Formula One: Predicting the 2019 USA Grand Prix

The Formula One  journey has reached the USA. The 19th round of the ongoing F1 Championship will take place at Circuit of the Americas, Austin.

Lewis Hamilton has a big lead in the driver standings. The only real question we need to ask is whether he would clinch the World Championship at Austin or not. If he succeeds in doing so, he would be just behind the legendary Michael Schumacher with six World Championship titles.

USA has been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton and this would also be the second time that he has clinched the title in America, following his 2015 triumph. Let’s look at the past winner, the circuit specification and predict who will come up trumps in the USA Grand Prix.

Who won the 2019 USA Grand Prix?

In 2018, Kimi Raikkonen made the one-stop strategy work on his way to win and end his 113-race winless streak. This win was Raikkonen’s first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

The win by the ‘Iceman’ was also his first win for Ferrari and Ferrari’s first win at Circuit of the Americas, Austin. 

Driver Championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, finished third, which was a let down as he started the race at the pole position.

What are the pole positions for the 2019 USA Grand Prix?

Mercedes took its first pole since July as Lewis Hamilton’s closest rival and teammate, Valtteri Bottas took the pole position at the Circuit of the Americas. This is his fifth pole of the season.

Second position went to the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel. He will be followed by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen who was the only driver of the top five, who was able to improve the lap time set on their first run.

The leading driver of the ongoing Drivers’ Championship, Lewis Hamilton will start the race from the fourth position just behind Charles Leclerc.

What are the specifications of Circuit of the Americas?

First Grand Prix hosted: 2012

Total Laps: 56

Circuit length: 5.513 km

Race distance: 308.405 km

Race lap record: 1:37:392 (Lewis Hamilton, 2018)

Most wins: Lewis Hamilton ( 6 times)

Most successful constructor: Ferrari ( 10 wins)

2018 Belgian Grand Prix winner: Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Number of turns: 20 

What are the 2019 World Drivers’ Championship standings?

Lewis Hamilton has won 10 out of the 18 races in the ongoing World Drivers’ Championship. The British driver has 363 points to his name and is currently leading the points table with a lead of 74 points. 

Mercedes is ruling the standings once again as Valtteri Bottas is in the second position with 289 points, while Charles Leclerc is in the third position with 236 points.

Prediction for the 2019 USA Grand Prix?

Lewis Hamilton needs to finish eighth or better to be crowned the World Champion for the sixth time. Given his record in Austin, he may have an outsiders chance of winning the race even though he will start from the fourth position.

Sebastien Vettel is the only other of the active drivers to have won the USA Grand Prix. The German starts at the second position and will give tough fights to the two Mercedes for the win. No team comes close to Scuderia in terms of raw speed, which will help tremendously in making up for the lost time on the turns.

Max Verstappen would like to leave the mishap of Mexican GP behind, when he was stripped off his pole position for ignoring warning flags. The Dutchman is one of the most talented drivers around and will most certainly want to make amends by winning the very next race.

There is no looking past a Mercedes for the win. The only question is whether it will be pole leader Bottas or reigning World Champion, Hamilton.

The Silver Arrows front-man, Hamilton would like to capture the World title as soon as possible given the unpredictable nature of the sport. He wouldn’t want a repeat of the 1999 season when Michael Schumacher was leading by a margin but broke his leg and gifted the title to Mika Hakkinen.

The title race has all but fizzled out after Hamilton win at the Mexican Grand Prix. Mercedes are still the top dog in spite of recent resurgence of Scuderia Ferrari. 

Hamilton may not push enough as he would want to play it safe for the title win. This makes Bottas the prime candidate to win the USA Grand Prix.

Cover image credits: Autocar

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