Austin, Texas – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton enters this weekend’s 2015 United States GP (October 23-25) on the cusp of winning his third Drivers’ title.
He is the 2015 season’s best driver, winning nine races and collecting 11 pole positions.
We take a look at what Hamilton will need to do in order to grab his third Drivers’ title on Sunday.
Formula 1 statistics for the 2015 US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas:
Lap distance: 5.513km. Total distance: 308.405km (56 laps)
Race lap record: Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min39.347
2014 pole: Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
2014 winner: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
Race start time: 9pm (SA local time)
Tyres: Medium (white), Soft (yellow)
Hamilton can take his third drivers’ title, and second in a row, in Austin if he scores two points more than team mate Nico Rosberg and nine more than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A Mercedes 1-2, with Rosberg second, would do it.
Hamilton would be the first British driver to take back-to-back titles and only the second (the other being Jackie Stewart)to win three championships.
Only nine other drivers have won three or more titles and only nine have won back-to-back titles, Vettel being the most recent.
Mercedes clinched their second successive constructors’ title, with four races to spare, in Russia on Oct 11.
Mercedes has had eight one-twos in 2015 and won 12 of the 15 races.
Hamilton has won nine. No driver has ever failed to take the title after winning eight or more races in a season. Hamilton won 11 races last year.
Four-times world champion Vettel has won three races for Ferrari this season. That is the same number that Michael Schumacher won in his first season at Ferrari in 1996.
WATCH: Ferrari preview the 2015 US GP
Hamilton and Vettel both have 42 career wins, putting them joint third on the all-time list behind Schumacher (91) and Alain Prost (51). Fernando Alonso has 32 wins, Kimi Raikkonen 20, Jenson Button 15 and Rosberg 11.
Ferrari have won 224 races, McLaren 182, Williams 114 and Red Bull 50. Mercedes have won 41.
McLaren have not won for 53 races, a run that dates back to Brazil 2012 and is the team’s worst since they also went 53 races without a win between the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix and 1981 British GP.
Hamilton has been on pole in 11 of 15 races this season, Rosberg three. The Briton has 49 career poles, Rosberg 18. Vettel has 46 career poles.
Only two drivers in F1 history have had 50 poles or more: Michael Schumacher (68) and Senna (65). Rosberg has been on pole in the last two races, without winning either.
Ten drivers from six teams have been on the podium in 2015; Hamilton, Rosberg (Mercedes), Vettel, Raikkonen (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa (Williams), Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Sergio Perez (Force India).
Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel have shared the podium in seven races. Rosberg has been second on six occasions this season.
Vettel has had 11 podium finishes so far this year, more than in his title-winning 2010 and 2013 seasons.
Hamilton leads Vettel by 66 points and Rosberg by 73.
US Grand Prix
F1 has raced at 10 different venues in the United States over the years. Austin is hosting a race for the fourth time.
Manor Marussia’s Alexander Rossi will be the first US driver to start a home F1 race since Scott Speed with Toro Rosso at Indianapolis in 2007.
The Californian made his race debut in Singapore last month and is the 48th American to have started a regular championship Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Vettel are the only drivers on the starting grid to have won previously in the United States. Hamilton has won two of the three races in Austin to date and three of the last four in the United States.
Vettel is the only driver to have won in Austin from pole (2013). Hamilton has yet to start from pole in Texas.
Rosberg was on pole in Austin in 2014.
Sauber are celebrating their 400th grand prix this weekend. Their first was South Africa 1993. In that time they have won once (as BMW-Sauber), taken 26 podiums and one pole position.