Just four rounds remain of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, and the task for Lewis Hamilton is simple. He needs to win them all, starting with this weekend’s US Grand Prix.
The reigning champion trails team-mate Nico Rosberg by 33 points, and the German racer knows he can afford to finish second in each of the remaining events and still claim his first world crown.
In short, this season’s championship is no longer in Lewis’ hands.
Rosberg’s title odds of 1/6 make clear the size of Hamilton’s quest, but at least the Circuit of the Americas offers the 31-year-old a return to a happy hunting ground.
The triple champ has won three of the Texas venue’s four Grand Prix since 2012, and memorably pounced on a late Rosberg error to claim last season’s race – and the title.
At 6/5 apiece, the bookies can’t split the sparring rivals ahead of Sunday, but it’s worth noting that Lewis has only won six times this year to Rosberg’s nine.
The German has simply made fewer mistakes, and is on course to join dad Keke as only the sport’s second father-son champions.
But Lewis needn’t throw in the towel just yet, and there’s plenty of inspiration from the sport’s history books to learn from.
No fewer than 10 champions have had to come from a points-deficit equal to or greater than the one Hamilton faces right now.
Indeed the Stevenage-born ace knows full well about late comebacks from his debut season in 2007.
The Brit had one hand on that year’s title with two rounds to go, and led Kimi Raikkonen by 17 points with just 20 left to play for.
But Lewis’ hopes were dashed thanks to a Chinese pit lane and a gearbox failure, as the Finn won the final two races to steal the crown.
This won’t go down as one of Hamilton’s vintage seasons, but there’s still time to save it. As long as he starts now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing