Lewis Hamilton may have already wrapped up the 2018 drivers’ world championship but there is still plenty to play for in the all-important constructors’, which determines the amount of prize money that each team receives from the distributed pool.

Just two races remain in what is a crucial period of the season to settle this year’s finishing order. The 10 competing teams will be rewarded from the prize money allocation pot that is divvied up in F1’s meritocratic system, which sees teams earn more the higher they finish up the table.

Mercedes versus Ferrari

Following the celebrations of Hamilton’s title triumph during a “bittersweet” Mexican Grand Prix, Mercedes’ attention now switches to ensuring it continues its perfect record of winning every single constructors’ title on offer so far in the V6 hybrid era (2014-2018).

“Our target for this season was to win both championships, not one title or the other, so our mindset is one of unfinished business as we head to Sao Paulo,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

“The constructors’ championship that pays the mortgage of the colleges and the Christmas gifts. And that one is still out there and is still on.”

Mercedes heads into this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix with a reasonably comfortable buffer to chief rival Ferrari, despite losing ground to the Scuderia in Austin and Mexico City. The German manufacturer holds a 55-point advantage with 86 left up for grabs, meaning the Silver Arrows would seal the championship in Brazil by getting both cars onto the podium.

For Ferrari to have any chance of keeping the title battle alive until Abu Dhabi’s showdown at the end of November, it must outscore Mercedes by at least 13 points in Sao Paulo. Even in that scenario, Mercedes would remain the firm favourite heading to Abu Dhabi.

Only an unforeseen set of circumstances, such as Mercedes suffering a repeat of its disastrous double DNF from Austria, would enable Ferrari to realistically claim its first world championship since 2008.

The midfield battle rages on

Red Bull sits in an already guaranteed third spot, leaving Renault and Haas as the main protagonists battling it out to be named ‘best of the rest’ behind F1’s leading three teams in 2018.

A failure to net any points in Austin or Mexico has severely dented Haas’ bid to overhaul Renault, with the French manufacturer logging top 10 appearances with at least one of its cars in the last three races to pull 30 points clear.

“If you would have asked me last year if I would sign for fifth place next year, I would have said 'yes, give it to me!' But then again, you get into it, and you’re never happy,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told Crash.net.

“If you’re competitive, you’re never happy with what you have achieved. You always want more. That is not being greedy, that’s just being competitive. I think we are having a good year. It’s not good enough, obviously, but in the end, no, we are happy.”

The American squad should at the very least hold onto fifth, which would represent a big improvement on its previous best finish of eighth place from the past two seasons and subsequently land it a greater share of prize money.

McLaren is 22 points behind Haas and just 15 points ahead of the rebranded Force India squad after the Silverstone squad forfeited its previous tally following its summer takeover. Both teams have struggled to score consistently in recent rounds, and without a big swing in Force India’s favour, both are likely to hold station.

What about the rest?

Sauber has continued its impressive run of form into the second half of the season and has managed to leapfrog Toro Rosso in the standings by three points following its second double points finish of the year in Mexico.

Further big results in Brazil and Abu Dhabi could help Sauber challenge for seventh, though solidifying eighth is a more realistic target, and one that would reflect a brilliant rise from its bottom-of-the-table finish from 2017, as well as providing a welcome financial gain.

Williams looks destined to remain in last place after enduring a torrid campaign. The British squad’s lowly tally of just seven points has the team requiring a miracle result if it is to avoid propping up the 2018 order.