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Verstappen sets sights on Schumacher - What to expect at the United States GP

Verstappen sets sights on Schumacher - What to expect at the United States GP

Verstappen sets sights on Schumacher - What to expect at the United States GP

Verstappen sets sights on Schumacher - What to expect at the United States GP

F1 arrives at the Circuit of the Americas having already crowned a champion.

Max Verstappen confirmed himself as a two-time world title winner with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Focus now turns to the constructors' championship, with Red Bull almost certain to leave Austin with the team's first title since 2013.

A 165-point lead over Ferrari means only a drastic turnaround would prevent a triumph for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

With stories up and down the grid, however, here's what to expect at the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen sets sights on Schumacher

Michael Schumacher's tally of 13 race wins in a single season may have been equalled by Sebastian Vettel in 2013, but Verstappen's imperious form means that record can be broken with two wins from the last four races.

It would be hard to bet against the Dutchman this weekend given his stunning victory at the Texan event last year.

The bumps at COTA should take Mercedes out of the fight, whilst Ferrari has struggled to match the RB18 in recent times.

It remains to be seen whether Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz can take the fight to Verstappen, or whether Sergio Perez will complete a routine one-two for Red Bull.

Mercedes face bumpy nightmare

Mercedes' pace has improved since the Italian Grand Prix, there can be no doubt about that.

But the notoriously bumpy COTA surface that comes from the track being built on clay, could cause some of the early-season bouncing problems to return.

That would hurt the Silver Arrows as the team stares down the barrel of a first winless season since 2011.

Mercedes has, however, added its final aerodynamic upgrade that also includes weight-saving measures, with an eye turned towards maximising the learning for next year's challenger.

Alpine McLaren battle heats up

A stunning Japanese Grand Prix for Alpine saw the French manufacturer retake fourth in the championship race from rivals McLaren.

In truth, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have been ahead of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo for much of the season.

But failures both organisationally and on the reliability side for Alpine, as so plainly conceded by Alonso in Singapore, have allowed McLaren to remain in the fight.

Only 13 points separate the two teams but a strong weekend for the Enstone-based outfit could see them take an unassailable advantage into the final three races.

Importance in the fight for sixth

Aston Martin has experienced a revival of sorts in recent times, with points scored in seven of the previous eight races.

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll secured a double top-10 in Singapore before the German followed up in Japan, and the improved performances have taken the Silverstone-based team to seventh in the standings and only seven points behind Alfa Romeo.

Haas will also have something to say in that battle, remaining a further 11 points back despite not scoring since Austria.

Prize money is crucial at the back of the grid, especially for Alfa Romeo and Haas. This battle is critical for their operations.

US party atmosphere expected to cement popularity

It is impossible to deny the rapid growth in the popularity of F1 in the United States in recent years.

This event last year drew record crowds and an attendance of 400,000 is expected across the weekend this time around.

There will be three races Stateside on the 2023 calendar and the atmosphere that feels ever-growing at COTA can prove that decision right as the hunger for elite motor racing increases.

The atmosphere should be helped by the circuit enjoying its 10th anniversary. The US knows how to party!

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