After a fortnight off, Formula One is now firmly on the home run now with four races left, starting with the 2018 US Grand Prix.
With Lewis Hamilton currently 67 points clear of Sebastian Vettel, its only a matter of time before the title race is settled but there is plenty of business lower down the field to settle between now and next month.
Circuit: Circuit of the Americas
Number of Laps: 56
Race Distance: 308.405km
Tyres: Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft
With just three races remaining after this, it means that should Lewis Hamilton have a lead over 75 points, he can seal the title here.
Below, you can see the title permutations by Press Association because there are so many scenarios at play here.
In the event that Hamilton hits the 75 point mark exact, he can’t win it here because it’s possible yet unrealistic that Vettel could win on countback if he won the following three and Hamilton failed to score at any of those races.
That such scenario would leave both drivers with nine wins apiece but the Brit has clinched one more second placed finish which will hand him a fifth title.
Five meanwhile seems to be Hamilton’s magic number coming into this weekend as he aims to win not only his fifth championship but also five straight US Grand Prix wins around this circuit.
Should he achieve that feat, it will be a record breaking conseutive US GP winning streak and beat Michael Schumacher’s record of four victories around Indianapolis from 2003-06.
This weekend could also be rain affected at some stage, which is ominious given Hamilton’s prowess in the wet compared to Vettel and Ferrari.
Therefore, could we have a five time British World Champion come Sunday evening?
Can Haas Deliver at Home?
Currently eight points behind Renault in their battle for fourth, Haas will be looking to deliver on home soil.
Although the Circuit of the Americas has yielded just one top ten finish (Romain Grosjean – 10th in 2016) so far for the American outfit, Romain Grosjean believes that the atmosphere will be “special” but “There’s still room for improvement” in all areas as Haas aim for their first double points finish in Texas.
Circuit of the Americas however has three different types of sectors from the sector one esses to a tight and twisty sector three, meaning that a strong all round car is required if Haas is to produce a strong “rodeo ride” performance as Kevin Magnussen described the track.
If there’s a driver beside Hamilton who loves this circuit, its Max Verstappen who has produced plenty of stunning performances in three races around here despite never getting onto podium, having recorded a pair of fourth placed finishes for Toro Rosso and Red Bull respectively either side of his 2016 retirement with gearbox troubles.
With weather forecasts predicting rain to hit at least one session this weekend, this could well be Verstappen’s terrority if he can pull out another wet masterclass which has been missing this season.
Hungary and Belgium saw rain hit at least one part of qualifying and Verstappen’s issues in those sessions were “lack of grip” and “luck”. Now that sufficient time has passed between those sessions, we should definitely see improvements in the wet from Verstappen and some others but the Dutchman is definitely one to watch if rain does hit Saturday or Sunday.