Lewis Hamilton kept his 2016 Formula One title hopes alive and now trails second-place Alain Prost by just one in the list of all-time race wins after securing the 50th victory of his illustrious career at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday (23 October).
The reigning world champion, who was without a first-place finish since his success in Germany three months ago, led from the outset at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas and passed the chequered flag 4.520 seconds ahead of teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg in another Mercedes one-two.
Such a result means that the difference between the two Silver Arrows drivers now stands at 26 points and Hamilton will have to win all three remaining races of the season in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi and hope that Rosberg suffers at least one setback to have a chance of becoming the first British driver in history to win four world titles.
"What an incredible crowd," the 31-year-old remarked to celebrity interviewer Gerard Butler on the podium after tying the great Michael Schumacher with his fifth overall victory in the United States. "I feel OK, this has always been a good hunting ground for me, it always feels like home.
"The team did a great job to put us both up there and I am very proud to be up here. Finally my 50th win. All I can do is my best, Nico has been driving fantastically well, so the battle will continue, I will be going for it."
Rosberg, meanwhile, conceded that his runner-up spot was "damage limitation" after a disappointing start that saw him immediately jumped off the line by Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bull eventually had to settle for third after teammate Max Verstappen's technical issues crucially led to the deployment of the virtual safety car, with Sebastian Vettel a distant fourth for struggling Ferrari and McLaren's Fernando Alonso finishing an impressive fifth after a late pass on Carlos Sainz Jr. However, the Spaniard could face post-race punishment for an overtaking move on Felipe Massa that saw the two cars collide and was later subject to a stewards' investigation.
"I did everything to come back. Second place was OK - it was damage limitation, of course," said Rosberg. "I was flat out all the way to the end."
Kimi Raikkonen exited the race in bizarre fashion with 16 laps to go after he was released from the pit lane with a wheel gun still seemingly attached to his SF16-H, while Verstappen, whose controversial defensive manoeuvres have upset other drivers and led to the FIA clamping down on moving under breaking, eventually retired due to what was later revealed to be a gearbox issue. The top 10 was rounded out by Massa, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean.