AUSTIN, Texas, USA (AP) – Lewis Hamilton has denied his commitment to winning the United States Grand Prix. But the truth is that the Briton is behind Max Verstappen in the fight for the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.
The Dutchman should be considered the favorite in the next stage of the season, the Mexican Grand Prix.
Verstappen has won twice in the Mexican capital, where the F1 race is scheduled for November 7 and where the Red Bull team is dominant.
But first comes Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas. And Hamilton considers this track a “happy hunting ground,” given that he’s been victorious five times in Texas.
Verstappen has only six points this season.
“It’s important to win every race in some way, you know? You have to get as many points as possible. That’s our target for the next six races,” Hamilton commented on Thursday. “It’s going to be very difficult, and there will be times when we can overtake Red Bull. I don’t like to assume that Mexico will not be a good race, but they are usually very strong in Mexico.”
The formula is returning to North America for the first time since the pandemic began. Races in Austin and Mexico City were canceled last year. Montreal will host the Grand Prix again next year, for the first time since 2019.
The series returns with a thrilling title fight between a rookie Verstappen and a devoted Hamilton. The Briton took the 2015 and 2019 titles in Texas.
In fact, he has won five of the eight F1 races held at this track.
Verstappen, winner of seven races this season, has not taken a single win in Austin, but he has performed well. In 2015, at the age of 17 and up, he made an astonishing rise to fourth place in the rain with Toro Rosso, demonstrating his potential to win the title one day.
He finished second in 2018 and third in 2019. But now he’s the Red Bulls on top.
Team members can play an appropriate role on Sunday.
Valtteri Bottas drove his Mercedes to victory, ahead of Verstappen, two weeks ago in Turkey, and won in Austin in 2019, at the start.
Red Bull will need Mexican Sergio Perez to start at the top to help Verstappen put pressure on the two Mercedes cars.
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