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Friday November 16, 2012
Lap distance: 5.516km (56 laps, total distance 308.896km)
Start time: 1900 GMT (1300 local)
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel can win his third successive championship this weekend, with a race to spare. If he does, he will be only the third driver to achieve three in a row. The others are Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-57) and Germany’s Michael Schumacher (2000-04).
He will be the ninth triple champion since 1950 if he scores 15 points more than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He last achieved that margin in Japan in October and has done it on three occasions this season so far.
Scenarios: If Vettel wins, Alonso must finish fourth or higher to stay in contention. If Vettel is second, Alonso needs to be at least eighth. If Vettel is third, Alonso must be 10th or higher. Should Alonso fail to score, Vettel must still finish at least third.
All time list of champions: seven - Schumacher. Five - Fangio, Four - Alain Prost (France), Three - Jack Brabham (Australia), Jackie Stewart (Britain), Niki Lauda (Austria), Nelson Piquet (Brazil), Ayrton Senna (Brazil).
Red Bull are set to clinch their third constructors’ championship in succession, becoming only the fourth team to perform the feat after Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.
Vettel has won five races this season. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton have both won three. Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Jenson Button have won twice.
Kimi Raikkonen’s triumph in Abu Dhabi made him the eighth different winner this season. The championship started with an unprecedented run of seven different winners in the first seven races (Button-Alonso-Nico Rosberg-Vettel-Pastor Maldonado-Webber-Hamilton).
Ferrari have won 219 races since the championship started in 1950, McLaren 180, Williams 114 and Red Bull 34.
One more win for Red Bull would put them level with Brabham and Renault in the all-time lists.
Schumacher holds the record for driver victories with 91. Alonso has 30, Vettel 26, Hamilton 20, Kimi Raikkonen 19.
One more win would lift Alonso level with Britain’s 1992 champion Nigel Mansell as fourth equal in the all-time list. One more win for Vettel would put him level with Stewart, who retired after 99 races.
Schumacher’s last win was in China with Ferrari in 2006.
Vettel took 15 pole positions in 2011, the most anyone has achieved in a single season, but has been on pole only five times this year. Red Bull took a record 18 poles last year.
Vettel has 35 poles to his credit. Only Schumacher (68) and the late Ayrton Senna (65) managed more. Hamilton has 25 and Alonso 22.
Ten of 18 races this year have been won from pole.
Caterham (formerly Team Lotus and Lotus Racing), Marussia (Previously Virgin Racing) and HRT have yet to score a point in nearly three seasons of competing.
McLaren chalked up 56 consecutive races with at least one car in the points at the last race in Abu Dhabi, beating Ferrari’s record of 55.
Raikkonen has finished his last 15 races in the points, the best scoring run of his career.
Eleven different drivers have set the fastest race laps in 18 grands prix so far.
Sunday’s race marks Formula One’s return after a five-year absence.
The 20 turn (11 left, nine right) Circuit of the Americas is one of five anti-clockwise tracks on the calendar. The others are Singapore, South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
Austin will be the 10th US venue to host a grand prix..
The other nine are Sebring (Florida), Riverside (California), Watkins Glen (New York), Phoenix (Arizona), Dallas (Texas), Detroit (Michigan), Las Vegas (Nevada), Long Beach (California) and Indianapolis (Indiana).
The Circuit of the Americas is the first purpose-built F1 circuit in the United States.
The Indy 500 was part of the F1 championship from 1950 to 1960, although few Formula One drivers made the trip.
Vettel celebrates his 100th grand prix start this weekend. His first Formula One race was also in the United States, at Indianapolis with BMW-Sauber in 2007.
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