Grosjean’s sterling second half continues with runner-up in Austin (VIDEO)

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Romain Grosjean’s incredible second half of the season continued with his best result of the season in second place in the United States Grand Prix. It’s the Lotus’ driver’s second career runner-up finish, having also achieved the mark at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.

Grosjean’s last five results – third, third, third, fourth and now second – are the five best results in Formula One behind only Sebastian Vettel’s run of form. The podium is his sixth of the season in total and to celebrate after the podium, he wore a cowboy hat in the official FIA press conference.

As Grosjean admitted on the podium, coming in-between the Red Bulls today was the maximum possible.

“Yeah a good race; good start as I got past Mark and almost got Seb, but our car was working very well today,” he said to former Lotus F1 World Champion Mario Andretti. “The guys working in Enstone, to be between those two cars is our best. We have a podium here in the United States. It is great to come here and be back at a beautful track. Next year we need to be one step ahead.”

The Franco-Swiss has also, officially, been confirmed as the Enstone-based team’s number one driver for 2014. This has been assumed for some time, realistically since Kimi Raikkonen’s announced departure to Ferrari, but never made formal until the podium this afternoon. A race for the second seat is occurring between several drivers.

Raikkonen’s stand-in, Heikki Kovalainen, ended the race 15th after some mid-race contact that damaged his front wing. It extends an unfortunate streak as it was his 62nd consecutive Grand Prix without a point, a record in the sport.

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

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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.