Six points in between. Six races to go. The title battle of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the ages is set for a thrilling finish – starting with this weekend’s US Grand Prix in Texas, amid ever-changing momentum in the 2021 championship.

Entire Weekend Austin Circuit of the Americas All live on Sky Sports F1, with qualifying at 10pm on Saturday and racing at 8pm on Sunday., when another Verstappen and Hamilton duel is to be expected.

But while Verstappen is the title leader once again, the latest form has raised questions about whether the Dutchman is really the driver on his back foot, and whether Mercedes is back to top Red Bull at a crucial moment of the season.

“I think we need to step it up a little bit to be in the fight until the end of the season,” Verstappen admitted after the last race in Turkey.

Verstappen’s concerns come from the fact that Mercedes on the back side of the US, while not necessarily frequent on points, dominates Red Bull in back-to-back races and, more specifically, appears to have a faster car through corners and on the straights at the moment.

Martin Brundle thinks Lewis Hamilton

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Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton “made a mistake” by disagreeing with Mercedes over strategy at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton “made a mistake” by disagreeing with Mercedes over strategy at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, in COTA, which returns to F1 this year after the absence of 2020, Mercedes has only been beaten once in the six hybrid era races, with Hamilton winning five times around a track he absolutely loves.

But since this season has already provided evidence of that, it would be foolish to make predictions or pin favorites.

The last six 2021 F1 races

October 24 United States GP Austin
November 7 Mexican GP Mexico City
November 14 Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos
November 21 GP . diameter Doha
December 5 Saudi Arabia Award grandmother
December 12 Abu Dhabi GB Yas Marina

“Austin is a track we love and another opportunity, but I have no illusions that this will reach the end of the championship,” Mercedes coach Toto Wolff said.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner added defiantly that his team and Verstappen “are fighting at it and we’re not giving up on everything.”

“To be at this point in the championship driving the drivers and still in contact with the constructors, it’s exceptional,” he said. “We love this fight, we enjoy this junk, and there are some trails ahead where it can go either way.”

Does Hamilton, Meyer have the advantage? And why?

In the battle between a driver chasing his first world title and a driver chasing an eighth world record, the title lead has already changed five times this year. The model books suggest he could be six this weekend.

That’s because Mercedes was faster, often significantly, than Red Bull at Monza, Russia and Turkey. Although the first two were somewhat expected, dominance in Turkey was not and would raise alarm bells for Red Bull.

Verstappen and Horner specifically mentioned Mercedes’ “enormous” straight-line speed.

Mercedes insists that the latest improvements come from understanding their car more and not any engine boost, while it also appears that they are reaping the benefits from their last major upgrade in July.

The consolation for Red Bull is that they haven’t lost much ground to their rivals in those last three races. Verstappen and Hamilton crashed and both scored zero points on Sunday at Monza, Verstappen recovered from the back to finish second behind Hamilton in Sochi, while Hamilton was fifth after Verstappen’s second for Turkey after a comeback on his own.

Max Verstappen wishes he had a little more speed overall but felt it was a great result for the team in Turkey

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Max Verstappen wishes he had a little more speed overall but felt it was a great result for the team in Turkey

Max Verstappen wishes he had a little more speed overall but felt it was a great result for the team in Turkey

But with engine penalties now in place for both championship champions and no further penalties expected at the grid, the fight may now be reduced to its raw pace. The remaining six rings differ in their characteristics and both teams will be confident of their chances at different times, but the US Grand Prix is ​​definitely a happy hunting ground for Mercedes and Hamilton.

“There’s a lot of flat sections too, and tire wear is very high,” Verstappen said, cautioning the Merc’s pace. So, there are a few things to consider.

“I think maybe on some of the other tracks we could be a little bit better, but it’s never going to be easy. The whole year has already been very close, of course.

“Sometimes it looked like we might have been a little better but sometimes they were also very fast. I just hope that of the remaining races there are a few tracks, of course, or more than half, that are better for us but we find out.”

Sky Sports F1 critics still believe Red Bull has a very real chance this weekend.

“I would expect it to be a bit more between the two teams,” said Martin Brandel of Sky F1.

Paul di Resta added: “It’s going to be a head-to-head battle and you can’t predict which way it’s going to go.

“Max will want to enjoy it. If he can beat Lewis there, that’s another notch for him. But Lewis will go there full of confidence, he loves the United States.”

Sky Sports F1 live match schedule in the US

Thursday
9pm: The F1 Show Live (simultaneous broadcast on Sky Sports main event)
11pm: Drivers Press Conference

Friday
5 p.m.: Practice one live broadcast (session starts 5:30 p.m.)
8.45pm: Practice for two live broadcasts (session starts at 9pm)

Saturday
6.45pm: Practice 3 live sessions (session starts at 7pm)
8:30 p.m.: Special Show, Rivals: Hamilton vs Verstappen (simultaneous broadcast on Sky Sports main event)
9 p.m.: Qualifiers Live Stream (simultaneous broadcast on Sky Sports main event)
10 p.m.: US Championship Qualifiers live (simulcast on Sky Sports main event)

Sunday
6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: USA Live (simultaneous broadcast on Sky Sports main event)
8pm: US Grand Prix (simultaneous broadcast on Sky Sports main channel)
10 p.m.: Checkered Flag USA Live
11.30pm: Highlights of the US Championship

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