Lewis Hamilton believes he can now leave McLaren after 'ultimate high' of US Grand Prix victory

Hamilton is joining Mercedes on a £45million, three-year contract


Lewis Hamilton believes he can now leave McLaren after achieving his “ultimate high” regardless of what unfolds in Brazil on Sunday.

The victory Hamilton has craved since announcing his departure at the end of September on a £45million, three-year contract with Mercedes finally, and deservedly, came his way in the United States yesterday.

Niggly issues in Japan and Korea undermined his performance in both races, and although producing a strong drive in India for fourth, he suffered heartbreak in Abu Dhabi when retiring whilst leading.

That was the second time this season that had happened for Hamilton, with the previous instance in Singapore a few days before he stunned Formula One by deciding to join a team with one win in three years.

After what unfolded at the Yas Marina circuit, it appeared as if the 27-year-old would not be granted his one last wish, not in light of Sebastian Vettel's resurgence.

But far from flying off into the distance at the Circuit of The Americas after dominating every practice session and topping the times in every qualifying period, Vettel found himself hounded by Hamilton.

On lap 42 Hamilton conjured the move he had been striving for over the previous few laps, coming within inches of a collision, but making his manoeuvre stick before sealing his 21st career victory, all of which have been with McLaren.

It allowed the team to don the now famous rocket-red tops that make an appearance when one of their drivers takes the chequered flag - and that is good enough for Hamilton to sign off with.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Hamilton said: "It's what I've been working for, and we would have had a lot more if we hadn't have had some of the problems we have had.

"But this win makes all those disappear. It allows us to move forward and smile, enjoy and appreciate how hard everyone has worked.

"It would be nice to be battling for the championship, but that's not the way it is, so I just have to be grateful for where I am and what we have achieved here.

"I believe I stamped my mark and showed I have the status and drive the others do, even though I'm not competing for the championship.

"I've been driving my best all year, and I've been getting stronger and stronger throughout, and for me this is my strongest race of the year.

"I loved it, to be able to push that much and not make mistakes, and to hunt him (Vettel) down and see him mistakes whilst applying the pressure was a great feeling."

As far as Hamilton is concerned, he can say his farewells with his head up, adding: "This is the ultimate high.

"I'm not going into the last race saying we can get higher than this because this is what I've been talking about, getting that last win.

"Naturally, I hope we can compete and we've a chance of winning in Brazil, but in Austin the right circumstances and the right things happened at the right times to enable me to do that.

"Regardless of what happens I'm ending on a high because I won this race and the guys were able to wear their rocket red shirts."

For boss Martin Whitmarsh, along with a smile there was relief etched all over his face that his team had delivered for Hamilton after so much recent pain.

Pit-stop blunders, other errors and rare unreliability of late have ensured McLaren will end the year trophyless for a fourth consecutive season since he took charge, so Hamilton's win was most welcome.

"We have underperformed for the last three or four races, and at a race team like this you start to worry about those things a little, but Lewis did a fantastic job," said Whitmarsh.

"With one race to go it makes you think we can go there and win that as well, which would be compensation for some of the disappointments we have had this year.

"For now this win is emotional, although we're trying not to be.

"I told Lewis weeks ago we would have the emotion after Brazil, and we would focus on doing the best job we can.

"He should have won two weeks ago, and in Singapore as well, and I felt sorry for him and for the team.

"But we've had some amazing highs together, and I don't want to make it easy for him to leave this team."


people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?