Lewis Hamilton eased to his sixth Formula One title by finishing second as Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas took the chequered flag at the the US Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton's third straight F1 title puts him just one behind the record of seven held by Michael Schumacher, adding to the championships he also won in 2008 with McLaren and in 2014 and 2015 with Mercedes.
The 34-year-old Briton needed a top eight finish at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas and immediately jumped from fifth to third behind pole sitter Bottas and Verstappen.
He led after both Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Bottas pitted twice, with Mercedes keeping Hamilton out on a one-stop strategy.
Bottas closed him down and got past his team-mate on lap 52 of the 56 laps. Hamilton was then able to defend second place from Verstappen, helped by a late yellow flag which prohibited overtaking on a section where Kevin Magnussen in a Haas had gone off the track.
‘Still we rise, still we rise what an incredible weekend, I can't believe it, I really can't believe it!’ was Hamilton's first reaction over team radio.
In a first trackside interview, he said: ‘It's overwhelming if I'm honest. It was a tough race today and yesterday was a difficult day for us - Valtteri did a great job so congratulations to him.
‘I didn't know if it would be possible but I worked as hard as I could here with my team back at the factory. My mum, dad, step-mum and step-dad and my family are here and it's an honour to be here [with six] with those greats.
‘My dad told me when I was like six or seven never to give up and that's kind of the family motto. I pushed as hard as I could I was hopeful I could win today but I didn't have it in the tyres.’ Bottas was able to celebrate his fourth win of the season and his seventh of his career, but the season's plaudits go to Hamilton as well as the Mercedes team, who have a sixth drivers' championship in a row including Nico Rosberg's title in 2016, and already made sure of a sixth straight constructors' title three weeks ago in Japan.
Although Hamilton was unable to add to his 83 career wins, he now has 150 podium places and Schumacher's record of 91 victories will be in his sights next season.
Asked how many more championships he is targeting, Hamilton said: ‘I don't know about championships but as an athlete I feel as fresh as I can be, these next races we will keep pushing and I want to give a big shout pout to all the fan and the Brits who have come out here this weekend.’ Bottas meanwhile said: ‘It's a nice win. Feels good. Felt very good since yesterday in the car. We have a strong pace and I'm very happy with the win. Only thing I could have done in terms of the championship race, the rest was up to Lewis.
‘Big congratulations to him. I personally failed on my target this year but there is always next year. He deserves it. He's a great champion.’ It was meanwhile a disappointing race for rivals Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc off the podium in fourth place.
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel had high hopes after starting second on the grid but he immediately lost ground, slipping from second on the grid to seventh. Vettel complained of an understeer problem and his suspension broke on lap eight to end his race.
Alex Albon in a Red Bull was fifth, followed by Daniel Ricciardo in a Renault, McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, Nico Huelkenberg in a Renault and Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso.
Two races remain of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 17 and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 1.
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