United States GP: Can Lewis Hamilton wrap up title at a track where he has dominated?

Lewis Hamilton United States GP
Hamilton is on the verge of joining Juan Manuel Fangio as a five-time world champion

In a country where they say anyone can make it, a young man from Stevenage stands on the brink of greatness this weekend.

After Lewis Hamilton banked his ninth win of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix, the champagne corks could well be popped in earnest in America come Sunday night.

The Mercedes driver will win his fifth world title if he takes the chequered flag in Austin and rival Sebastian Vettel finishes in third place or lower. Even if Hamilton does not win at the Circuit of the Americas, he will be champion if he outscores the Ferrari driver by eight points.

And a quick check of the form guide reveals that betting against a Hamilton win would be unwise.

Lewis Hamilton will win the world title if he wins in America and Sebastian Vettel comes third or worse
If Sebastian Vettel does not pick up any points in America then Lewis Hamilton will only need to finish sixth

Of the six grands prix held in Texas, the Briton has won five, including four on the bounce between 2014 and 2017. The inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas, held in 2012, was also the stage for Hamilton's final win for McLaren.

The 2013 race stands as Hamilton's only Austin failure, the plaudits that day instead going to Vettel, whose win was his eighth in succession - breaking the record for consecutive victories he had shared with Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari.

Fast forward to the present day and those glory days of four title wins in a row are but a distant memory for Vettel, who finds himself facing another year without silverware.

The Ferrari driver needs basic team tactics and his own concentration to be on point if he is to stand any chance of rejoining the title fight this weekend, but even if everything goes smoothly for the Prancing Horse, the imperious Hamilton will take some stopping.

Lewis Hamilton United States GP
The Circuit of the Americas wasn't always so colourful. The purpose-built 5.5km track was once home to rabbits and rattlesnakes, with organisers fearing it would not be completed on time. Developer Bobby Epstein said upon its completion: "It might be one of the greatest construction stories since the Empire State Building."

Flashback quiz

Austin has been the host of the United States Grand Prix since 2012.

Before then, the race bounced around different venues like a star-spangled beach ball.

In total, nine circuits have hosted the event since the world championship began in 1950.

Spoiler alert: three of the venues were featured in the same season in 1982.

Five minutes are on the clock.

Go.

How many venues can you name?

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Answers

Previously in F1: Round 17 - Japan

Sebastian Vettel
Another fine Ferrari mess: Sebastian Vettel was quick to spot the error in the Scuderia's Q3 tactics when a set of intermediate tyres on a dry track meant a trip back to the pits to fit some slicks. Bye bye front row and hello ninth on the grid. Lewis Hamilton breezed to an 80th career pole, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas alongside him.
Lewis Hamilton wins the Japanese GP
It's not over until it's over etc, etc... But the title race is almost wrapped up for Hamilton after his ninth win of the season. Vettel was the architect of his own downfall when an opportunity to pass Max Verstappen into Spoon didn't go to plan. The German did manage to swipe a crumb of Hamilton's glory, however, by nabbing fastest lap of the day. Result.

The track

Circuit of the Americas

Back-pocket facts - USA

  • The Nutty Narrows Bridge in Washington was specifically built to help squirrels cross the road. Constructed in 1963 by local builder Peter Amos, witnesses have reported seeing young squirrels being taught by their parents how to use the bridge to avoid busy traffic.
  • With a whopping 45 letters in its name, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts is the longest place name in the United States. Based in the town of the Webster, there are three different versions of the name, each with a varying number of g's.
  • There is a secret swimming pool hidden in the Mojave Desert in California. The 11x5ft pool installed by visual artist Alfredo Barsuglia, needs a set of keys from Los Angeles and GPS coordinates to enable lucky travellers to take a dip for 24 hours.
  • Movie stars John Wayne and Chuck Norris are honorary Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers are the oldest law enforcement agency in North America with state-wide jurisdiction.

Drivers' social

Valtteri Bottas
Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton

How to follow on BBC Sport

BBC Sport has live coverage of all the season's races on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, plus live online commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app - including audience interaction, expert analysis, debate, voting, features, interviews and video content.

All times BST and are subject to change at short notice.

United States Grand Prix coverage details
DateSessionTimeRadio coverageOnline text commentary
Thursday, 18 OctoberPreview19:30 20:00BBC Radio 5 live
Friday, 19 OctoberFirst practice15:55-17:35BBC Radio 5 live sports extraFrom 15:30
Second practice19:55-21:35BBC Sport online From 19:30
Saturday, 20 OctoberFinal practice18:55-20:05BBC Sport online From 18:30 (continuous)
Qualifying21:55-23:05BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
Sunday, 21 OctoberRace19:00-21:00BBC Radio 5 liveFrom 17:30
Monday, 22 OctoberReview04:30-05:00BBC Radio 5 live

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