After 18 grand prix, just ten points separate the remaining two challengers for the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship as we await the final two race of the year in the unknown quantities of Austin, Texas and the legendary cauldron of Interlagos, Brazil.
However, as Formula 1 enters the Americas, the gulf in class between Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari means by the chequered flag next Sunday in Texas, we could already be crowning Vettel world champion for the third successive time.
It would be an immense achievement. He would become only the third driver in 60 years to do so, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher in the pantheon of dominance.
Yet statistics are rarely the things that get F1 fans’ blood flowing. The gripping nature of this championship stems from a simple question, can Alonso possibly beat Vettel?
We all know what Alonso can do. He is the odds-beater, the magician, he is determination personified, with drives such as his victory from 11th on the grid in Valencia his speciality.
But the sheer speed of the Red Bull RB8 means Alonso will have to conjure up a Derren Brown size trick to overcome this one, with Adrian Newey’s technical genius combined with Vettel’s talented driving stacking the odds up against the talismanic leader of the Maranello squad.
Even if Alonso leaves Texas still in the championship hunt, his challenge won’t diminish, as a Red Bull has won in Brazil for the past three years. In fact the past two years have both been glorious Red Bull 1-2s.
The intensity of the duel for the title means it might be easy to overlook other significant stories of the next two weeks.
Lewis Hamilton is determined to take one last victory for his McLaren team, and with the speed he displayed at Abu Dhabi, that is definitely within his grasp. A Hamilton win at the very place where he took his dramatic World Championship four years ago in the most dramatic circumstances possible would surely be one of F1’s greatest stories.
Here we have great stories ready to climax on one of Formula 1’s greatest seasons. So there is only one thing to ask, Are you ready?