AUSTIN, Texas (dpa) – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lock horns in Texas on Sunday at the United States Grand Prix where Hamilton can take another step towards his second Formula One world title.
Hamilton’s win ahead of Rosberg two weeks ago at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix assured their Mercedes team of the constructors’ world title, and the Briton increased his lead over Rosberg to 17 points with three races left.
Winning the maiden race in Sochi further boosted the confidence of the 2008 champion Hamilton as it was his fourth in a row and ninth of the season.
He also has fond memories of the Circuit of the Americas as he topped the podium there at the first race in 2012, for McLaren.
If all goes well on Sunday for Hamilton he has the chance to wrap up the title the following Sunday, November 9, in Brazil, even though double points (50 for a victory) will be awarded at the season-ender in Abu Dhabi on November 23.
But, with a maximum 100 points still available, the long-time season leader Rosberg is ready to fight until the last lap of the 19-race season in order to create a late turnaround.
Both drivers delighted in the constructors’ title as the first award for an utterly dominant season, and Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said that both men remain on equal terms in the drivers’ finale.
The Austin race has been an instant hit in the first two editions, not only for the teams and their business interests, but also among local fans.
The title race adds to the excitement this time around but there is also a damper because the financially struggling Marussia and Caterham teams will not be present.
This reduces the field to 18 cars, the lowest since Monaco 2005, but could at least help the still reigning champion Sebastian Vettel a little bit in his expected catch-up effort.