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Preview: Will history repeat itself for Hamilton in Austin?

Written by  Oct 18, 2017

History can repeat itself for Lewis Hamilton this weekend as the Briton can wrap up his fourth Formula 1 title at the place he secured his third in 2015, Austin's Circuit of the Americas - home of the United States Grand Prix.

The permutations are quite simple for the Mercedes driver, win the race that he has been victorious at each of the last three years and hope that Sebastian Vettel, the only other driver ever to win at this circuit, doesn't finish in top five. 

Based on how most of the season has gone, you would think that scenario to be unlikely, but the way everything has almost fallen into place for Hamilton since the summer break it really wouldn't be too surprising if he did get the job done.

The last race at Suzuka proved that the lack of pace in Singapore and Sepang were simply circuit-specific as the Silver Arrow once again led the pack and this year COTA could well suit Mercedes more than it ever has.

The greater downforce will see the first sector of Silverstone-style sweeps be almost flat-out for the majority and the Istanbul-like triple-apex right under the now iconic tower will also become one of the great thrills as drivers hold on for dear life.

Ferrari will be right there too in terms of performance, which is why in terms of the championship battle it would be expected to carry on at least one more week to Mexico, but after the recent reliability problems and poor luck generally, it's hard to know what to expect.

Red Bull will look to continue their own run of strong results with Malaysia and Japan their first back-to-back double podium finishes in the hybrid era. They will hope not to lose too much in the power-sensitive areas and use their strength in the low-speed and braking zones to keep the top two on their toes.

Max Verstappen is looking like a man who's finally been let out to play after two trouble-free weekends where he has taken the fight to Hamilton, while teammate Daniel  Ricciardo will want to prove he can still compete after being somewhat overshadowed by the Dutchman.

The midfield will face an interesting new dynamic as Carlos Sainz's switch to Renault should put two yellow and black cars in the mix along with Force India. McLaren is the unknown quantity after recent strong showings and will likely feature on the fringes of top 10 along with Williams and the home team Haas.

Fernando Alonso will be a very popular figure after his incredible debut run in the Indianapolis 500 back in May and McLaren will to build on recent strong performance as they challenge on the fringes of top 10 along with Williams and the home team Haas.

The American outfit will likely benefit from the completely different line-up at Toro Rosso as Daniil Kvyat returns to replace Sainz and Brendon Hartley finally gets his F1 chance as Pierre Gasly competes back in Super Formula.

There is speculation the New Zealander, who races with Porsche in the WEC, could actually continue on to Mexico when Gasly will return but either way, he'll be keen to make the most of his opportunity.

Finally, Sauber will do what they have done for most of the year now and that's to bring up the numbers with another personal fight between Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein.

Ahead of the event, there's an extra buzz around this year's race in Austin which, now five years old, has become one of the best weekends of the season for fans and drivers alike.  

New owners, Liberty Media are putting their own mark on it with famous boxing announcer Michael Buffer set to introduce every driver on to Sunday's grid and athletics legend Usain Bolt to be the official starter waving them off on the formation lap.

Off the track, Justin Timberlake headlines the big Saturday night concert which only adds to the star power as F1 continues to gain appeal in the land it has tried to conquer for so long.

A weekend of excitement and drama awaits in Texas and by the end of it all, the US Grand Prix may just crown the 2017 world champion. 

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