Hamilton, also the first of Britain’s 10 world champions to claim back-to-back crowns, joins Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and his childhood idol Ayrton Senna on three titles, with only Michael Schumacher (7), Juan Manuel Fangio (5), Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel (both 4) having tasted championship glory more times.
It’s the second time in a row that Hamilton has sealed the title with victory, and he now has 43 career triumphs, moving him ahead of Vettel for sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list. Only Schumacher (91) and Prost (51) have more victories.
Meanwhile it’s the seventh time in history that the title has been decided on US soil, but the first time since 1982 when, somewhat ironically, Keke Rosberg - father of Hamilton’s title rival Nico - sealed the championship in Las Vegas.
Away from Hamilton’s achievements, Sebastian Vettel’s third place was not enough to extend the title fight to Mexico, but it was enough to keep him just ahead of Rosberg in the drivers’ standings and to help Ferrari secure second place in the constructors’ championship - the Scuderia’s best result since 2012, when they were also second.
Further back, Max Verstappen equalled his career-best result with fourth place for Toro Rosso. The Dutchman’s team mate Carlos Sainz finished seventh in the sister STR10, meaning the Italian team leave Texas with 18 points - their biggest haul of the season so far.
Elsewhere, Jenson Button benefited from Sainz’s five-second time penalty for pit lane speeding to record his best finish of the year - sixth. But McLaren were denied what would have been just their second double points finish of 2015 when Daniel Ricciardo passed Fernando Alonso for P10 on the final lap.
Alexander Rossi - the first American driver to start a Grand Prix on home soil since Scott Speed in 2007 - was the only other classified finisher not to score points in Austin, though the GP2 racewinner’s 12th place equals Marussia’s best finish this year.
Just in front of Ricciardo, Felipe Nasr came home ninth to ensure Sauber scored points in their 400th Grand Prix, just as they did in their very first race in South Africa back in 1993. But whilst there were smiles for Sauber, there were only grim faces at Williams as the Grove-based team recorded their first double DNF since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
On the plus side, the next race is in Mexico, and Williams dominated the last race there, even if it was 23 years ago…