HIGH RANKINGS Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium at the US GP in Texas after securing the race win and his third F1 drivers' title. Image: AFP/ Jewel Samad
Austin, Texas - Lewis Hamilton's third Formula 1 title confirms him as one of the all-time greats of the motorsport series, most commentators agreed after the Briton's thrilling US Grand Prix victory.
The Guardian's correspondent Paul Weaver wrote: Unlike his previous title in 2014 and in 2008 with McLaren, the Mercedes driver's title triumph did not have the "plot twists" of the past but was instead a "tale of a simple hegemony.
Weaver said: "He bestrode the season. He was utterly dominant, taking 11 poles and winning 10 races and taking the title with three rounds to spare.
"He started the year as a very brilliant racing driver and towards the end of it he has become an indisputably great one."
Former F1 racer David Coulthard writing in the Telegraph said Hamilton "has proved himself to be the best F1 driver of his generation."
Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport wrote: "10 wins and 11 poles in 16 races makes any commentary superfluous."
La Stampa said Hamilton "belongs now to the greats of F1", and there were similar commentaries in France and Spain.
More titles could come for Hamilton, who at 30 has emulated his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna's three titles and joined Sir Jackie Stewart as Britain's most successful driver.
He is also alongside Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda and Jack Brabham, and one behind the four titles won by Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio. Michael Schumacher's record seven title between 1994 and 2004 remains a distant target.
Hamilton said after the victory in Austin, Texas: "I feel like I've got the baton now for myself and Ayrton and I'm going to carry it as far as I can, as strong as I can and keep building and see where I take it."
A wheel spin by Rosberg late in the race while leading allowed Hamilton to take the chequered flag, and the German took on the role of sore loser, complaining about Hamilton's first turn overtaking manoeuvre.
In the drivers' room after the race, Rosberg threw a cap back at Hamilton but said later that was "just some games so nothing much, nothing more into that."
Watch: Nico Rosberg flings cap back at team mate Lewis Hamilton
Several German media reports focused on the cap-throwing incident and the apparently fraught relations between the team-mates who were once friends.
The scene "revealed...everything about the non-relationship of the two," Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote. "Friends they won't be any more," Bild daily wrote.
Rosberg was unhappy with his own mistake late in the race and Hamilton's "extremely aggressive" overtaking manoeuvre at the start.
Rosberg said "He didn't leave enough space and drove into me, which was one step too far because I was leading in the middle of the corner.
"But this is something we can discuss together as a team at another time. I need to recover now from this tough day but I'm sure I will."
Hamilton said the move on Rosberg "wasn't intentional," adding: "We both broke very deep into it and I understood he was on the outside and in the wet that's where the grip is, so he was turning and I wasn't turning so we touched."
With Mercedes having already clinched the constructors' championship, the last three races - starting with Mexico , with Brazil and Abu Dhabi following in November month - should be less tense for the team.
Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said: "We have three races left and it's crucial that we don't allow today's incident to have further consequences.
"We will go away, have a few days of cooling off, and then talk."
Hamilton trails Vettel by one title
Hamilton is still one title behind Ferrari's Vettel, who won with Red Bull for four successive seasons 2010-2013 and believes the Italian team can mount a stronger challenge next season after a better-than-expected year.
Vettel, who was third on the podium in Austin behind Hamilton and Rosberg, said the race was more confirmation of the team's improvement.
Vettel said: "We are trying to make progress and look after ourselves, and for sure for next year we will give them (Mercedes) a much harder challenge."
Vettel, who is second in the standings ahead of Rosberg by four points with just as many wins (three) this season, added: "In the upcoming races there are still many things that we can take into next season, as there won't be a lot of testing in the winter to prepare for next year.
Vettel said: "Every single lap that we are doing is extremely useful."