When is the 2021 United States Grand Prix? Training schedule, qualifying, UK time and how to watch it live on TV


The United States Grand Prix has seen its fair share of drama over the years.

Choosing the most memorable isn’t easy: Nigel Mansell collapsing from exhaustion trying to push his Lotus over the line; all but six cars refusing to take part in the 2005 race for tire safety reasons; the epic battle between Jean Alesi and Ayrton Senna in 1990; or Max Verstappen was kicked out of the recovery room before the podium after the Stewards penalized him for an illegal overtaking. All of them deserve first place in their own way.

It is also a traveling race, which took place at six different venues before arriving at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in 2012, where it remained until the cancellation of the 2020 edition.

The Formula 1 circus returns to the United States this year and more, with more than 100,000 people reportedly buying tickets for Sunday’s race day.

A much needed fortress

COTA, as it is best known, is not every racing fan’s favorite track, with several chained medium and high speed corner segments that make it difficult for cars to keep up with and ultimately overtake each other. .

One group that has come to love the place is the Mercedes fan base. It may not always have been exciting, but Lewis Hamilton (four times) and Valtteri Bottas (once) have won five of the last six races at the venue, with only Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari in 2018 edging the British driver. to victory of just 1.2 seconds. . Hamilton probably would have won even this race if he hadn’t been given a conservative strategy from the team trying to win the title and cover Sebastian Vettel.

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Hamilton fans would welcome a return to usual form in Austin, with the reigning world champion currently behind Verstappen by six points in the title race, with just six races remaining. A victory at COTA (depending on who wins the point in the fastest lap) would almost certainly allow Hamilton to regain the lead.

Race weekend program

(Every hour BST)

Friday 22 October

  • 5:30 p.m.: Free practice 1 (Live on Sky Sports F1 from 5 p.m.)
  • 9 p.m.: Free practice 2 (Live on Sky Sports F1 from 8:45 p.m.)

saturday 23 october

  • 7 p.m.: Free practice 3 (Live on Sky Sports F1 from 6:45 p.m.)
  • 9 p.m.: Qualifications (Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports F1 from 9 p.m.)

Sunday 24 October

  • 8 p.m.: United States Grand Prix (Live on Sky Sports F1 from 6.30 p.m. and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30 p.m.)

The rivalry intensifies

F1 claimed a challenger from Hamilton and believed they had one when Vettel’s Ferrari appeared competitive in 2018, only for this challenge to come under the light of an FIA technical guideline and team reliability issues. .

However, Verstappen has not (yet) been disappointed with Red Bull in the same way and looks set to push the seven-time world champion to the end. What may turn out to be crucial is whether the two are able to keep both cars on the track, having collided dramatically at the Italian Grand Prix last month.

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The Russian and Turkish Grands Prix which have since taken place have happily passed off without incident, at least as far as the Hamilton vs Verstappen action is concerned, but that was just as much because the two drivers were rarely side-by-side on the track, Hamilton serving a grid penalty. in Turkey and Verstappen in Sochi. In Austin, they should both return to the top of the grid and could resume hostilities.

F1 ranking

  • 1 Max Verstappen, Red Bull – 262.5 points
  • 2 Lewis hamilton, Mercedes – 256.5 points
  • 3 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes – 177 points
  • 4 Lando norris, McLaren – 145 points
  • 5 Sergio Perez, Red Bull – 135 points

A war of words?

The few men to beat Hamilton as teammates – Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button – all claim the same thing: that you can and should get under his skin off the track.

Verstappen, often a sharp and iron-willed character, was drawn into battle after the high-speed incident at Silverstone that took him to hospital, criticizing Hamilton for celebrating on the podium while medics a few kilometers were still checking his rival for serious injuries. The Dutchman was fortuitously spared by the crash, a testament to modern F1’s safety measures, but his relationship with Hamilton and Mercedes was not. The teams argued long into the night and beyond, with Red Bull appealing the final decision to issue Hamilton a three-place penalty for the next race, saying it wasn’t a serious enough punishment.

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When the commissioners decided that Verstappen was responsible for their meeting at Monza, Hamilton was also surprised that his opponent had not come to check him out.

“When we have incidents the first thing we want is to make sure the guy we crashed or crashed with is okay,” said Hamilton.

“But the good thing is I was able to get out. It was a long backward march, but we live to fight another day.

No one ever wants an accident in a sport that can have fatal consequences, but it would be fascinating to see the fallout from any incident in between this weekend.

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