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United States Grand Prix Preview: Verstappen eyes up a treble

The championships are decided, but Max Verstappen and Red Bull are unlikely to take their foot off the throttle as Formula 1 motors its way through the Americas over the coming weeks.

Verstappen, fresh from sealing his third consecutive drivers' title in Qatar, arrives at the Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix with 12 winner's trophies from the last 13 races, and as a red-hot -450 favourite to extend that record in Austin.

Verstappen and Red Bull continued their dominant season in punishing conditions in Qatar, but he didn't destroy the field in the way we have seen at some races, with the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris finishing only five seconds back down the road.

And the Dutchman's job was made easier as the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who had started second and third on the grid, collided at the first corner while challenging for the lead.

With several teams continuing to bring upgrades as the season draws to a conclusion, it's clear that Verstappen could be kept up to his work if he wants to keep his winning streak going.

WhatUnited States Grand Prix
WhereCircuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
When3 PM EST, Sunday October 22
How to watchABC
OddsMax Verstappen -450, Lando Norris +1200, Oscar Piastri +1200, Sergio Perez +1800

McLaren aiming to keep the pressure on

It's the fifth of this season's six Sprint weekends and, while the format has met with a mixed reception from fans, McLaren will certainly have enjoyed them.

Piastri got his first taste of leading an F1 race in the Belgian Sprint before the summer break, finishing a fine second.

But he bettered that effort last time out in Qatar, winning the sprint race after heading Norris in a McLaren front-row lockout in qualifying.

Norris has three straight Grand Prix podiums, while Piastri has two in a row. McLaren are just 11 points behind Aston Martin and will be expecting to leapfrog the Silverstone-based team in the constructors' standings in Texas.

Norris is -150 and Piastri -110 to continue their podium streaks, while the team are +200 to get both drivers on the rostrum for the third race in a row.

Mercedes counting on upgrade to deliver

Climbing to fourth in the manufacturers' list is about as much as McLaren can realistically hope for after their poor start to the season.

But the battle for second between old rivals Mercedes and Ferrari is very much alive.

The German marque holds a 28-point advantage, and their Qatar collision could prove costly, even though Russell posted a brilliant recovery driver to finish fourth.

Ferrari had been coming on strong, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finishing third and fourth in Monza before Sainz ended Verstappenb and Red Bull's phenomenal run with victory in Singapore.

But Mercedes were faster in Qatar and will be aiming to stretch their advantage with their cars sporting a new floor this weekend.

That might not sound too significant, but following the rules revamp before last season, the cars generate a huge amount of their grip from the design of the floor.

Crunch time for local heroes

There are three drivers from the Americas on the grid and all of them are under pressure going into this run of races in their part of the world.

Mexican Sergio Perez can count on wild support when the circus visits Mexico City next week, but, after picking up just five points in the last three Grands Prix, his Red Bull seat is looking less than secure.

Perez still sits second in the drivers championship behind his team-mate Verstappen, but Hamilton is 30 points behind and in better form.

It was another weekend to forget for Aston Martin's Lance Stroll.

While his team-mate Fernando Alonso has reached the top-ten shootout in every qualifying session this year, Stroll has been eliminated in Q1 at each of the last four and hasn't scored a point in the last five races.

While the Canadian's seat is generally considered safe due to his father owning the team, billionaire Lawrence Stroll still has a board of directors to answer to and justifying his son's place has never looked harder.

The third of the trio is Williams' Logan Sargeant. The team are reportedly keen to keep the Floridian next season, but he is clearly over-driving in his attempts to keep up with team-mate Alex Albon.

He has failed to finish three of the last five races and is the only full-time driver without a point this season.

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