Lewis Hamilton won the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, beating his nearest rival Sebastian Vettel.
The victory moved Hamilton to the verge of securing the F1 Drivers’ Championship for the season. He started from the pose for the 72nd time in his career, a record that just keeps growing.
It was Hamilton’s ninth win this season. It gave him a 66-point lead in the standings over Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and 87 over his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo is a distant fourth and is in the sights of Kimi Raikkonen, the other Ferrari driver, who trails Ricciardo by 29 points.
As for the rest, only Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen has cracked the 100-point barrier.
Riccardo seemed to be running well in Texas, but he was forced to retire on the 16th lap with a blown engine.
With three races remaining on the 2017 Formula One schedule, nothing short of alien abduction could stop the Hamilton juggernaut. All he needs to do in the Mexico Grand Prix next week is finish fifth or better to earn a fourth world title.
Hamilton and Bottas, who finished fifth in the U.S. Grand Prix, have already ensured that Mercedes will be atop the podium for the contructors’ title. They did not show the sort of domination they displayed last year, when Nico Rosberg was driving the other Mercedes car, but domination is domination, even if it of a slightly lesser degree.
Max Verstappen was his customary controversial self, claiming third place in a passing move on the final corner where he ran off the track to get past Raikkonen.
Verstappen’s spot on the podium was soon afterward stripped by the stewards, who gave him a five-second penalty that moved him down to fourth.
The formula for Hamilton’s success is one that every racing team should seek to emulate. Combine the best driver with the best machine and let the others breathe exhaust fumes.