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8 October 2017, 07:35
Lewis Hamilton could clinch the 2017 F1 world title as early as the United States GP on October 22.
Sebastian Vettel's early retirement in the Japanese GP, his second in the last three races, has given Suzuka race winner Hamilton an unexpected early opportunity to wrap up his fourth world crown with three races to spare at the next Grand Prix.
Although an outside chance, Hamilton will become world champion if he outscores Vettel by 16 points at the Circuit of the Americas.
Hamilton has eight wins in 2017 to Vettel's four, so is certain to win any tie-break scenario if he is 75 points ahead after Austin with 75 still to play for.
Mercedes are, however, likely to wrap up their fourth consecutive Constructors' Championship in Austin.
They are 145 points ahead of Ferrari and the Scuderia must now outscore them by 17 points to take the battle on to Mexico. Ferrari have only managed that once this season, at May's Monaco GP.
Race Report: Hamilton takes giant stride to title
Hamilton's record in the USA is peerless: he has won the Grand Prix five times in six appearances, with victories in each of the last three seasons.
He clinched his last world title at the Circuit of the Americas in 2015 with victory over Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton is the only driver to finish in the points at every race this season, winning eight races and finishing on the podium three other times.
In the five races since F1's summer break, there has been a 73-point swing in Hamilton and Vettel's duel for the Drivers' Championship with the Englishman winning four times and finishing second in the other event.
Don't miss this week's F1 Report as Natalie Pinkham is joined by Marc Priestley and GP3 leader George Russell to round up and discuss all the stories from the Japanese GP. Watch on Wednesday, October 11 at 8:30pm on Sky Sports F1.
(c) Sky News 2017: Lewis Hamilton could win F1 2017 world title at the United States GP