Lewis Hamilton took a giant stride towards winning the 2014 F1 World Championship with a superb victory at the USA Grand Prix in Texas.
Sunday’s win also saw Hamilton become the most successful British F1 driver of all-time having eclipsed Nigel Mansell’s 31 career victories.
With just two rounds of the season remaining, Hamilton’s lead over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the Drivers’ Standings has stretched to 24 points.
However, with the final race of the season offering double points, the battle for the championship is destined to go down to the final round in Abu Dhabi later this month.
Around Texas, Hamilton was once again in outstanding form. Although Rosberg claimed pole in his Brackley-based car, a slow middle section of the race ultimately cost the German victory.
Hamilton caught Rosberg napping and powered into the lead with a inspired pass on lap 24 and once in front, the Briton was able to control the pace before claiming victory by over four seconds.
Daniel Ricciardo, driving for the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull, followed the Mercedes duo home in third.
Afterwards, Hamilton said: “This was a great victory – my third here in the United States.
“I might not have been able to take pole position, but I drove well and was able to place myself in a position to take the lead during the middle section of the race. Once I was in the lead I knew I just had to keep it tight and make sure I finished the race safely.”
Rosberg. whose second place finish keeps him firmly in contention to win the title in the final race of the season, added: “Many people have different views on the scoring of double points in the final race.
“I might not be for them, but this 2014 rule keeps me very much in the hunt for the World Championship title and I know I can drive well in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. My aim is still to win the title this year.”
The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team were out of luck with both their drivers retiring from the race. Sergio Perez was involved in an opening lap incident with Adrian Sutil of Sauber while Nico Hulkenberg was a lap 16 retirement when his Mercedes-Benz powerplant failed.
Toro Rosso scored one point, courtesy of a 10th-place finish by Frencham Jean-Eric Vergne, who drove a spirited race despite being handed two five second penalties for on-track incidents. He said: “I was driving really hard as I wanted to give the team a good result.”
Russian Daniil Kvyat was classified 15th after making an unscheduled pit-stop late in the race due to a vibration.
Standings: 1. Hamilton (Mercedes), 316pts; 2. Rosberg (Mercedes) 292; 3. Ricciardo (Red Bull) 214; 4. Bottas (Williams) 155; 5. Vettel (Red Bull) 149; 6. Alonso (Ferrari) 149.
Next race: Brazil, November 9.