Circuit of The Americas: The Ultimate Track Guide

Circuit of The Americas has been the permanent home of the United States Grand Prix since the event returned to the calendar in 2012. The Texas track is a modern venue with an old school character, and takes inspiration from iconic circuits.

TRACK LENGTH3.400 miles
MOST POLESLewis Hamilton (3)
MOST WINSLewis Hamilton (5)

While the history of a Grand Prix in America harks all the way back to the early Twentieth Century, Formula 1’s presence in the country has not always been so permanent. Thus far, there have been ten different tracks which have hosted Formula 1 races in the United States. Before Texas, the event was held at Indianapolis in the early years of the new millennium. After a farcical event in 2005 which saw only six cars take the start, and a declining reputation of F1 in America, Indianapolis didn’t renew their contract when it came to an end in 2007 and F1’s tenure in America thus ended.

The idea of reviving the United States Grand Prix was first seriously proposed in July 2010. At a press conference, Tavo Hellmund announced plans to build the first purpose-built F1 track in the country, 25 minutes south east of Austin.

Circuit of The Americas track map

The area of undeveloped land on which the track was to be built was originally proposed to be a residential area called Wandering Creek. Work began on the track at the very end of 2010 and the track was officially given the name ‘Circuit of The Americas’ in April 2011.

Building of Circuit of The Americas was suspended in December 2011 due to a dispute over the contract, though things were settled and work began again in January 2012. The completion date was pushed back to August 2012 – just three months before the first scheduled Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, leading to some doubts that the venue would be ready in time. Nonetheless, Charlie Whiting visited the track in June 2012 and declared himself happy with the circuit.

The asphalt was laid over August 2012 and Circuit of The Americas was opened a month before the inaugural Grand Prix took place here. Mario Andretti completed the first laps of Circuit of The Americas in the Lotus 79 – the car which he won the 1978 World Championship with. Over 100,000 fans attended the first Grand Prix at Texas.

Circuit of The Americas in 2016

Circuit of The Americas was designed by Hermann Tilke. It takes a number of features inspired by classic racing tracks, such as the complex between turns three and seven, which is based on Silverstone’s legendary Maggotts-Becketts- Chapel complex, while turns sixteen, seventeen and eighteen are reminiscent of Istanbul’s famous turn eight.

The 2020 United States Grand Prix was cancelled in July 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. F1 returned in 2021 and, following a surge of interest in the sport in America, weekend attendance figures at Circuit of the Americas are now over 400,000.

Circuit of The Americas holds a contract to host the U.S. Grand Prix until 2026. In 2022, Miami also hosted its first Grand Prix, with the Miami Grand Prix taking place around the Hard Rock Stadium. There was another new American race on the calendar in 2023 – the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which took place as the penultimate round of the championship in November.



  • There is an elevation change of 40m around Circuit of The Americas, one of the highest of the season. The track features an unusual hill on the approach to the first turn.
  • Some of the turns at Circuit of The Americas are wider to allow the drivers to take different lines into the corner and to help improve overtaking.
  • Circuit of The Americas runs anti-clockwise.
  • The weekend has become much more than an F1 event, with Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake performing over the United States Grand Prix weekend in recent years.
  • The skyline at Circuit of The Americas is dominated by an observation tower, which offers fans a 360 degree view of the track. The tower is 77 metres high.
  • 640,000 cubic metres of materials were used to construct Circuit of The Americas.
  • Circuit of The Americas cost $400 million to construct, with a workforce of around 1,700.
  • The 2012 race at Circuit of The Americas was the first time Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso finished on the podium together.


Norris led the opening stages on Sunday on his 100th Grand Prix appearance, but Verstappen claimed victory in both races over the 2023 United States Grand Prix weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo returned to the AlphaTauri cockpit for the 2023 United States Grand Prix having recovered from the hand injury he sustained at Zandvoort earlier in the year. With this being a Sprint weekend, there was just one hour of practice before qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix began.

Charles Leclerc secured Friday’s pole position in a close four-team fight between Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren. Max Verstappen had set a time good enough for pole but the lap was deleted due to him exceeding track limits.

It was close again in Saturday’s Sprint Shootout, where Verstappen secured the front spot, with Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris all less than 0.101 seconds slower. Leclerc challenged Verstappen into Turn 1 at the start of the Sprint but didn’t make the move stick, which allowed Hamilton to take his second place.

All drivers had started on the medium tyres except Carlos Sainz, who made up one position to run fourth on his soft tyres after passing Lando Norris by the end of Lap 1. By Lap 10, the McLaren had found its way back past the Ferrari and Sainz lost more places to Sergio Perez’s Red Bull on the next lap and to George Russell on Lap 14.

Lance Stroll retired from the Sprint in what was turning out to be a disappointing weekend for Aston Martin. Verstappen secured victory in the Sprint by just under ten seconds, finishing ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc.

On Sunday, Leclerc and Norris lined up on the front row and it was the McLaren which led after Turn 1 following a speedy start. Leclerc then came under pressure from Ferrari team-mate Sainz later around the lap but managed to stay ahead. By Lap 6, Hamilton found his way by Leclerc for second place.

Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri were early retirements in the Grand Prix, while Verstappen – who had started sixth – began his rise through the field, passing both Ferraris. Verstappen pitted at the end of Lap 17 and when Hamilton pitted on Lap 21, the Red Bull was ahead on track with only Norris ahead of him. By Lap 28, Verstappen was on the McLaren’s tail and made his move at Turn 12.

It was expected that Norris would try to make a one-stop strategy work but he pitted for the second time at the end of Lap 34. Verstappen pitted two laps later, coming out just a few seconds ahead of Norris. Unable to make a one-stop work, new leader Hamilton then pitted on Lap 39, while on-track Verstappen passed Leclerc to resume the lead.

From there, Verstappen led all the remaining laps and claimed yet another win in the 2023 season and the 50th of his career. Hamilton overtook Norris for second place in a close fight between the British duo.

After the race, however, both Hamilton and Leclerc – who had finished sixth – were disqualified from the race due to excessive wear on their rear skid blocks. It promoted Sainz onto the podium, while both Williams were promoted into the points. That made Logan Sargeant the first American driver to score a point in over 30 years, doing so on home soil.


While polesitter Sainz was eliminated on Lap 1, Verstappen’s victory at Circuit of The Americas aided Red Bull to their first Constructors’ Championship win since 2013. 

There was one eye on the future in Free Practice 1 for the United States Grand Prix, with a number of drivers making guest appearances, such as Logan Sargeant, Theo Pourchaire, Alex Palou and the returning Antonio Giovinazzi – the latter doing himself no favours in the quest for a Haas seat in 2023, crashing out early on in the session. 

Ferrari set the fastest two qualifying times, with Carlos Sainz taking pole position on pace for the second time in his career. Charles Leclerc was second but moved down to 12th on the final grid, promoting Max Verstappen onto the front row. Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate also had a grid penalty, dropping him to ninth and seeing both Mercedes drivers line up on the second row. 

Verstappen jumped ahead of Sainz at the start of the race, while the Ferrari was tagged by George Russell at Turn 1. Verstappen had a healthy lead from Hamilton at the end of the first lap, while polesitter Sainz was forced into retirement. Russell picked up a five-second time penalty for the incident.

Aston Martin had a strong start to the race, with both cars running inside the top six. They soon started losing positions, however, when faster cars behind – the likes of Perez and Leclerc – came by. Nicholas Latifi encountered a spin, as did Valtteri Bottas on Lap 18 bringing out the Safety Car. The Safety Car was well timed for both Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who each pitted under Safety Car conditions.

Racing resumed for only half a lap before the Safety Car was called out again, this time as a result of Fernando Alonso colliding with the rear of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin. The Canadian was given a three-place grid drop at the next race for causing the crash. Stroll was out of the race, while Alonso was miraculously able to continue despite being airborne in the incident. 

As the race passed its halfway point, Leclerc went wheel to wheel with Perez, passing him for third place. Verstappen and Leclerc both pitted a few laps later, with the Dutchman delayed by a slow stop, allowing Leclerc to pass him. Verstappen soon battled back on track but faced some difficulties passing the Ferrari. He finally made it past on Lap 39.

Having not yet made a second stop, Vettel led the race for a few laps – the last time he would do so in his career – until he was passed by Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton led without needing to make another stop, with a four second margin over Verstappen.

Verstappen caught Hamilton with six laps to go and the pair duelled for the lead. Verstappen was able to get ahead and stay ahead, securing victory. On fresher tyres, Vettel was on a charge towards the end of the race, coming back from outside the points to pass Kevin Magnussen for eighth place on the final lap. Hamilton and Leclerc joined Verstappen on the podium. 

Perez’s fourth place ensured Red Bull won their first Constructors’ Championship since 2013. It was a particularly emotional day for the team, with Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz having passed away over the race weekend.


400,000 fans attended the 2021 United States Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen took another win in search of his first title.

Formula 1 returned to Circuit of The Americas for the first time since 2019 following an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and George Russell all took grid penalties after using new power unit parts.

It was a familiar sight at the front of the grid, with Max Verstappen lining up alongside Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen attempted to cover Hamilton’s pass on the run into Turn 1, but the Mercedes driver took the advantage. The McLaren and Ferrari drivers went wheel to wheel on the opening lap, with Lando Norris very nearly completing a double overtake on his team-mate and Carlos Sainz.

After the first round of pit stops, it was Verstappen who emerged ahead thanks to the undercut. Fernando Alonso battled with the Alfa Romeo drivers, encountering contact with Kimi Raikkonen and being forced to give a position back to Antonio Giovinazzi after gaining an advantage off track. Alonso later became one of three retirements from the race – team-mate Esteban Ocon and his fellow Frenchman Pierre Gasly were also resigned to the sidelines.

Verstappen made his second stop with 26 laps to go, while Hamilton came in two laps later. Hamilton chased Verstappen to the line, but was unable to prevent the Dutchman from winning. Verstappen took victory by little over a second. The McLaren/Ferrari battle raged on as Ricciardo and Sainz made contact, with the Australian eventually coming out on top. Of the drivers who started from the back, Bottas and Vettel were able to recover to points-paying positions.


Lewis Hamilton secured his sixth Drivers’ Championship after finishing as runner-up to team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the 2019 United States Grand Prix.

Lando Norris was the surprise name at the top of the timesheets at the end of Q1 at Circuit of The Americas for the 2019 United States Grand Prix, but it was business as usual in Q3. Valtteri Bottas took pole position by twelve thousandths of a second, but his team-mate Lewis Hamilton managed only fifth on the grid.

Bottas maintained his lead at the start of the race, while Alex Albon made contact and had a slight airborne moment at the first turn. Sebastian Vettel, who started second, began to fall down the field and was out seven laps later with suspension failure.

While other cars opted for a two-stop strategy, Hamilton tried a one-stop approach, which led to Bottas being behind his team-mate after his stop. The Finn soon found a way past Hamilton but was behind him once again after his second stop. With five laps remaining Bottas requested ‘no talking’ on the team radio and a battle for the win ensued. Hamilton forced Bottas wide, but the Finn came back one lap later and assumed the lead of the race.

Bottas won, but all eyes were on Hamilton, who secured his sixth Drivers’ Championship and celebrated with a round of donuts. Max Verstappen completed the podium trio, while Charles Leclerc scored the additional point for fastest lap of the race.


Kimi Raikkonen ended his win drought with a popular win in Texas as Lewis Hamilton took one step closer to the 2018 title.

After some wet running in Free Practice at Circuit of The Americas, Qualifying was held in the dry. Max Verstappen was forced to start from near the back of the grid after a car failure in Q1 while Lewis Hamilton took pole. Sebastian Vettel took a three place grid drop for failing to slow for red flags in Free Practice.

It was Kimi Raikkonen, who started alongside Hamilton on the front row, and the Finn led after the first turn. Further back, there was contact in the midfield leading to the retirements of Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean. Vettel span after making light contact with Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap, sending him to the back of the field. Meanwhile, Verstappen made his way up from eighteenth on the grid to sixth in the first seven laps, but his team-mate suffered engine issues and came to a halt at the side of the circuit, prompting a Virtual Safety Car period.

Hamilton pitted under the VSC, while race leader Raikkonen stayed out. It wasn’t long before the Mercedes driver was right behind the Finn once again and, as Hamilton attempted an overtake, Raikkonen came into the pits for his one and only stop of the afternoon. Verstappen followed a similar strategy to Raikkonen, while Hamilton pitted for a second time a number of laps later.

With three laps to go, the top three were separated by just 1.5 seconds, though they crossed the line in the same order, with Raikkonen ending his 114-race win drought and scoring a popular victory. Vettel finished fourth after overtaking Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, keeping his slim title chances alive.


YearPolesitterTeam On PoleWinnerWinning Team
2012Sebastian VettelRed BullLewis HamiltonMcLaren
2013Sebastian VettelRed BullSebastian VettelRed Bull
2014Nico RosbergMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2015Nico RosbergMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2016Lewis HamiltonMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2017Lewis HamiltonMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2018Lewis HamiltonMercedesKimi RaikkonenFerrari
2019Valtteri BottasMercedesValtteri BottasMercedes
2021Max VerstappenRed BullMax VerstappenRed Bull
2022Carlos SainzFerrariMax VerstappenRed Bull
2023Charles LeclercFerrariMax VerstappenRed Bull
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