F1 US Grand Prix 2014: How soon could Lewis Hamilton win the Drivers' Championship?

The battle between Hamilton and his rival Nico Rosberg looks set to go down to the wire, but here's a way that it might end sooner than you think

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Lewis Hamilton currently leads the 2014 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship by 17 points over his nearest rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg following four consecutive victories.

Having been knocked off track by Rosberg in the opening exchanges of the Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton has gone on to won four races on the spin in Monza, Singapore, Suzuka and last time out in Sochi.

He’ll attempt to make it five this weekend when the F1 circus takes to the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, but how far away is he from the earliest possibility of winning a second Drivers’ Championship having won his maiden title in 2008?

The one certainty is that Hamilton can’t win the title this weekend even if he wins and Rosberg fails to finish. Those circumstances would result in Hamilton taking a 42 point lead with two races remaining.


The problem here is Bernie Ecclestone’s brain child that is the season-ending double-points on offer in Abu Dhabi, which means the winner will collect a generous 50 points in the final race of the season. That is likely to keep the battle for the Drivers’ Championship alive until the final corner of the 2014 championship, where either Hamilton or Rosberg (or in extraordinary circumstances Daniel Ricciardo) will be crowned the best driver on the planet.

However, Hamilton can ensure that double-points doesn’t come in to the equation by wrapping up the title before he heads to Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton wins this Sunday and Rosberg fails to finish, Hamilton would need to score eight points more than his rival in the penultimate race in Brazil to secure a second crown.

To put this into simpler terms, winning in both the United States and Brazil with Rosberg failing to finish one of those races and finishing third or worse in the other would be enough for Hamilton to start celebrating. If Rosberg was able to salvage a second place, he would take the battle to the final race of the season, though he would trail Hamilton by 49 points with 50 on offer to the race winner.

Hamilton celebrates winning the Drivers' Championship in 2008

That means Hamilton would either have to retire from the race or finish outside the top 10 while Rosberg powers to victory to secure a maiden title, but the prospect of double-points in Abu Dhabi certainly aids Rosberg’s chances rather than hinder them.

All of that though could easily go out of the window this weekend, and Hamilton has insisted he is taking things one race at a time – and rightly so. All it would take is something as little as the contact between the two Mercedes drivers at Spa, or as big as an engine failure that would cause immediate retirement, to change the momentum in the battle to be Number One.