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 Sir 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 – the area before the podium celebrations – where the emotion of his incredible 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.