Max Verstappen is the 2022 Formula 1 world champion. The Red Bull driver secured his second title with a win at a wet Suzuka circuit in Japan amid controversy over how many points should have been awarded. We have a betting preview for the United States Grand Prix.
With four races remaining in the season, Verstappen has won six out of the last seven races. Those victories have helped Red Bull to a 165-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. The maths is simple: Red Bull needs 25 points from a win at the Circuit of the Americas to secure their first title since 2013.
This weekend’s race is the 10th anniversary since the 5.513km track in Texas was opened in 2012. It’s also the second race in the United States after the inaugural Miami GP. Sir Lewis Hamilton holds the record for the most wins with six, with Michael Schumacher with five victories. Verstappen took the chequered flag in 2021, finishing ahead of Hamilton and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
The Circuit of the Americas track was purpose-built for F1 and kicks off with a steep climb to Turn 1 that is wide enough for three cars to fit alongside each other. From Turn 3 to 6 the designers bit from the high-speed Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone. Another sequence to look out for is the long right-hander from Turn 16 through to 18. We’re likely to see a high number of overtakes and the layout will favour Red Bull’s high straight-line performance. Ferrari won’t be far behind, but I expect Alpine and AlphaTauri to give Mercedes a few headaches over the weekend.
Verstappen’s recent form puts him at the top of the pile for the win, and news that Ferrari will test a 2023-spec engine for Charles Leclerc means he will take a five-place grid penalty.
Carlos Sainz should outperform Sergio Perez and I expect the Spaniard to complete a double podium finish for the Italian team. Mercedes will bring a raft of upgrades to the States, and will likely show a decent pace in sectors one and three due to the high downforce nature of the track. However, on the two straights, the Brackley-based team won’t match the high speeds of the Alpine and even AlphaTauri.
This weekend is the first race since news broke of Red Bull breaking the 2021 cost cap and the energy drink team will want the focus to be on them securing the constructors’ title rather than facing tough questions.