Nico Rosberg will be fully aware that second-place finishes at each of the remaining four races of the Formula One season will be enough to crown him world champion given his current 33-point lead in the drivers’ standings.
Damage limitation should certainly be the name of the game for the German, with his Mercedes clearly faster than any car from any other constructor on the F1 grid.
Rosberg will start from second spot on the grid in Austin behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, having posted a qualifying time virtually three tenths of a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo in third.
The Red Bull man is also on the less durable super-soft tyres, compared to Rosberg’s softs, which is likely to mean an earlier pit stop.
With Hamilton having a clear liking for the Texas track, having won three of the previous four Grand Prix to be raced on it, a sensible strategy for Rosberg may be to settle for second on this occasion, driving within himself and avoiding putting any unnecessary strain on a car that many believe is due some sort of fault.
It’s a fair assessment that Hamilton has suffered far more in the way of bad luck this term.
The alternative for Rosberg is to push Hamilton hard from the start line, with the Brit having already fallen down the grid on the opening lap in Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Italy and Japan this season.
Rosberg is 2/1 to win the US Grand Prix and hasn’t conceded points to his Mercedes teammate since racing in Germany at the end of July. Hamilton is understandably favourite at 8/13 despite his propensity for poor starts.
One market it makes sense to definitely avoid backing Hamilton is to post the fastest lap in the race, for which he is the 11/8 favourite.
Hamilton has not posted the fastest official lap in any of the four previous years the US Grand Prix has been raced at the Circuit of the Americas, neither has he been quickest in any of the last four races this season.
Sebastian Vettel has generally taken this honour in the US and also did so in the last race in Japan. He may only be starting from sixth on the grid, but could be overpriced at 14/1 to top the timesheets.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.