Formula 1 follows on from the Mexican Grand Prix by heading straight to the Circuit of the Americas in the United States for the nineteenth round of the season.
2019 Drivers’ Champion
Valtteri Bottas prevented Lewis Hamilton from clinching the 2019 Formula 1 Drivers’ championship in Mexico but with Hamilton having won and Bottas finishing third, the Briton should clinch his sixth title this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.
Seventy four points separate the two with seventy eight points still available. Bottas would need to outscore Hamilton by a considerable amount, around twenty three points, in order to keep the championship alive for another round.Embed from Getty Images
Both drivers are in good form with Hamilton having finished on the podium in six of the last seven races, while Bottas has finished on the podium in five of the last seven.
Charles Leclerc goes to the United States still in third in the championship but with only a six point lead over his teammate Sebastian Vettel while Max Verstappen is sixteen points behind Leclerc.
The Monegasque driver hasn’t finished on the podium in the previous two races, while Vettel finished second in Japan and Mexico. Verstappen has had two difficult races leading up to this weekend after being forced into retirement in Japan and then having to work his way through the field in Mexico, ultimately finishing sixth, when he had claimed pole position and looked to have the pace to claim a third consecutive Mexico Grand Prix win.
Verstappen has been the least in form in the six races prior to this weekend, with one podium finish in that period, this is in comparison to Vettel claiming three podium finishes in the last six while Leclerc has finished on the podium in four of the previous six races.
The battle for sixth in the championship is very close going into the weekend with the three drivers battling for the position covered by three points.
Pierre Gasly is back in sixth place after being classified ninth in Mexico while previous occupant, Carlos Sainz, had a difficult race and finished outside the points.Embed from Getty Images
They both will know however that it is perhaps a foregone conclusion that sixth will ultimately be claimed by Alexander Albon who took another stride towards Gasly and Sainz after finishing fifth in Mexico, leaving him three points behind Gasly and two behind Sainz at the start of this weekend.
Albon is the most inform of the three having finished inside the points in the last eight races, a run which began at the German Grand Prix in late July. The other two have had less regular finishes in the top ten with Gasly scoring points in five of the last eight and Sainz finishing four of the last eight races inside the top ten.
There is a thirty one point gap between Albon in eighth and ninth placed Sergio Perez.Embed from Getty Images
Perez claimed a third consecutive points finish after finishing seventh in front of his home fans and is five points ahead of his nearest challenger for ninth, Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo bounced back from being disqualified from the race in Japan by having a quietly impressive race in Mexico which rewarded him with an eighth place finish. He is three points ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris who are both on thirty five points, with Hulkenberg having inherited tenth after Daniil Kvyat received a penalty for colliding with the German at the very end of the race.Embed from Getty Images
That penalty demoted Kvyat down to eleventh in the final classification, but it does mean he is still only one point behind Hulkenberg and Norris and three ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn having been forced to retire in Mexico and has now not finished inside the points in the last six races.
Overall, twelve points cover Perez in ninth down to Raikkonen in fourteenth with eighteen points still available from the remaining three races, if you assume the maximum result any of those in the battle for ninth can achieve is a seventh place finish, and not getting the point for fastest lap. Perez is the most in form having finished inside the top eight in five of the last six races, with only Hulkenberg matching that five in six, albeit three of those points finishes being outside the top eight, with the only non classified points finish being due to his disqualification in Japan.
Due to McLaren failing to get either car in the points for the first time since the Belgian Grand Prix and Renault getting both cars classified inside the top ten since the Italian Grand Prix, the gap between the two has closed to thirty eight points.Embed from Getty Images
However Renault’s main focus will be behind them in the championship with both Toro Rosso and Racing Point nine points behind the French team. It also means that Toro Rosso and Racing Point are level going into this weekend in the fight for sixth in the championship.
The winner of the Constructors’ championship may already have been decided and the Drivers’ champion being declared imminently, but there is plenty being fought over in the final races of the season, with battle continuing this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.