Lewis Hamilton has been crowned Formula One world champion for the sixth time, despite finishing second at the US Grand Prix.
The Briton, who only needed to cross the line in eighth at the Circuit de Americas to beat his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to the title with two rounds to spare, spent much of the second half of the race managing his ageing tyres.
But, just as in Mexico City last year, Hamilton did enough to win the championship, his fifth in six remarkable years.
The 34-year-old crossed the line in second behind winner Bottas.
Max Verstappen finished third, with Charles Leclerc in fourth.
Here’s a look at the key talking points from Texas:
LUCKY NO6 FOR HAMILTON
It was inevitable Hamilton was going to win a sixth world title in Texas, needing to score just four points to seal the deal.
Starting from fifth, after a ragged qualifying session on Saturday, he soared past Leclerc and Verstappen early on to take second place, where he managed his race pace effectively for the bulk of the race.
Sitting in the lead with four laps remaining, Bottas mounted a successful attack to take the lead and the victory on his fresher tyres.
Hamilton’s unlikely win in Mexico last week – his 10th win of the season – where Mercedes had the third-fastest car, made the title success at the Circuit de Americas all but a formality.
His sizzling championship win breaks the tie of five titles he had with Juan Manuel Fangio and puts him just one behind the all-time record of seven held by the iconic Michael Schumacher.
The 34-year-old is in his 13th season in F1 and under contract at the Silver Arrows until the end of 2020 season.
His many commitments outside of racing has led many to believe that he may retire soon, however, he says he has not found his best level yet.
A scary prospect.
The Finn shone in qualifying, securing pole position with the fastest-ever lap recorded at the Texas track – but his victory would do nothing to stop his team-mate from lifting the championship.
Bottas sealed his fourth win of the season, surpassing his 2017 tally, but his deficit to Hamilton in the championship standings made an extended title battle impossible.
Still, it was a flawless race by the Nastola native, who showed searing pace, stayed out of trouble and made no mistakes, overtaking Hamilton with four laps remaining to secure the victory.
The 30-year-old slumped to a winless fifth in last year’s standings but this season he will finish second, with two races remaining.
Second in the Drivers’ Championship represents Bottas’ best overall classification, having been third in 2017 and fourth, with Williams, in 2014.
MISERABLE DAY FOR FERRARI
The Italian marque didn’t fire a shot all day and struggled against the pacy Mercedes and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
From the start, Sebastian Vettel had no grip from his medium tyres, and sank from second to seventh, before being forced to retire due to suspension failure on lap eight.
It was a disappointing day for the German, but in truth, his lack of pace was no fault of his own, especially after a stunning showing in qualifying on Saturday.
It’s no blame to any of the drivers but Ferrari have to ask themselves questions about their strategy and some key decision-making behind the scenes.
It was the same for Leclerc who was devoid of the same class that saw him light up other races this season, and he only managed to finish a distant fourth – an emphatic 52 seconds behind Bottas.
The Monaco man will have a chance to make amends in Brazil in two weeks’ time.
The deserved Driver of the Day.
Alexander Albon notched one of his best results of the season for Red Bull, finishing fifth – his seventh top six finish this season.
After a poor start, the Thai-born driver was forced to pit three times during the race, but still showed strong pace to stay clear of the midfield.
Sitting P20 at one stage, he tore through the field and his late overtake on Daniel Ricciardo put the gloss on a stunning display.
“You forget that he’s in his first year,” said an impressed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “We’ve been really encouraged with the development he’s been making. It was another positive day for him.”
There is plenty more to come from the 23-year-old.
Know more about Sport360 Application