TWO extremely driven sports-men from these fair isles could find their current surges for world domination unhinged as their respective quests reach their conclusion.

Lewis Hamilton leads F1 drivers' championship by 17 points with just three races remaining, while a run of 22 largely undefeated matches in 35 days have propelled Andrew Murray from a flagging 11th spot to seventh in the worlds points to qualify him for the tennis climax to the season - the ATP World Tour finals.

Yet the immense endeavours both have made could come to nought and not entirely of their own making.

That latter points is particularly pertinent and ominous for Hamilton.

The Mercedes roars into this weekend's USA Grand Prix 17 points clear of his team-mate and arguably keenest rival Nico Rosberg.

But even if the Brit were to win in America and then in the penultimate grand prix in Brazil, his drive for a championship might then be stalled at the last race of the calendar at Abu Dhabi on November 23.

That's when, for the first time, a new rule comes into force whereby double points are available. That throws up the prospect of Hamilton winning the next two races, and provided Rosberg remains in contention, being pipped by his unfriendly ally say if Hamilton's car were to suffer a technical malfunction in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton, who has won no fewer than nine races so far this season as Mercedes have effectively led a procession of the other high-octane mobile altars to engineering and cash, was unsurprisingly critical of the double-bubble available in Abu Dhabi at the end of this month.

Said the driver: “You get to the last race, with all the work you have done through the season, and then you don’t get off the line, or your car goes on fire in qualifying.

"You never know what is going to happen. But I have been there before and I know what it is like to go to the last race and lose the championship."

Emulating the majority response to the Abu Dhabi points-plunder, Hamilton pondered: "The question is, what is fair? This is a rule they have brought in for the first time. It is the way it is, and we have to deal with it and hope for the best, but it would suck if that was the case."

Determined not to be affected by "negative energy", Hamilton acknowledged that the Abu Dhabi system was set up at the outset of the season so everyone was aware of the possibility just around the corner. But Hamilton's inapt choice of phrase that "everyone will be in the same boat" - no Lewis, you need a car - is incorrect because there are only two rivals for the championship when it could be double or bust.

Meanwhile, Scots ace Murray completed his thrust from a dismal season to a prized place in the end of year finale between the world's top eight at London's O2 arena.

He embarked on a schedule to test anyone's physical condition let alone that of a p;layer whose year started under the cloud of a debilitating back injury.

Over the last two months it's been have racquet will travel as he seized on wildcards in events he would probably have ignored had he enjoyed a loftier position in the world rankings.

But now after achieving his aim of advancement into the top eight for next month's capital showdown, could that then prove one tournament too many with all his energy and stamina sapped by his Stakhanovite work-load?

For those home supporters in the O2 it is to be hoped another Murray hurrah can flare otherwise all his efforts will have been in vain.

Fantasy to farce

THIS week was the 40th anniversary of the greatest night in boxing's fantastic folklore.

The Rumble in the Jungle saw Muhammad Ali conquer not just the younger, bigger, harder-hitting granite-hewn world champion that was George Foreman, but also be crowned king of Africa and re-establish himself as the then planet's most feted sportsman.

It was the fight of all fights because of who the protagonists were, because it was held in Zaire, were heavyweight hype reached stratospheric proportions and because the showdown broke all the moulds that went before.

And soon after the anniversary of the epic encounter there is the rumour that football's Roy Keane may be joining the cast of that jungle bungle of sleb-dom "I'm a prat, get me out of here..." Jeez.