Lewis Hamilton will arrive in Austin next week with a realistic hope of clinching his fourth Formula One world title in front of his beloved US fans. It's a position the three-time world champion couldn't even have dared to dream of prior to the summer break, having trailed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the first half of the season.

The Mercedes driver has described the situation as 'unbelievable' but now, with four races to go, Hamilton commands a handsome 59 point lead following Ferrari's Asian nightmare. Clinching his fourth title at the Circuit of The Americas would be a fairytale ending for the Brit, in a country where he is adored by fans and which he has constantly referred to in the past as being his 'real' home.

Hamilton the man to beat

It's also a track which he has enjoyed some serious success - an ominous warning to the prancing horses who are clinging onto increasingly desperate hopes of winning their first driver's title since 2007. Having clinched his third world title here in 2015 and won the past three races, Hamilton has already established himself as the man to beat around the hilly climbs of the circuit which is nestled in the vibrant heart of the Lone Star state.

While the chances of securing the title are admittedly slim, Hamilton must outscore Vettel by 16 points. The recent reliability woes of Ferrari will only boost the 32-year-old's bullish hopes of sealing the crown.

An opening lap smash in Singapore, a fight from the back of the grid in Malaysia and a faulty spark plug in Japan last time around has seen Vettel's championship fight come unstuck and hopes of Ferrari securing their first driver's title since 2007 slip away.

The sharp decline of Vettel's championship challenge will serve as a stark warning to Hamilton of the fickle fortunes of this hi-tech sport.

Among the greats

For Hamilton, a fourth F1 title would put him one ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart’s total and into some exceptional company while no doubt easing some of the pain of last year's title fight which saw his teammate and bitter rival Nico Rosberg narrowly clinch the title.

Only four other drivers have four or more titles: Vettel, Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.

By doing so he would become the most successful British racing driver of all time, on a track where Hamilton excels and in a country which revels in and has propelled his superstar status.

For Hamilton, it really would be the American dream.