Hamilton will head to Abu Dhabi in a fortnight’s time 12 points behind Nico Rosberg after he blew away his Mercedes team-mate and title rival for a third consecutive grand prix.
Rosberg would have been crowned champion had he won at a rain-soaked Interlagos on Sunday - but Hamilton kept his cool in a marathon race which was suspended on two occasions and took more than three hours to complete as persistent rain wreaked havoc in Sao Paulo.
As chaos erupted behind him - including one of the sport’s finest performances in recent memory as Max Verstappen roared from 16th to third in the closing stages - Hamilton, who started from pole position, never looked under threat, as he ensured a second title shootout in three years in the desert later this month.
“I was generally just chilling out front,” Hamilton said. “When it rains, it is usually a good day for me.
“Today was one of the most difficult, in terms of it being wet, but it was probably the most smooth-sailing race I have ever had in 10 years.”
Hamilton, who punched his fist in the air after winning in Brazil - the home of his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna - for a first time, has not given up hope of winning the title. For Rosberg, a top-three finish in Abu Dhabi however, will be enough.
“I am hunting,” Hamilton added. “All I can do is what I am doing right now. The team have given me a great car and finally the reliability has been really good so the results have shown that. I am going to give it everything I have got in Abu Dhabi, but right now I am going to live in the moment.”
The penultimate round of the season was delayed by 10 minutes before starting behind the safety car following continuous rain at a venue which so often throws up a dramatic race.
This year was no different. The safety car was called upon on five occasions, while Kimi Raikkonen was fortunate to escape unharmed from a high-speed crash which led to the first red flag.
The 37-year-old Finn slammed into the nearside barrier before his car slid across the track and collided with the opposing wall. He sat there helplessly in his Ferrari as a number of drivers came within feet of hitting his stationary car.
The race was then red-flagged for a second time with the conditions deemed to dangerous to race. The controversial decision attracted a chorus of boos and thumbs down gestures from the Brazilian fans.
But after another 27-minute delay the race was under way once more, and Verstappen soared around the outside of Rosberg at turn three to take second place. It was a fantastic move from the fearless Dutchman which would have been greeted with delight in both the Red Bull and Hamilton camps.
Red Bull however, opted to pit Verstappen for the intermediate tyre, and Rosberg, who survived a scary moment when he endured a half-spin on lap 44, was promoted back up to second.
It was the wrong decision from Red Bull, with Verstappen then back in the pits for the extreme wet tyre. But the teenager overtook 13 cars - including that of his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion - to claw his way on to the podium.