Top betting tips for United States GP: Mercedes favourites in Lewis Hamilton stronghold

The titanic title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rages on, Planet Sport picks our selection of hot tips for the United States Grand Prix this weekend.

Seconds out, it's time for round 17 of what has been a Formula 1 season for the ages so far.

The two World Championship contenders, three-quarters of the way through the calendar, are still separated by only six points heading into Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas [COTA].

The balance of power between Mercedes and Red Bull has swung from race to race, but it looks as though the reigning Constructors' champions are beginning to edge ahead of Max Verstappen and co in the performance ratings.

This circuit has also very much shown itself to be one of Lewis Hamilton's strongest over the years, too. Of the eight editions of the US Grand Prix in Austin, the World Champion has won five of them - and his profile in America makes him a crowd favourite among race-going fans in Texas.

Hamilton has finished on the podium in all but one of the races in Austin, and when he didn't, he still finished fourth.

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COTA is also a favourite of the drivers themselves, with its fast, flowing, undulating layout offering them a significant challenge at high speed - with overtaking opportunities, to boot.

Verstappen is leading the Drivers' Championship standings but given his and Red Bull's inability to match Mercedes' pace in Turkey has proven to be something of a headache for him and his team.

Each remaining circuit has differing characteristics and early predictions are that Austin could favour Mercedes, but if anyone on the grid can pull off an upset, it's the World Championship leader.

(Odds in the text are correct at the time of publication, odds in the pretty blue boxes are bang up-to-date)

Planet Sport Picks for the US Grand Prix

After a couple of wet grands prix in Russia and Turkey, the weather is due to be dry in Texas - for now - which should mean the pecking order largely reverts to type over the weekend.

While COTA offers up plenty of overtaking opportunities, the race has never been won by a driver starting off the front row, which makes for a crucial qualifying session on Saturday.

Given Mercedes' uptick in performance and Hamilton's sterling record at COTA, it's hardly surprising that the Briton is odds-on at 10/11 to take the race victory on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas won at the last race in Turkey and is also the most recent winner in America, taking top spot in 2019. Given that he is now second fiddle to Hamilton in the title race, if his team-mate is in contention for the win it's unlikely the Finn would be 'allowed' to stay in front, but at 12/1 to win, he could be a worthy each-way bet if Mercedes take a 1-2 finish.

Aston Martin have had a poor run of results of late, but should they not be running in the top 10 during the race, they'll be the likeliest to pick up the pieces in the lower reaches of the points on Sunday, with Lance Stroll at Evens to earn a points finish.

Other United States GP value bets

Unlike others on the grid, Carlos Sainz will have a fresh engine to call upon after taking a grid penalty last time out at Turkey.

That could offer him a key power advantage in the race over those around him, and he is out at 15/2 to get on the podium, while Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc is priced shorter at 7/2 for a top-three finish.

The eight previous races in Austin have been relatively close at the front of the field, with the average winning margin being around 4.2 seconds for the race winner.

Should that trend continue this weekend, odds on the race winning margin being Under 5 Seconds is available at 2/1, and Between 5 And 10 Seconds Inclusive is at 3/1.

When will the action take place? (All times BST)

Practice 1: Friday October 22, 5.30pm-6.30pm

Practice 2: Friday October 22, 9pm-10pm

Practice 3: Saturday October 23, 7pm-8pm

Qualifying: Saturday October 23, 10pm

Race: Sunday October 24, 8pm

How do I watch the US GP?

The race is broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 in the UK, and the build-up begins at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Extended highlights are shown later that night on Channel 4 from 12.05am.

Make sure you follow the action live and get all the latest reaction and news on Planet F1.