Lewis Hamilton enters the United States Grand Prix this weekend knowing a fourth Formula One world championship is within touching distance.
Four wins from his past five outings - the only blemish a runners-up finish in Malaysia - allied with some misfortune for primary title rival Sebastian Vettel, have propelled Hamilton into a 59-point lead with four races to come.
Victory in Austin, where he has won in each of the past three years, combined with Vettel finishing outside the top five, would see Hamilton claim glory and move alongside the Ferrari man on four world titles.
If Hamilton can only take second, Vettel would need to finish ninth or lower for the Mercedes man to be spraying the champagne come Sunday.
It could be a double celebration for Mercedes, who will secure the constructors' championship if both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas claim a podium finish, regardless of placings.
At the opposite end of the field, Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley looks likely to start his maiden F1 race at the back of the grid due to an accumulation of engine penalties.
But all eyes will be on Hamilton, who could join exalted company in equalling Vettel and Alain Prost's tally of four world championships. Only Juan Manuel Fangio (five) and Michael Schumacher (seven) have more.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM PRACTICE
Once again, Hamilton looked in complete control during Friday's practice, going quickest in both sessions and setting a new lap record around Circuit of the Americas in FP2 at one minute and 34.668 seconds.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who signed a new deal through to 2020 earlier in the day, celebrated by going second quickest, just under four tenths slower than the championship leader.
Vettel spun into the gravel during FP2 but came back out and was third fastest, 0.524secs adrift of Hamilton, and the German seemingly has it all to do to prevent the Mercedes man claiming a fourth straight win in Texas.
Like Verstappen, Fernando Alonso signed a fresh contract this week but it was much the same story in FP1 for the McLaren man as he suffered a hydraulic leak and did not set a time. He did return in FP2 to go seventh quickest.
Carlos Sainz out-paced his new Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in both sessions and there was further bad news for the German after it was announced he would be hit with a 20-place grid penalty for using a fifth engine, turbo and MGU-H.
Alonso's McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne is set to be pushed back 10 places for using his eighth engine of the season.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 306
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 247 (-59)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 234 (-72)
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) – 192 (-114)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) – 148 (-158)
1. Mercedes – 540
2. Ferrari – 395 (-145)
3. Red Bull – 303 (-237)
4. Force India – 147 (-393)
5. Williams – 66 (-474)
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Lewis Hamilton
2014: Lewis Hamilton
Isolated thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday, which could play havoc with qualifying. Clear skies are forecast for Sunday's race.
|Rabiot would be a great signing for Barcelona – Xavi|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Dolphins owner Ross: National anthem policy a ´placeholder´|
|Boga leaves Chelsea for Sassuolo|
|Schurrle in talks to leave Borussia Dortmund|
|Guardiola happy with Mahrez and Man City despite loss|
|Dodgers top Brewers in Machado´s debut|
|Raptors GM apologises to DeRozan after Spurs trade|
|Manchester City 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Gotze spoils Mahrez´s debut in ICC opener|
|United fans keeping De Gea at Old Trafford – Herrera|
|Keita: I turned down Barca and Bayern for Liverpool|
|Merritt stays ahead as rain halts Barbasol Championship|
|Roma had to sell Alisson to Liverpool, says Totti|
|Donald Trump: Kneeling players should be suspended without pay|
|Cardinals´ Carpenter makes history|
|Nationals pair Strasburg, Zimmerman activated from DL|
|Premier League-linked Plattenhardt feels at home at Hertha|
|Johnson expecting tough Granollers challenge|
|Good Luck at last! Colts quarterback fit for training camp|
|Haase humbles Rublev as Cecchinato charges on|
|Benzema hits back at ´crazy´ De Laurentiis over age jibe|
|Leeds Rhinos finally end winless streak in Super League|
|No freaky Friday for Spieth as he bounces back in round two|
|Double boost for Bouchard in Gstaad|
|Iconic Ronaldo to raise Serie A level - Roma´s Hamm|
|Brighton birthday boy March renews contract|
|Lamela hoping injuries are behind him after signing Tottenham extension|
|Where will I get my massage? - Roma´s Pallotta mocks UEFA ban|
|Rashid struck by Lightning amid speculation over Test recall|
|Major misses a mixed blessing for Fowler and Kuchar|
|Fleetwood, McIlroy and Spieth bare teeth as Kisner and Johnson lead|
|The Open 2018 diary: Fleetwood´s swinging in the rain, but it´s a slog for McIlroy|
|Fees agreed as Fabri closes in on Fulham move|
|Neymar and Mbappe have a very good relationship, claims PSG president|
|Boufal joins Celta Vigo on loan from Southampton|
|Leicester sign Ward from Liverpool amid Schmeichel speculation|
|Kisner philosophical after run-in with the Barry Burn|
|Gattuso unsure of Bonucci future|
|Verdasco, Gasquet advance but Ruud´s run is over in Bastad|
|James to remain at Bayern Munich, says Rummenigge|
|Texans QB Watson expects to be fit for training camp|
|Torpedo Moscow deny cancelling player´s contract over racist abuse|
|Napoli decry Cavani, Di Maria rumours as fake news|
|Kisner feels the Burn, Spieth on the surge|
|Woods: I could have cleaned up my round|
|Lille swoop for free agent Fonte|
|Sagan completes hat-trick after bunch sprint|
|´Amateur´ DFB needs Lahm´s help - Rummenigge|
|Horner expects Ricciardo new deal ´pretty quickly´|
|Diakhaby swaps Monaco for Huddersfield|
|Tottenham´s Lamela signs to 2022|
|Atletico´s Rodrigo excited to wear Simeone´s 14|
|F1 Raceweek: Red Bulls steal show from Mercedes but Ricciardo to start from back|
|Fakhar hits historic double hundred as Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe|
|Roma president Pallotta hit with three-month UEFA suspension|
|Hamburg extend contract of coveted youngster Jann-Fiete Arp|
|Steady start for Kisner as Woods endures mixed day at Carnoustie|
|Zach Johnson: Dustin comparisons are unfair|
|Neymar backs Tite for Brazil despite World Cup failure|
|Vinicius wants to play with ´idol´ Neymar but Perez calms transfer talk|
|One hundred not out for Els at The Open|
|Magnificent Maharaj takes eight wickets to stymie Sri Lanka|
|If I lose I´ll go down swinging - McIlroy ready for Carnoustie battle|
|UEFA confirms AC Milan reinstated to 2018-19 Europa League|
|Fleetwood: Open Championship is the one for me|
|Canberra coach Stuart brands bunker ´waste of time´ after controversial Cronulla loss|
|Son signs five-year Tottenham extension|
|Fleetwood cards fine 65 to share Open lead|
|WATCH: Evra belts out Bocelli in Ronaldo welcome video|
|I´ll always carry Roma in my heart, says Liverpool signing Alisson|