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For the brilliance of Hamilton across the year and the increasingly frequent mistakes made by Vettel, the tactical brains outside of the cars have a few times changed the shape of the race.

It was on lap four when Vettel's race began to unravel.

Vettel's move smelt of desperation, and it marked his seventh mistake of an increasingly-erratic campaign which has unravelled since the summer break.

"I was pushing to get past, but I wasn't desperate to get past", he said.

"I had more speed, and he didn't give enough room".

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from 15th to fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen was fifth on a desperately torrid afternoon for Ferrari.

A period of Mercedes dominance in 2015 and 2016 saw Vettel fall behind in the Championship race, failing to win a single Grand Prix in 2016 and raising serious questions over his ability to perform the way he could at Red Bull.

Despite Ferrari locking out the front row with what seemed a faster auto, Hamilton won after passing Vettel on the opening lap and then Kimi Raikkonen after chasing down the leading Finn.

Valtteri Bottas ran off at the chicane in his later battle with Verstappen over second, prompting Verstappen to tell Sky Sports F1: "If I get a five-second penalty for that [Raikkonen incident] then next time I'll just cut the track and do it like Valtteri".

If Hamilton wins the next race at Austin's Circuit of The Americas, he will be world champion unless Vettel finishes second.

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Sunday's race was a stroll for Hamilton, despite some early engine issues that proved to be nothing to worry about.

"I will not leave Ferrari", Vettel is quoted by Auto Bild.

The team itself hasn't helped out matters and when 2017 posed a genuine title challenge, they slipped up, with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton taking advantage and winning the Championship yet again.

Vettel, whose dreams of pipping Hamilton to five world titles now look all but over, had barely left the garage on the harder compound tyres when he informed Ferrari of the error over team radio.

But as Vettel was left hopping mad over the tangle with Verstappen that sent his Ferrari spinning off, Hamilton expressed dismay at his rival's nose-diving form.

"The whole weekend has been incredibly strong for the team", Hamilton said.

With a consistent auto, Ricciardo is always risky - he sees the overtaking opportunities so soon and reacts swiftly, and he fully deserved his fourth-place finish after yet another qualifying session marred by technical issues. However, Vettel dropped to 18th but wasn't awarded a penalty for the incident by the stewards.

"But it's not always right that the other guy has to move".

Esteban Ocon finished ninth behind Romain Grosjean of Haas and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. beat Pierre Gasly of Torro Rosso to take 10th.