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Lewis Hamilton clinches F1 championship with U.S. Grand Prix win

AUSTIN, Texas — Lewis Hamilton took off his racing helmet and bent low in a moment of quiet reflection after winning a tight race and another Formula One championship.

Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg sat nearby, slumped in a feeling of disgust revealed when Hamilton tossed him his second-place cap and the German flipped it right back, nearly hitting Hamilton in the face.

Hamilton ignored the gesture, then walked to the victor's podium to celebrate winning Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix to secure his third season title.

"In the final laps I was thinking about my family and my dad standing in the rain watching me race, as a crazy parent thinking someday he might be a good driver," Hamilton said. "It's hard to believe I'm here as a three-time champion."

Rosberg's error helped make this one happen. The German skidded off a short straight out of Turn 12 with eight laps left, opening the gap Hamilton needed.

Rosberg, in the same type of dominant Mercedes as Hamilton, was again frustrated after being unable to beat his boyhood friend turned rival.

"Not saying something wrong with the car, for now I think it's a mistake I made," Rosberg said.

Hamilton, 30, earned his 10th win this year, becoming the first F1 driver to hit double digits in consecutive seasons. He also tied five other drivers including his idol Ayrton Senna at three titles; only three drivers have more.

"For me, it was always to get the three Ayrton had," Hamilton said, calling it "very humbling."

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, a four-time champ, finished third.

Hamilton climbs charts

Most victories

91 Michael Schumacher

51 Alain Prost

43 Lewis Hamilton

42 Sebastian Vettel

41 Ayrton Senna

Most titles

7 Michael Schumacher

5 Juan Manuel Fangio

4 Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel

3 Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton clinches F1 championship with U.S. Grand Prix win 10/25/15 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2015 10:03pm]
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