Hamilton hails 'greatest' day
Mercedes driver makes history as he defends his world title
Lewis Hamilton has been crowned Formula One world champion after winning the United States Grand Prix in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Nico Rosberg appeared on course to postpone his team-mate's title celebrations for one more race, but the German made an unforced error with just seven laps remaining to allow Hamilton to take the lead.
Sebastian Vettel fought his way back from 13th to finish third in one of the best races in recent memory but it was not enough to prevent Hamilton from amounting an unassailable lead in the championship with three races to spare.
Hamilton now joins his idol Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart with three titles to his name. He also becomes the first British driver to successfully defend his Formula One crown.
An emotional Hamilton struggled for words inside his crash helmet after he was informed he had seen off Vettel and Rosberg to win this year's crown.
"This is the greatest moment of my life," he eventually said over the team radio. "To my family, I love you all."
On his return to the pits, Hamilton leapt out of his Mercedes before running to his team. He then made his way up to the green room where the emotion of his achievement reduced him to tears. A dejected Rosberg sat slumped in a chair in the corner of the room with Hamilton attempting to regain his composure by mopping down his brow.
Hamilton then threw a sponsors' cap for the podium in the direction of Rosberg, who responded by launching it straight back at his rival without so much as a hint of a smile.
The torrential rain which had plagued the weekend's action finally stopped in the hours leading up to the race.
Hamilton needed to outscore Vettel and Rosberg by nine and two points respectively to win the title in Austin - but the Briton appeared to have his work cut out after Rosberg secured pole in yesterday's rearranged qualifying session.
The pivotal moment came seven laps from the end when his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg skewed off the track. Hamilton was suddenly leading the American Grand Prix and the championship was his to take.
The safety car was called on lap 43 after Daniil Kvyat crashed into the pit wall. Hamilton pitted and Rosberg retook the lead. The German looked set to win, but he locked up his rear tyres, ran off the track, and Hamilton sailed by with just seven laps to go.
Hamilton went on to win his 10th grand prix of the year, and with Vettel who finished only half-a-second behind Rosberg in third, it meant the championship was his.