Britain's Lewis Hamilton took a significant step towards securing his second World Championship crown after overtaking title rival Nico Rosberg and claiming his fifth consecutive win at the United States Grand Prix in Austin yesterday.
The 29-year-old snatched his 10th victory of the season with a late move down the inside of Rosberg, with the lead over his Mercedes team-mate now standing at 24 points, with 75 available in the two remaining races.
Hamilton overcame brake problems experienced in qualifying to secure the 32nd win of his career, which propels his status to the most prominent Briton in Formula One history in terms of race victories, surpassing 1992 champion Nigel Mansell.
Although the double points available during the final race in Abu Dhabi means the destination of the drivers’ championship will not be determined until proceedings reach Yas Marina, Hamilton took time to acknowledge his achievement.
“I’ve been so fortunate, this is an incredible team, I have an incredible car and I’m really grateful to be up front,” said Hamilton. “I’m also so proud to be representing my country and to be top of the driver wins is quite special.”
While Hamilton won on American soil for the second time in three years, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo again produced another strong showing to finish third which ends the Australian’s mathematical hunt for honours, although the destination of the championship has been heading to the Mercedes stable for some considerable time.
Brazilian driver Felipe Massa finished in front of Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas in fourth, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso crossed the line in sixth ahead of outgoing four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen came home in eighth with Jean-Eric Vergne ninth, while Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado placed 10th to finish in the points for the first time this season.
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes - 316
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes - 292
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull - 214
4. Valtteri Bottas, Williams - 155
5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull - 149
6. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari - 149
7. Jenson Button, McLaren - 94
8. Felipe Massa, Williams - 83
Is Lewis the best Briton?
Lewis Hamilton’s ranking in British Formula One remains up for debate. He has surged ahead of Nigel Mansell and left the likes of Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Damon Hill trailing in his wake with race wins. The acid test is surely the number of drivers’ championships and while it has taken some time since his first triumph in 2008, Hamilton stands on the cusp of his second. Success would equal the tally achieved by Clark and Graham Hill. However, Stewert has three