Lewis Hamilton has claimed his fifth straight win at the US F1 Grand Prix but Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg’s second place ensures their title fight will go right down to the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi.
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo did well to overcame a poor start and finish third – his eighth podium spot for his Red Bull team this year – but it wasn’t enough to prevent his last slim mathematical hopes of the title disappearing.
Hamilton got past pole-sitter Rosberg on the 24th of 56 laps of the track en route to his 10th victory for the season, extending his lead in the championship over Rosberg to 24 points – 316 to 292 – with two races left.
There are still 75 points up for grabs – a maximum 25 next week in Brazil and double points 50 in Abu Dhabi on November 23 when the title will now be decided.
Sunday’s triumph in the Texas city of Austin was the dominant Mercedes team’s 10th one-two triumph of the year.
But Hamilton clearly has the momentum on his side thanks to clever tyre preservation tactics. His 32nd career victory beat the British record he shared with Nigel Mansell.
“This is an incredible team, I’ve 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.”
Rosberg could only lament his 10th second placing after failing to convert pole position into a race win for the seventh occasion in nine attempts.
“It kind of sucks for me today,” Rosberg said.
“It took too long for me to find my rhythm. Once Hamilton got by I found my rhythm, but it was too late.”
Ricciardo showed his love for the track as fought back from a poor start that dropped him from fifth on the grid to seventh to grab third place ahead of the two Williams of fourth-placed Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
“We are doing what we can,” said Ricciardo. “I’m really happy with third place. You can overtake here.
“I got Magnussen and then Alonso on the restart so it wasn’t too boring out there for me.”
His teammate, four-time and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel, fought from a last-place start out of the pit lane – punishment for a sixth season engine change – to take seventh place despite a late pit stop.
The race started just 18 cars, the smallest grid in nearly a decade, as the Marussia and Caterham teams were not competing after both went into administration.