Our F1 expert backs a Vettel victory and a rookie to star in America

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What has been a tight and tense championship battle throughout the year could come to an abrupt end this weekend in America as Lewis Hamilton closes in on a fourth drivers’ title.

Retirements for Sebastian Vettel in two of the last three races has seen a big gap open up between the rivals.

Hamilton can win the championship with a victory in Austin as long as Vettel finishes no higher than sixth. The Briton can also win thetitle if he comes in second and the German is no higher than ninth.

While the championship could be decided on Sunday, here are three race-specific markets to look out for in the United States.

Vettel to win the race @ 2/1

Hamilton and Vettel had a close battle for victory in first edition of the Austin race back in 2012, which resulted in the first of four wins in five years for the Briton.

This weekend, however, Ferrari should be suited to the Circuit of the Americas track, and the potential for high temperatures could also play into its hands.

With Ferrari having had two weeks to compose itself following the disastrous run of Asian races, don’t be surprised to see a response this weekend.

Alonso top six finish @ 10/3

This is a venue that has played to McLaren-Honda’s strengths in the past, with Fernando Alonso fifth here last year and Jenson Button sixth a year earlier.

The long straight hurts the team, but the rest of the lap is a good test of the chassis and Alonso has a strong affinity with the US after his Indy 500 appearance this year.

Stoffel Vandoorne has been on form recently but needs to take a power unit penalty at some stage, so Alonso is the better bet at 10/3.

Hartley points finish on debut @ 6/1

There will be a new name on the grid this weekend, with New Zealander Brendon Hartley coming in at Toro Rosso in place of Pierre Gasly as the Frenchman races in a Super Formula championship-decider in Japan.

Hartley is a former Red Bull young driver who’s chance comes as a result of Carlos Sainz moving to Renault early.

It will be a baptism of fire for the Kiwi, but Hartley has impressed in sportscars and won Le Mans this year, so his adaptability means a top ten result is worth an outside bet.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication

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