WATCH LIVE: Hamilton chases third straight pole in Bahrain

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After dominating all three practice sessions so far this weekend in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are the firm favorites to score a third straight pole position in 2014 under the lights on Saturday evening.

You can watch qualifying on CNBC and Live Extra from 11am ET. CLICK HERE for live stream.

Hamilton is looking to go back-to-back this weekend after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix last time out, but he will have to fend off teammate Nico Rosberg who is the current world championship leader.

Even if the battle for pole is an inter-team affair, there is an interesting battle developing further back. Ferrari appears to be in better shape this weekend, whilst Red Bull’s upturn in fortunes could put the defending champions in a position to vie for a podium. In the dry, the other Mercedes-powered teams of McLaren, Williams and Force India could also show their true colors.

This year’s Bahrain Grand Prix is particularly special as it is a night race for the first time, and this has certainly given the event some added character and atmosphere. The Bahrain International Circuit looks spectacular under the lights, and the racing should be equally as enthralling this weekend.

Remember, you can watch qualifying on CNBC and Live Extra from 11am ET.

CLICK HERE for live stream.

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.