We arrive in Austin this weekend with Mercedes Constructors' World Champions and Lewis Hamilton just one race victory away from becoming a three-time Drivers' World Champion, providing Sebastien Vettel doesn't finish higher than third of course.
After his dominance at the Russian Grand Prix, following Nico Rosberg's throttle issues, Hamilton has been coy on his chances of winning the World Championship in Austin. But with his impressive record of winning two out of three races here, it's hard to see any other outcome.
Of course, Vettel himself has also won in Austin but that was during the Red Bull-dominated years, and with the Circuit of The Americas lending itself to the cars with the most engine power it's likely to be a Mercedes one-two on the starting grid, with Hamilton likely to pull away from the start.
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Rosberg to help out Hamilton?
Rosberg knows that the Championship has once again passed him by and is now a case of when, and not if, Hamilton will win the title. Will Mercedes use Rosberg as a buffer between Hamilton and Vettel, if himself and the current World Champion do indeed start side by side on the grid, or will they allow the team-mates to duel? I expect the Brit would prefer the former, but that will be a decision for Mercedes to make and who's to say Rosberg will listen.
Taking into account the track layout and the cars that impressed here last season, I suspect both Williams drivers will be vying for a position at the top end of the pack, along with at least one Force India and the second Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen. I would not be surprised if the Toro Rosso boys and Red Bull were there or thereabouts, having impressed in recent races.
Mercedes duo tipped for success
Austin has two DRS zones to aid overtaking, the first is down the long pit straight up to a heavy braking point in turn one, the second is an even longer straight between turn 11 and 12, just before a very technical part of the track.
I am confident the top three will consist of Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg, but the battle for the remaining points is wide open with any of the teams mentioned above capable of challenging for a good chunk of points.
It's doubtful McLaren can back up their good result in Sochi, despite them bringing an upgraded engine to Texas, but one of their cars in the points would be a good result for them at a track they are not really expected to do well at.
Can Hamilton secure his third Drivers' World Championship in Austin this weekend? Give your opinion in the comment box below!
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