Lewis Hamilton was crowned champion of the world for a sixth time on Sunday.
The Mercedes driver finished second at the Circuit of the Americas to secure his fifth title in six seasons.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from Hamilton’s triumphant United States Grand Prix.
1. Is Hamilton Formula One’s GOAT?
Lewis Hamilton moved to within just one world championship of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven after seeing out the title in Austin on Sunday. Having been stranded on one championship for six years, Hamilton has now claimed five of the last six titles to become, statistically at least, the second most successful driver in the sport’s history.
The Briton has 21 more poles (87) than any other driver, and is only eight victories adrift of Schumacher’s win record (91), too. It seems inconceivable that Hamilton will not surpass the German next season. Remarkably, Hamilton has four more titles than the great Jim Clark and Fernando Alonso, double the number achieved by both Sir Jackie Stewart and his idol Ayrton Senna, and one more than Juan Manuel Fangio, the driver Hamilton refers to as Formula One’s OG – ‘Original Gangster’.
Hamilton turns 35 in January and for as long as Mercedes continue to provide him with a world championship-winning machine, there is every chance he could reach at least eight titles and go down in history as the greatest driver to ever step foot in a Formula One car.
2. Can Hamilton be stopped from winning a seventh world title next year?
Hamilton said his drive to a sixth world championship marked the best year of his 13-season career. He also claimed, in an ominous warning to his rivals, that he hasn’t yet reached his peak. As he said on Sunday night, he is building a masterpiece, and he is unlikely to be satisfied with that work of art until the seventh title is his.
Despite Ferrari’s mid-season resurgence, and the threat from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton will start next year as the favourite to win yet another crown. While they may not always boast the best machine, Mercedes have continued to deliver and in Hamilton they have the most complete driver on the grid. It is a deadly combination and it will be difficult for anyone else to stop in 2020.
3. Leclerc takes aim at Verstappen after “cheat” claim
Ferrari have been the dominant team since the summer break, but the Scuderia’s six-race pole streak came to an end in Austin. Sebastian Vettel retired following a rear suspension failure, while Charles Leclerc took the chequered flag a distant fourth, 52 seconds behind winner Valtteri Bottas. One theory to Ferrari’s underwhelming pace was the release of a new technical directive which outlawed Ferrari from using a loophole to gain an apparent power boost. ”
That is what happens when you stop cheating,” Verstappen, who finished third, told Dutch TV after the race. But, in response to Verstappen’s remarks, Leclerc said: “It is a joke. He has no clue. He is not in the team. He doesn’t know anything about us.”
4. Hulkenberg facing F1 exile after Giovinazzi stay
Nico Hulkenberg’s eight-season Formula One career looks to be all but over after Alfa Romeo announced they were retaining Italian Antonio Giovinazzi for another year. Hulkenberg, who finished ninth in America and is being replaced at Renault by Frenchman Esteban Ocon, has already ruled out a move to Williams – the British team where he began his career in 2010. The 32-year-old German holds the unwanted record of the most F1 starts (175) without a podium.
5. Albon fights back to continue impressive Red Bull start
Alex Albon was voted Driver of the Day following his charge through the field on Sunday. Caught up in a Leclerc-Carlos Sainz sandwich at the opening bend, Albon had to stop for repairs at the end of the first lap. The London-born Thai, 23, dropped to last but fought back to finish fifth and move up to sixth in the championship standings.
“You forget that he’s in his first year,” said an impressed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “We’ve been really encouraged with the development he’s been making. It was another positive day for him.”