Hamilton's title chances enhanced by Vettel's grid penalty

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of sealing a fifth Formula One championship at the United States Grand Prix this weekend have been boosted by nearest title rival Sebastian Vettel incurring a three-place grid penalty.

Ferrari driver Vettel was punished for failing to slow down sufficiently under red-flag conditions during Friday's first practice session in wet weather at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

Hamilton has a 67-point advantage in the overall standings having won the previous four races, and a fifth successive victory would be enough to ensure the Mercedes driver claims the title this weekend should Vettel finish third or lower.

And Hamilton looked like a man determined to do his part in that equation when he topped both of Friday's practice sessions.

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