Formula One: Five-in-row Hamilton eyes title after US victory

Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with fans after winning the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Nov 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with fans after winning the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Nov 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

AUSTIN (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton increased his lead in the world championship to 24 points on Sunday when he swept to his fifth consecutive victory and 10th of the season by winning an intriguing United States Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old Briton, who started second behind his pole sitting Mercedes team-mate and nearest rival Nico Rosberg, took the lead with a bold move after 24 laps on his way to a perfectly-measured triumph ahead of the German by nearly five seconds.

It was the 32nd win of Hamilton’s career, a landmark statistic that lifted him one victory clear of Nigel Mansell as the British driver with most career successes in Formula One.

It was also his second victory in three races at the Circuit of the Americas.

“I have an incredible team and an incredible car and I had a great opponent today,” said Hamilton, who celebrated his win by donning a trademark Texan stetson.

“It is such a privilege to represent my country and to be top of the drivers’ standings. The car was great.”

Hamilton now has 316 points to Rosberg’s 292 following the Englishman’s dominant success earned by clever tyre preservation tactics with two races remaining, including the final race in Abu Dhabi where double points are scored.

“It kind of sucks for me,” said Rosberg.

“It took too long for me to find my rhythm. Once Lewis got by I found my rhythm but it was too late.”

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished third to deliver his eighth podium for Red Bull this year ahead of the two Williams of fourth-placed Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Two time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was sixth for Ferrari after a series of battles to finish ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, Kevin Magnussen of McLaren and Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso.

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado came home 10th for Lotus to score his first points of the season.