After 19 races, only 13 points separate Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, both double world champions looking to step into an even more elite club.
Very few drivers have three F1 championships to their name, and they're all legends: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham and Nelson Piquet.
In recent years, the Brazilian Grand Prix has provided the backdrop for a couple of intense championship deciders. In 2007, Kimi Raikkonen won from third on the grid to take the world title by a single point over Lewis Hamilton and Alonso.
In 2008, Hamilton needed only to finish fifth or better (if Felipe Massa won the grand prix) to win the world championship. But under wet conditions, even that possibility looked to be in doubt. Massa, indeed, finished first, but Hamilton did not reach fifth position until the final corner of the final lap.
This year, again, the forecast in Sao Paulo calls for rain. But both title contenders sounded confident, coming off the podium at the United States Grand Prix last weekend.
"We've been very quick in Brazil the last couple of years so plenty to look forward to," said Vettel in Austin, where Red Bull Racing won the constructors' title. "On top of that, we increased our lead in the championship today so I think we are in the best possible position."
Said Alonso: "We will try to go to Brazil with the possibility to fight for the world championship which is something that we fight for all through the year and we arrived in that fantastic position."
Vettel and Alonso are the only two drivers with a mathematical shot at the title. Here are the various ways either could take their third world titles...
Vettel is world champion if:
- He finishes fourth or better
- He finishes fifth, sixth or seventh and Alonso doesn't win
- He finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso is third or lower
- He finishes 10th or worse and Alonso isn't on the podium
Alonso is world champion if:
- He wins and Vettel is fifth or lower
- He finishes second and Vettel is eighth or lower
- He finishes third and Vettel is 10th or lower
- Multimedia track guide to Interlagos in Brazil
- Gallery: Red Bull Wins 2012 Constructors' Title at the United States Grand Prix
- Video: Road to the 2012 Constructors' Championship