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.
|You´ve got to have balls - Simeone hails defiant Atletico|
|Wenger refuses to blame Koscielny for Griezmann goal|
|Muguruza reveals back injury forced Stuttgart retirement|
|Marseille still underdogs against Salzburg, says Payet|
|Wenger rues ´worst possible´ goal from Griezmann|
|Griezmann: Oblak is the best goalkeeper in the world|
|Besiktas refuse to complete abandoned Fenerbahce semi-final|
|´Better mentality´ key to improved Nadal showing|
|Barba injury threatens to overshadow Saints´ rout of Salford|
|Marseille 2 Red Bull Salzburg 0: Thauvin, N´Jie earn semi-final advantage|
|Arsenal 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Griezmann smuggles vital away goal for 10-man Atleti|
|Woods to return at Wells Fargo Championship|
|Hamilton: Respect between Vettel and I has grown|
|Mourinho: Chelsea sold Salah, not me|
|Vrsaljko and Simeone sent off in dramatic start to Arsenal v Atletico|
|Kerber and Muguruza retire from Stuttgart Open|
|Khan planning major Wembley refurbishment if bid is accepted|
|Panthers respond to alleged Jerry Richardson victim´s expose|
|Cazorla trains at Emirates after injury agony|
|Kings XI crumble as Rashid spins Sunrisers to success|
|Costa makes Atleti bench as Ozil returns for Arsenal|
|Wozniacki´s comeback edges out Errani|
|Dimitrov fends off match points as Nadal cruises through|
|Two men remanded in custody over Liverpool fan attack|
|Sweet 16 for Nadal in swatting aside Garcia-Lopez|
|Liverpool book ´extraordinary´ Rome meeting to plan fan safety|
|Burnley confirm Arfield, Marney departures|
|Under-fire Montella acknowledges Sevilla in ´very bad´ form|
|Wilder jibe motivated Fury to embark on road to recovery|
|Jerome Boateng to ´fight´ for World Cup place after season-ending injury|
|Luckless Roland-Jones out for the season|
|Ricciardo denies Ferrari rumours|
|Khan won´t relocate England national teams if Wembley bid is accepted|
|Additional World T20 to replace Champions Trophy in 2021|
|Ibrahimovic will not play at the World Cup, says Swedish FA|
|Oates inspires Broncos victory over Rabbitohs|
|FA confirms offer made to buy Wembley Stadium|
|Quarterback-needy teams must drown out noise of NFL´s silly season|
|Betis would welcome Ceballos back with open arms – Joaquin|
|Turkey submits Euro 2024 bid to rival Germany|
|Meyer ´definitely´ leaving Schalke, confirms Heidel|
|Rank outsider Jin leads China Open|
|Buffon apologises for snubbing fans after Napoli defeat|
|Semenya appears unimpressed with IAAF hyperandrogenism rule|
|UEFA charges Bayern Munich over pitch invasion and banner|
|Police charge two over Liverpool fan attack|
|Shields in the dark over England availability|
|Hearn: Wilder´s $50million Joshua offer a PR move|
|Bayern were naive and reckless – Kimmich|
|Salah a nightmare to train against – Alexander-Arnold|
|Ramos: If Iniesta was Andresinho, he would´ve won Ballon d´Or|
|Marlins upset Kershaw, Dodgers to win first series|
|Thunder overturn 25-point deficit to avoid elimination, LeBron buzzer-beater lifts Cavs|
|Guadalajara 1 Toronto 2 (3-3 agg, 4-2 on pens): Mexican hosts win CONCACAF Champions League|
|Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer part ways|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Palmeiras advance, Nacional claim crucial win|
|WATCH: LeBron James sinks three for buzzer-beating win|
|I´m the best defender in Serie A, says Inter´s Miranda|
|Real Madrid still relying on Bale – Zidane|
|´I don´t f****** want to´ – Harvey refused to talk about bullpen debut|
|Wilder´s camp extends $50m offer for fight with Joshua|
|Ramos: Madrid were expected to win 3-0 but Bayern are difficult|
|Boateng casts doubt over Bayern future|
|Salah a Ballon d´Or contender, says Lovren|
|Muller demands killer mentality from Bayern at Bernabeu|
|Cavs´ Hill ruled out of game five with back spasms|
|Kimmich: Bayern should have beaten Madrid 7-2|
|Brewers´ Thames placed on DL with torn thumb ligament|
|Heynckes: We gave Real Madrid two goals|
|Wenger intends to ´play in Europe again´|