You see, if you only see one Formula 1 race a year, you can do it this weekend too, when the lonely American race in the calendar (for the time being) comes to Austin, Texas. This is to be expected before the US Grand Prix on Sunday.
What is the US Grand Prix?
The F1 has been running in the US for decades, and some of these events did not go so well. The F1 returned to America after a five-year absence in 2012, with a Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. The series has since come to COTA every year, but not without much drama and fears that the race would not make the F1
Circuit of the Americas, a 3.4-mile course with 20 turns and a sharp first corner, S-turns and many other tight corners, is the leader of Lewis Hamilton's own personal playground.
Hamilton is good, to put it simply. He has won five of the six F1 races that were won according to the Racing Reference archive, and the only other driver to win at COTA in 2013 is his biggest rival Sebastian Vettel.
There may soon be more than one F1 race in the US as the new American F1 owners want to race across the calendar. A Miami Grand Prix on a road course should be scheduled for 2019, but that has already been postponed to at least 2020, and F1 has also entered custody for potential Grand Prix racing at the Las Vegas Grand Prix and Grand Prix of New York.
But for now, COTA has been dibs as the only US F1 date for at least a couple of years.
Where are we in season?
The US Grand Prix is the 18th of 21 races this year. We have a more comprehensive guide to the F1 2018 season here in general, but the bottom line is: The top three teams of the last racing season are Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, all of whom have a constant advantage over the rest of the season, and the semi-predictable finishing positions among each other – they are all interchangeable, but when you place bets, you count on Mercedes first, then Ferrari, then Red Bull.
Hamilton remains the Mercedes star and his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, becomes uncommon roped into the following team orders to support Hamilton's championship leadership. Ferrari has Vettel, who is second in the championship, but already that it does not make a big difference, and the 38-year-old Kimi Raikkonen, who will go to Alfa Romeo Sauber after this year and will be replaced by a younger driver Charles Leclerc.
Red Bull has Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, the first of whom placed some extra curbs at COTA after a big pass last year. Ricciardo will leave Red Bull for Renault after this year
Will the F1 2018 title be decided this weekend?
That's a good question, given all these discussions about how Hamilton is so far ahead of his closest challenger in the table. The short answer here is: maybe.
The championship looked as though it would be very close and competitive between Hamilton and Vettel for the first part of the racing season, as Ferrari actually seemed to have an advantage. A few mistakes later that almost all went down the drain and we are now on clinching scenarios in the US race. Basically, if Hamilton finishes well enough and Vettel finishes low enough in the race, Hamilton's championship can run several races early in Austin.
That would not be the first time that happened.
Here are the clinch scenarios for Hamilton this weekend, all summarized in a nice little graphic on COTA's Twitter account. If he does not make it this weekend, he'll probably be sooner than later.
Since Hamilton is so good on the track, there is a great danger for him to land near the front (in the first place) Wreck in the first corner. They happen sometimes.
An additional complication: The weather in Austin is bad this weekend, with temperatures in the unusually low (for Texas) mid-60s and a heavy rain probability – possibly even floods – bad. We expect a race.
How can people at home follow the race?
We have reached the point where you say "U-S-A!" Scandal and think about how much fun it would be to see one of the world's biggest international racing titles on the floors of red, white and blue. Here's how and when you sing the Grand Prix from Sunday afternoon on Sunday afternoon.
When: Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 pm. ET
Where: Circuit of the Americas at Austin, Texas
US TV Station: ABC, coverage at 13:30 ET
Streaming About F1: F1 TV Pro, $ 11.99 a month, or $ 99.99 a year
Live Updates without Video: F1 TV Access, $ 2.99 a month or 26 , $ 99 per or just create a Twitter list of F1 accounts and follow for free.
There are also practice and qualifying sessions, with qualifying consisting of three elimination rounds that decide on the starting grid. Qualifying is at 17 o'clock. ET on Saturday, with coverage on streams or ESPN News in America
Get your Stars and Stripes pajama pants on, whether you're attending the race or watching it at home, and get ready for a fun – because that is hopefully that.