason to hope for a somewhat solid finish to an otherwise disappointing season.

While neither finished on the podium in Suzuka, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel outqualified both Red Bull drivers.

The Prancing Horse is 50 points behind its Austrian counterpart.

“I think we have to stay awake, we have a good points advantage compared to them,” said Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. “Of course they will be strong, the last few races they’ve always been strong and maybe sometimes a bit unlucky.”

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