GIVEN how the 2018 season started, it’s rather bizarre to know that if Lewis Hamilton scores eight more points than Sebastian Vettel this weekend he will be crowned the 2018 F1 champion. It was not that long ago that Vettel himself enjoyed a “comfortable” lead in the title race. But since the Belgian Grand Prix it’s not only evaporated but has also swung appreciably, emphatically even, towards Hamilton and Mercedes. It’s not about to get any easier for the Italian team either. This weekend’s race is in Texas and around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) where Hamilton has been near impossible to beat. He’s won around COTA on five previous occasions that include a hat trick of victories in the last three races. Add to this a win at Indianapolis in 2007 it is clear that Hamilton is very much a North American specialist. As if to add insult to Ferrari’s noticeably low level of morale, the Mercedes car is likely to shine in Texas. Designed by Herman Tilke, COTA’s first sector is noticeably ruled a fast and flowing esses section somewhat akin to Silverstone’s iconic Maggots-Becketts complex though a more elongated version. At 5.5km in length the circuit further comprises medium to high-speed corners that will reward a good aero package, right up Mercedes alley. Added to this are a few big braking points preceding hairpin turns which will encourage overtaking. There have been several American teams who have tried to cut it in F1 but few have done as well as Haas has in its short existence. Despite its tardy start to the season, Haas is proving to be more than a thorn in Renault’s side. With the added lift of home ground advantage they have a relatively good chance of overhauling the French team this weekend.But as intriguing as the midfield battle may be, all attention will be on Hamilton as he stands on the cusp of becoming only the third ever five-time world driver’s champion.