The Brit has finished fourth behind winner Max Verstappen in the Mexican Grand Prix to win his fifth F1 title, joining seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and fellow five-time winner Juan-Manuel Fangio — who he describes as “The Godfather” — in the F1 pantheon.
“The start was the key,” Verstappen said. “The car was working brilliantly. I think we could have had a one-two, and of course after Daniel you want to make sure yours doesn’t retire.”
Hamilton said: “It’s a very strange feeling right now. It wasn’t won here, it was won through a lot of hard work through many races.
“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13 so to complete this – Fangio had done it with Mercedes – it’s an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment.
“Obivously not an easy day,” said Vettel. “But well deserved, congrats to Lewis and his team, they did a superb job all year.”
Verstappen got his second season victory and fifth overall the day after missing becoming the youngest ever pole sitter by less than three-hundredth of a second, topping the podium from Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who was also ahead of Hamilton in the other Ferrari.
Ricciardo then had a tragedy start from pole as Verstappen and Hamilton flew past him to lead the way from the Australian and Vettel, who desisted from taking huge risks.
Finally, the Australian had to retire in lap 62 after smoke was seen coming from the back of his car – his eighth retirement for the season.