Sebastian Vettel is on the cusp of wrapping up his historic third consecutive drivers' title, after totally dominating the weekend so far in Austin. If the pole-sitting German can steer his Red Bull...
If the pole-sitting German can steer his Red Bull to victory on Sunday, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will have to move up from eighth on the grid to fourth at the finish to keep the championship mathematically alive for next weekend's Brazil finale.
Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali admitted a bad qualifying has put Alonso in "a very difficult position" for the title.
But Alonso, who has defied logic with his 'glass completely full' attitude in the face of Vettel's recent dominance, insisted late on Saturday he has a "feeling" Sunday in the USA will go his way.
"Think of the goal," said the Samurai-quoting Spaniard on Twitter once he returned to his hotel after qualifying, "not how difficult it is to reach."
Vettel, however, moved to deflect the significance of his championship 'match point' on the eve of his 100th grand prix by insisting he and Mark Webber will on Sunday focus only on wrapping up the teams' title for Red Bull.
And his boss Christian Horner warned that Ferrari, while weak in qualifying, poses a "dangerous" threat for the race.
"It's easy to talk," Domenicali is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, "when you're that far ahead.
"We'll try to regain a bit of enthusiasm and recover for the grand prix."