Fontana Update: Kyle Busch up front

Leave a comment

Kyle Busch re-took the lead from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and polesitter Denny Hamlin on a Lap 96 restart and currently paces the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway at the halfway point.

Busch has led 55 of the initial 100 laps, as he looks to bring JGR and Toyota their first Sprint Cup victory at ACS after winning the Nationwide Series’ 300-miler there yesterday.

Hamlin has been steady up front all day, while his current rival, Joey Logano, has risen to third after qualifying within the Top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has jumped from 15th at the start to 4th after 100 laps, and Matt Kenseth, the third JGR driver, sits in fifth.

Starting from the rear of the field, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski have had different fortunes today trying to get back up front. Biffle has managed to climb up to tenth place, but Keselowski was hit with a speeding penalty on pit road during the most recent yellow period and sits 23rd.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.