Formula One returns to America for the first time since 2019 for the United States Grand Prix. It will be the ninth race to be held at the Circuit of the Americas and is set to be the 50th United States Grand Prix since it was first held in 1908.

The Drivers’ Championship is heating up as we edge ever closer to the end of the season. Max Verstappen currently leads Lewis Hamilton by a mere six points. However, the Mercedes team have been dominant here in the past and both they and Red Bull believe this year could follow suit.

In this preview, we take a look at the leading contenders for this year’s United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton could close the gap in Austin

As mentioned above, Mercedes, and their rivals Red Bull, believe that their domination at the circuit could continue this year. Hamilton especially loves the track, having won here five times in the past – four times for Mercedes (2014-2017) and once for McLaren (2012). He’s 5/6 to win at Austin for the sixth time and, although he hasn’t won here since 2017, the seven-time World Champion has finished on the podium in all of the last six United States Grand Prix, never finishing lower than fourth at the Circuit of the Americas.

Hamilton has also been dominant on a Saturday, having taken three pole positions at the track out of Mercedes’ eight. He’s 10/11 to be the fastest qualifier this weekend. The Mercs have been so strong in qualifying, that they’ve never not started on pole during the turbo-hybrid era. It’s worth noting that the race at Austin has never been won by drivers starting outside of the front row.

Bottas looking to go back-to-back

Valtteri Bottas has looked a different driver over the past few weekends, including a fine Turkish Grand Prix victory. He’s put his recent success down to the security that comes with the long-term contract he’s signed with Alfa Romeo – of course, he’s been on one-year rolling contracts with his current team.

In the last three Grands Prix, Bottas has scored a total of 51 points. Comparing that to Verstappen’s 36 and Hamilton’s 35, you could say the Finn is the driver in form. He’s also got previous at the United States Grand Prix, starting from pole last year and taking the win. He’s 9/2 to qualify fastest on Saturday and 12/1 to take the race win on Sunday. However, with Hamilton now six points behind Verstappen in the championship, we could see team orders decide the winner of the race.

Verstappen hoping to continue positive US GP form

Verstappen hasn’t had the same sort of results at Austin as either Hamilton or Bottas but he does have decent form at the track. He’s finished on the podium in the previous two United States Grands Prix. The championship leader is 15/8 to take his maiden pole position this weekend while being priced at 11/8 to take Red Bull’s first victory since Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 success.