The Formula 1 circus rolls into Austin this week for the United States Grand Prix Sprint weekend.
As the dust settles on a hectic, humid race last time out in Qatar, McLaren arrive as the paddock’s form team.
The Woking outfit capitalised on a turn 1 clash between Mercedes’ teammates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to claim a double podium in Lusail.
The team also showcased their current high operating levels by breaking the record for the sport’s fastest ever pit stop at 1.80 seconds.
Let’s explore McLaren’s chances this weekend, including an 8/1 tip and other areas of value across the grid.
McLaren’s resurgence of late has received praise from key figures on the F1 grid following the Qatar GP.
Chief among those to applaud the British manufacturer was newly-crowned three-time champion Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman pointed to Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri as the sport’s strongest driver line-up.
This came following their second consecutive double podium and Piastri’s first taste of F1 success with a pole and victory in Saturday’s sprint.
Lando through the years at the #USGP. 🇺🇸
Grand prix number 100 is next. Time flies! 😳 pic.twitter.com/shrYmkYlsI
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 18, 2023
Furthermore, McLaren’s pace relative to Verstappen’s Red Bull caught the eye in Qatar. Piastri finished just 4.8 seconds behind the reigning champion, with Norris close behind him.
The reduced gap solidifies the team as the Red Bull’s closest challengers, which bodes well for the remaining five races.
Should Verstappen falter out in the lead, expect McLaren to capitalise.
COTA’s fast sweeping corners – a strong suit for the team – suggest another strong weekend await their drivers.
Piastri’s purple patch
F1 rookie Piastri has built on his stellar junior record to deliver on the biggest stage this season.
The Australian began steadily enough, but has recently found his feet. A Sprint race victory and second place in Qatar followed a first podium in Japan.
His performance last time out means Norris has once again been beaten to success by an Aussie teammate after Daniel Ricciardo’s victory in 2021.
Piastri is beginning to out-qualify Norris consistently. This proved a key factor in benefitting from McLaren’s team orders call and securing second place in Qatar.
He now sits just 26 points away from becoming F1’s highest ever points-scoring rookie.
Teams targeting COTA comeback
Two teams inparticular will be aiming to bounce back in COTA following a gruelling battle with extreme heat in Qatar.
Mercedes will hope to put the weekend behind them following their driver’s opening lap clash.
The eight-time champions will introduce a floor upgrade in Texas as they target second place ahead of Ferrari.
They will hope to replicate their result at this race last season, where Hamilton narrowly missed out on victory to Verstappen.
Further down the grid, AlphaTauri are also set to bring upgrades to the Lone Star State ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s return from injury.
This arrives following another poor result for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Rumours have been circulating across the paddock about the Mexican’s potential retirement, with an announcement possible at the Mexican Grand Prix.
With that in mind, Ricciardo’s return promises to pile pressure on Perez as he looks for a first podium in three races.
Click here for odds of 10/3 and a free bet with William Hill for Lewis Hamilton to finish runner up in the Driver’s Championship.