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Hamilton wins US Grand Prix to extend F1 championship lead

Updated: 2017-10-23 09:20

Hamilton wins US Grand Prix to extend F1 championship lead

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain during the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, US on Oct 22, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

AUSTIN, Texas — The fastest man on four wheels stood on the US Grand Prix podium with the fastest man on two feet.

Together, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and retired sprinter Usain Bolt struck Bolt's familiar "To the World" pose, their fingers pointing to the sky and perhaps the way toward another Hamilton Formula One championship.

Hamilton tightened his control on the F1 season title by winning the US Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel, who finished second in a race he said he had to win.

It was Hamilton's fourth consecutive win at the Circuit of the Americas and fifth since 2012. His ninth win of the season also opened a 66-point lead on Vettel with three races left. While mathematically still possible, Vettel's title hopes are nearly wiped out as the series heads next week to Mexico City, where Hamilton won last year.

"I think this is my favorite track now," Hamilton said after another dominant performance in Texas.

Hamilton is on a late-season charge toward a championship that would further define his legacy in the sport. Formula One's first and only black driver could join Vettel as a four-time season champion. Only Germany's Michael Schumacher (7) and Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio (5) have won more.

"I don't let my mind go there," Hamilton said. "Three races to go, three races to win.

Vettel seemed resigned to the reality that his title hopes collapsed with his second-place finish.

"It wasn't our race to win," Vettel said. "We tried to fight. We got beaten fair and square."Vettel had pushed hard for the win and surprised Hamilton when he grabbed the lead out of a fast start, but the Mercedes reeled in the Ferrari just a few laps later.

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