Lewis Hamilton can win a fourth driver's title on Sunday, which would draw him level with Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost. Vettel can still stop Hamilton, but the Briton holds a lead of 59 points.
Lewis Hamilton stands on the verge of a fourth world title with four races to go in the Formula One season.
All eyes will be on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Sunday, with only Sebastian Vettel being the only driver with a realistic chance of halting the Mercedes driver's charge towards glory.
In order for Hamilton, who leads Vettel by 59 points, to clinch the championship this weekend he must outscore the German by 16 points and teammate Valtteri Bottas by just three points.
Hamilton will become the drivers' champion if he wins the race and Vettel finishes sixth or lower. If the Briton finishes second, he will need to rely on Vettel finishing ninth or lower and Bottas failing to win.
If Hamilton finishes third, he cannot win the title in America and will be forced to wait at least another week, with the Mexico Grand Prix to be held on October 29.
In the constructors' championship, Ferrari must outscore Mercedes by 17 points if they are to maintain their slim hopes of winning.
Mercedes currently have a commanding 145-point lead over Ferrari, meaning a Mercedes win in Texas would secure victory.
Hamilton coy on 'take a knee'
In the lead up to Sunday's race, there has been some media speculation about whether Lewis Hamilton could go down to one knee in support of the ongoing protests by National Football League players against racial injustice. However, he has refused to confirm whether or not he intended to 'take a knee' in sympathy in Texas.
The Briton, the only black driver to have won the Formula One championship, has said that he was focused on winning the race rather than the widespread protests in the United States.
"I don't plan to let all the BS pull me down," Hamilton said. "I've worked hard to be here today and I have feelings about the whole situation, but at the moment I have no plans to do anything."
He added: "I know a lot of people in America so I get to speak to a lot of black and white people that live here. I get quite a good view of what's happening here and I get opinions from the Americans about the movement, which I think is pretty huge.
"You've seen I've posted about it because I respect it highly and I find the movement that Colin Kaepernick started awesome. I'm very much in support of it.
"But I'm here to win. That's really at the top of my priorities at the moment so I'm not really focused on anything else."
mds/pfd (AFP, Reuters, AP)