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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).

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.