Lewis Hamilton can become just the third man to win five Formula One world championships this weekend to seal victory in his battle with Sebastian Vettel, with the British driver poised to wrap up the title with three races to spare.
The 33-year-old from Stevenage can follow in the footsteps of Juan Manuel Fangio if he wins at the Circuit of the Americas by claiming a fifth drivers’ championship, providing rival Vettel does not follow him home in second.
Should Vettel finish third or worse and Hamilton win, the battle will be over, the race will be won, and what looked to be one of the closest title fights we’ve seen in recent years will somehow finish much earlier than anyone expected, making the final three grand prix in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi redundant in the process.
The odds are firmly stacked in Hamilton’s favour, too, with the Briton looking for a fifth consecutive victory in Austin and an eight in total at the United States Grand Prix.
But if Hamilton doesn’t win, what are the permutations that would still bag him the title?
Hamilton will win the title if:
- He wins and Vettel finishes third or lower
- He finishes second and Vettel is fifth or lower
- He finishes third and Vettel is seventh or lower
- He finishes fourth and Vettel is eighth or lower
- He finishes fifth and Vettel is ninth or lower
- He finishes sixth and Vettel is 11th or lower
Should Hamilton fail to finish inside the top six, he will not be able to wrap up the championship until the next grand prix in Mexico at the very least.
It means that the key figure in the battle to keep the championship alive could well be Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, given that if he can follow Hamilton home and bag a Mercedes one-two, there is no way that Vettel can keep his faint hopes alive.
When is it on?
Saturday: Qualifying – 10pm BST
Sunday: United States Grand Prix – 7.10pm BST
What TV channel is it on?
The United States Grand Prix will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 (5.30 BST) and Main Event (6.30pm BST) and Channel 4 (6pm BST).
You can also watch the race live on NowTV by purchasing a Sky Sports Day Pass for just £7.99.