F1 qualifying: Sainz leads Ferrari front-row lockout for United States Grand Prix

F1 returns this weekend with the front end of a North American doubleheader in Austin, Texas and the United States Grand Prix. With Max Verstappen already having clinched his second straight world drivers championship, the focus shifts to tight races for second – just one point separates Red Bull's Sergio Perez (253) and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc (252) – and fourth – Mercedes' George Russell (207) sits five points ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. (202).

Here is what you need to know to for the United States Grand Prix:

United States Grand Prix TV/streaming schedule

Fans in the United States can watch practices, qualifying and the race on TV via the ABC/ESPN family of networks or stream it via ESPN or F1TV Pro.

(All times ET)

Sunday, Oct. 23

Pre-race show: 1:30 - 2:55 p.m. (ABC)

United States Grand Prix: 2:55 - 10 a.m. (ESPN2)

United States Grand Prix starting grid

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Max Verstappen, Red Bull-RBPT

Sergio Perez, Red Bull-RBPT

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

George Russell, Mercedes

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin-Mercedes

Lando Norris, McLaren

Fernando Alonso, Alpine

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

Alexander Albon, Williams-Mercedes

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin-Mercedes

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri-RBPT

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri-RBPT

Kevin Magnussen, Haas-Ferrari

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Esteban Ocon, Alpine-Renault

Mick Schumacher, Haas-Ferrari

Nicholas Latifi, Williams-Mercedes

Top drivers and best bets for the United States Grand Prix

Verstappen is once again the heavy favorite for the race win as he is the only driver entering with a negative moneyline at -225 according to BetMGM. Perez and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton follow at +700 apiece, while Leclerc and Sainz Jr. both enter at +1000.

Owing to the track characteristics suiting the Red Bull powertrain, Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg is backing them in several areas: Verstappen to take pole (+100), Perez to secure a podium (+100) and Verstappen to score the race's fastest lap (+125).

As for history at Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton is the winningest driver at the circuit, claiming five of the first six race wins from 2012 - 2017, while Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel each have notched one win there. No race at COTA has been won from outside the front row, making Saturday’s twilight qualifying session all the more important.

United States Grand Prix weather

The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s. COTA's newly resurfaced tarmac (due to bumps from sinking ground beneath) shouldn't chew up tires even with the warm temperatures, meaning most teams will likely opt for a one-stop strategy.