Lewis Hamilton won the world championship with two races to spare last year and he could go one better at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.
What’s more, if Mercedes continue their recent run of form he’s likely to get it. A repeat of any of the last four race results – all won by Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel no higher than third – would seal the deal.
To clinch a fifth world championship on Sunday, Hamilton needs to take at least eight points off Vettel, something he’s already done eight times this year.
If Vettel fails to score in this weekend’s race Hamilton would only need sixth place to win the championship.
Hamilton won the world championship at the Circuit of the Americas in 2015, when there were also three rounds to spare. On that occasion he arrived at the track with a 76-point lead over rival Nico Rosberg, compared to the 67-point lead he has over Vettel.
If Hamilton and Vettel end the year tied on points Hamilton will be champion as there is no way Vettel can beat him on count-back of wins and second places.
If Sunday’s race is shortened and half points are awarded Hamilton can only become champion by finishing in the top two places: By winning with Vettel no higher than sixth or by finishing second with Vettel no higher than ninth.