"I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped me be here".
"Which is why we put an bad lot of focus into this race, taking the penalties to get another B spec into the pool to have for this weekend".
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Hamilton came into the race with a lead so big that Vettel had to win and Hamilton had to finish lower than seventh just to push the championship to the next race in Brazil.
"To be as close as I am, I'm really quite happy", Hamilton said.More news: Gerrard takes full responsibility for Rangers semi-final loss to Aberdeen
In a nice sporting gesture, Hamilton hugged Vettel and then ran back to the Mercedes garage to embrace his team mates one by one.
The Australian is due to leave Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year, but on Sunday he said he was ready to turn his back on his troublesome vehicle even sooner than that. I really do aspire to be like him as a strong black man and as a father and as a human being, doing what he did in the hard times and with the little that he had, I think that's testament to where we are. Number five I think is something incredible.
Despite an early mistake which meant he dropped from pole to third after the second corner, Ricciardo drove well on Sunday and was on course for a podium place behind teammate Max Verstappen, which would have given Red Bull a one-two finish.
Regardless, Red Bull boss Christian Horner will have another tough job in getting Ricciardo ready and raring for his final two races with the team.
Hamilton started a trend, with Ricciardo and Verstappen following suit on laps 12 and 13. "I'm not superstitious or any of this bullshit, but. the car's cursed".
Ricciardo qualified on pole for Sunday's race in Mexico, but the Aussie could only manage 61 laps before yet another reliability issue forced him to retire for the eighth time this season.More news: Apple Updates MacBook Air with Retina Display
But in a high-altitude race of attrition, with tyre wear playing a huge part in the outcome, the champion was unable to match the pace and had no need to take any risks either. Hamilton hasn't put a foot wrong on, or off the track this season (and we haven't always been able to say that).
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen won the U.S. Grand Prix.
The first to congratulate Hamilton was actor Will Smith, who said over the team radio: "That's how I taught you, that's how you do it, that's how you drive".
For Ricciardo though, it was the first time he has taken pole position outside of Monte Carlo, and he was delighted.
The top 10 was rounded out by the Renault's of Niko Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz and the Saubers of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson.More news: Trump And Global Far Right Celebrate Brazil Authoritarian's Presidential Win