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How Lewis Hamilton can become F1 world champion at the USGP

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Following his eighth victory of the season on Sunday in Japan, Lewis Hamilton can mathematically clinch his fourth Formula 1 world championship in two weeks’ time at the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton wrapped up his third title in 2015 at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas (pictured), having enjoyed an edge on Mercedes’ teammate Nico Rosberg throughout the season.

Hamilton’s advantage has been much, much smaller this year, only for a collapse from Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel to put him on the brink of winning the title in Austin.

59 points clear with four races and 100 points to go, Hamilton needs to be 75 ahead after the USGP to wrap up the title with three races to spare.

To win the title in Austin, Hamilton needs to outscore Vettel by 16 points. Even if Vettel were to finish tied on points at the end of the year by winning all of the following three races, Hamilton would win it by virtue of having more victories.

There are two ways for Hamilton to achieve this in Austin:

  • If Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points) and Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), he is world champion.

If Hamilton does not finish in the top two in Austin, the title race will continue to Mexico regardless of where Vettel finishes.

While Hamilton is by no means guaranteed to be crowned champion at COTA, Mercedes does look set to wrap up its fourth straight constructors’ title with three races to spare.

Mercedes currently leads Ferrari by 145 points and needs a lead of 129 after Austin to clinch the title. Ferrari must therefore outscore it by 17 points just to keep the title race alive for another round.

Put simply, even if Ferrari were to score a one-two, Mercedes would secure the title by finishing third and fourth (43 – 27 = 16).

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.