Lewis Hamilton has secured a third Formula 1 world championship title with victory in the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who also scooped the world championship in 2008 and 2014, won the title in dramatic fashion after an incident-packed US Grand Prix. After leading early on, Hamilton fell to fourth, and despite fighting back through the field after several safety car periods, he looked destined to finish behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
However, his German team-mate ran off the track and lost time late in the race, handing Hamilton the race win and a big enough points buffer to be guaranteed the world title despite there still being two races to run of the 2015 F1 season.
Sebastian Vettel, racing for Ferrari, was the only other driver who could beat Hamilton to the world title but, despite challenging for the race win, he could only finish third, which was not enough to deny Hamilton.
"This is the greatest moment of my life," said a clearly emotional Hamilton after the race. "I can't really find the right words at this second to tell you how it feels. I’m sitting here just thinking about my first British [karting] championship where my dad and I drove home singing ‘We are the Champions’. At the time, of Great Britain.
“It’s just crazy to think now I’m a three-time Formula One world champion. I owe it all to my dad, to my family, who supported me all these years and sacrificed so much for me to be here. And the positive energy I get from my fans who travel around the world to see me.
“I really do realise that while I get to enjoy Formula 1 cars this is really a platform for me to inspire young people and I hope that if there is any inspiring from today it’s just that never give up on your dreams and on your hopes and on your desires. Just keep working at it.”
Hamilton admitted he feared that he had lost the US Grand Prix amid the safety car chaos, saying: “I’d fallen back, Nico [Rosberg] pitted under the safety car, and he was really quick at one stage. But I never for one second believed that I couldn’t do it. We pushed, Nico drove a fantastic race, really he has done – since I’ve been with this team he’s been driving fantastically well so respect for him as my team-mate.
“As I said, [it's] just a very humbling experience, especially to equal Ayrton Senna, who meant so much to me and still does today. So I feel very blessed today.”
Senna also notched up three world titles. It was also Hamilton's 43rd race victory - two ahead of Senna and third in the all-time winners' list behind Alain Prost (51) and Michael Schumacher (91).
Hamilton is the tenth driver in the history of Formula 1 to win three or more titles, the others being Michael Schumacher (seven), Juan Manuel Fangio (five), Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel (four), Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart (three).