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What time is the US GP? And what should I look out for?

F1 visits Austin this weekend for the US Grand Prix, and although the title’s sewn up there’s still drama left to unfold

Published: 21 Oct 2022

Max Verstappen might have clinched his second world title at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago, but don’t detune from F1 just yet: there’s still lots of action still to unfold with four races remaining in 2022.

The next stop is the US Grand Prix, and it’s a goodie: the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is one of the best racetracks on the planet, with the sequence of corners in the final sector in particular almost guaranteed to produce thrilling racecraft.

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And it’s highly likely we’ll see Red Bull win the constructors’ championship - its first in nine long years - with the Milton Keynes outfit only needing 11 more points to mathematically vanquish Ferrari.

Add in the Alpine-McLaren battle for fourth place (and the rest bar Williams gunning for sixth), and there’s still plenty to look forward to. Though to what extent talk of Red Bull and Aston Martin’s breaches of the F1 cost cap last season will overshadow things remains to be seen.

Got more questions about the US GP? We’ve answered ‘em below…

What time is the US Grand Prix? And what time is qualifying?

If you’re watching in the UK, the first practice session begins at 8pm on Friday and will be followed by the second at 11pm. The third and final shakedown gets underway at 8pm Saturday, after which qualifying will commence at 11pm. Better stock up on cocktail sticks to keep those eyelids ajar.

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The race itself begins at 8pm on Sunday.

What’s the weather going to be like?

According to the latest charts, the weather at COTA will be dry this year with highs of 32 degrees Celsius over the weekend. Nice ‘n toasty, then.

Where is the US GP taking place?

The US Grand Prix is held every year at the Circuit of the Americas, a 20-turn track opened in 2012 in Austin, Texas. This isn’t to be confused with the Miami Grand Prix which a) has a different name, and b) is held in an entirely different state.

The US GP is one of two US races on the F1 calendar this year, and in 2023 it’ll be one of three thanks to the arrival of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. F1 is going big Stateside. Because Netflix, innit.

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How many laps is the US GP?

The US GP consists of 56 laps of the 5.513km circuit, and depending on how often the safety car appears (if at all) the race should last about an hour and a half. Last season Max Verstappen won after an engrossing tactical battle with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton: keep a watchful eye on everyone’s tyre wear as this’ll decide what strategy each team goes for on race day.

Who’s going to win the US GP?

Max Verstappen. Well, probably. The Dutchman has won 12 grands prix so far this season and a 13th would equal the record for the most F1 wins in a season, currently held jointly by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.

Other contenders include his teammate Sergio Perez and the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Realistically it’s only those four who have a chance of winning the race on pace alone, but don’t rule out a surprise victor emerging if circumstance throws us a curveball.

How can I watch the US GP?

Er, on a television? Oh, we see what you mean. British fans can watch the race by subscribing to Sky Sports’ dedicated F1 channel, or by taking out a membership with Now TV and accessing the coverage that way. Alternatively Channel 4 will broadcast free-to-air highlights of qualifying and the grand prix: because it’s on so late in Europe the former will be shown from 8.30am on Sunday morning, the latter from 12.30am on Monday night. Hope you’ve got the day off work.

What’s the Top Gear view on the US GP?

After years of speculation about the race’s future, it’s great to see F1 thriving at COTA: it’s one of those precious few layouts that actually promotes wheel-to-wheel action, so it should serve up some great racing. And that’s good for the health of the sport in America, where the fanbase is growing rapidly as a result of the smash hit documentary Drive to Survive.

It’s a pity the title fight has already been wound up, but if anything that gives us a chance to appreciate the competition further down the field. And there’s lots of it. Hooray!

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