Kobayashi hoping for better at Caterham’s home race

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Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi has said that he needs to make the most of practice on Friday if he is to bounce back from a disappointing Australian Grand Prix at the next round in Malaysia (March 28-30).

The Japanese driver completed just one lap on Friday in Melbourne due to a variety of problems with his CT-05 car, meaning that he was left playing catch-up for the rest of the weekend. He did manage to qualify an excellent 15th in the rain, but his race lasted just one corner due to a brake failure.

“The way we bounced back in qualifying in Melbourne showed a little bit of what we can do, but without any real laps in FP1 or FP2 we only had a very small chance to fight,” Kobayashi explained. “With a proper Friday and Saturday programme we can give ourselves the opportunity to show the true pace of the car, and prepare much more for the race.

“Obviously, I’d like to also make sure I don’t have the same brake problems that caused the accident in turn one in Australia – without that I think we’d have had a strong race and we’ll work as hard as we can to give ourselves the chance to really perform.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix also marks Caterham’s home race, with team owner Tony Fernandes hailing from Kuala Lumpur and owning airline company AirAsia. For Kobayashi, the grand prix at Sepang takes on extra importance, but he takes courage in his previous performances there.

“The second race of the year is Malaysia and it’s our team’s first home race of the year, so it’s going to be a good week!” he said. “I’ve obviously raced there a few times before, and finished in the points in 2011.

“This year it would be great if we were able to fight for a point, but we’ll have to make sure we have a better Friday than we did in Australia if we’re going to have a stronger weekend at Sepang.”

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.