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What we learned from the United States Grand Prix

ercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain celebrates winning the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.

ercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Great Britain celebrates winning the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.

Lewis Hamilton edged ever closer to winning a fourth Formula One World Championship after he stormed to victory at the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton will wrap up the title in Mexico on Sunday if he finishes fifth or higher after moving 66 points clear of Sebastian Vettel with just 75 points remaining.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at five things we learned from Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Liberated Hamilton poised for championship glory

Smoke billowed around the Mercedes hospitality tent as Hamilton chomped on a Cuban cigar to celebrate a ninth victory of the season - one which all-but ensured he will be crowned champion in Mexico. Hamilton is a new man this season; relaxed in his own skin and liberated by Nico Rosberg's sudden departure from Mercedes. Here, on Sunday evening, he was forthcoming on his past troubles at Mercedes, speaking at length and with an eloquence that you might not always associate with the some-time temperamental British driver. Hamilton is at one with himself off the track, and his performances on it - particularly since the summer break - have been spellbinding. It is hardly a surprise to hear Toto Wolff say it is the best Hamilton he has seen. As the Englishman closes in on a fourth title we should cherish his greatness for all its worth. He will not be around forever, and the sport will miss him when he is gone.

Verstappen and Co hit out after penalty

Aside from Hamilton's heroics, the other major talking point in Austin revolved around Max Verstappen. The Dutchman, who started 16th on the grid, sensationally passed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap for third, but his move was adjudged to have been illegal after he ran off the track and he was stripped of his podium finish. His father Jos Verstappen, a veteran of more than 100 grands prix, took aim at the FIA - the sport's governing body - with a series of potentially libellous tweets, while Red Bull's Max himself described one of the stewards' Garry Connelly, who also penalised Verstappen, in Mexico last year as an "idiot".

Alonso: Pre-race razzmatazz a poor man's Indy 500

Michael Buffer swapped the boxing ring for the start-finish straight as F1's American owners Liberty Media spiced up the pre-race show in their first grand prix on home soil. Buffer announced each driver on to the grid alongside fabricated smoke and the pom-poms of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Hamilton and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo reveled in the funked-up format, but it was not to everyone's taste. McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who competed in the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year, said: "The only thing that was not similar to the Indy 500 was the driver presentation, which was a bad copy."

Grosjean told to "shut up" by Haas team

Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who has earned a rather unwanted reputation as the sport's biggest moaner following a series of radio rants, was told to shut up by his own team during Sunday's race. Grosjean wanted to stop after suffering a problem with his front-left tyre. "I think we should retire the car," Grosjean said. "There is no point in going to the end. What are we doing, guys? Seriously." But his American team Haas did not express any sympathy. "Shut up," they replied. Grosjean bit back: "You're not paying your life here. The tyre is completely gone." Grosjean did make it to the end of the race, crossing the line in 14th.

Frenchman Ocon sets new record

Esteban Ocon continued his fine start to life in Formula One by becoming the first driver in the sport's history to finish in 26 consecutive grands prix. Ocon, who is just 13 points adrift of his more experienced Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, crossed the line in sixth place to go one better than Englishman Max Chilton's streak of 25 successive finishes from debut.

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