AUSTIN (REUTERS) - After qualifying fifth on Saturday (Nov 2), Lewis Hamilton said he is not expecting any miracles at the US Grand Prix.
But the Briton may not need one to claim a sixth drivers' title.
If anyone is in need of a bit of divine intervention, it is Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who breathed a bit of life into his remote title chances by taking the pole for Sunday's race.
The last man with a chance of denying Hamilton another title, Bottas needs a win in Texas and for his teammate to not score a single point if the fight is to be extended to the next race in Brazil.
That seems unlikely, however. Hamilton can seal his sixth title on Sunday if he finishes eighth or higher, regardless of where Bottas finishes.
Only once in 18 races has Hamilton finished outside the top eight, placing ninth in Germany.
"I don't look at this race as particularly important," said Hamilton. "There is still two more after this; I approach it exactly the same. I'm not looking to pull out miracles tomorrow."
Despite another title being within his grasp, Hamilton was still in full competition mode hours after a lackadaisical qualifying effort.
In seven previous races at the Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton had never started anywhere but on the front row, winning five times.
Hamilton, 34, seemed annoyed but unconcerned with his qualifying performance.
"Sometimes you don't get it," he said, shrugging as he sipped from a teacup. "The car was fine."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was clearly perplexed about what prevented his cars from sweeping the front row.
"I think we did some really good work from yesterday to today, and Valtteri drove a really good lap. But then, it was not perfect because we have a car in one and a car in five," Wolff said.
"We need to figure out how we can overcome that tomorrow."