Should it be smooth sailing in the final rounds, it looks like Lewis Hamilton is set to clinch his fouth world championship title. The British driver clinched his ninth win of the year in the Circuit of the Americas after a battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
The race started cleanly with polesitter Vettel having a strong start. Hamilton tried to take him on the outside of turn one but Vettel was able to defend his position. Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand tried to make a move on Valtteri Bottas but was unable to make the pass stick. Ricciardo made a second attempt on lap two, forcing Bottas wide but the latter was still defending hard. Vettel meanwhile would keep a steady gap away from Hamilton.
After a few laps of close racing, Hamilton closed in on Vettel. He made his move on the hairpin, drafting off Vettel and dove on the inside. Vettel conceded the the lead as Hamilton drove away. Meanwhile, trouble would hit Ricciardo right before the pit window with his engine expiring after 16 laps. He was able to park the car in a safe place, meaning no safety car was brought out.
In the hopes of regaining the lead, Ferrari tried the undercut strategy, pitting earlier than the Mercedes-AMGs. The Silver Arrows pitted three laps later but a quick pit stop meant Hamilton was able to hang on to the lead, if not by much.
Further back, Fernando Alonso would suffer yet another engine failure, much to his frustration after running in the points for a long time. Carlos Sainz Jr. on the other hand was making an impressive debut in Renault. He went wheel to wheel with Sergio Perez and was on a mission to pass the Force India of Esteban Ocon. Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson ran into each other twice. Magnussen squeezed in on the inside of Ericsson, sending the latter into the air and on to the run-off zone. Towards the end of the race, Ericsson would run into the back of Magnussen, spinning him out.
Back in front, Hamilton had a crushing lead over Vettel as he cruised to yet another win in Texas. Vettel was also sitting comfortably in second, ending a string of unlucky races. In third however, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen were inches away from each other. Verstappen made his move in one of the double apex turns, getting the final podium on the final lap. However, the stewards deemed the overtake illegal as they claim Verstappen exceeded track limits. That meant third place was given back to Raikkonen.