No driver on the Formula One grid has experienced wretched luck quite like Daniel Ricciardo this season.
"It looks very positive".
Hamilton won his fourth title in Mexico past year after starting third and then having to fight back from last to ninth following an opening lap collision with Vettel, who had been on pole but lost out to Verstappen.
At age 33, he can now make a run at something once previously unthinkable: The seven titles won by Germany's Michael Schumacher.
"You saw what happened a year ago with the red vehicle (Ferrari) behind, so it depends how we get away".
"I held a lot in, I've got to save some energy for tomorrow".
Hamilton's championship this season arguably ranks among his best. He had to fight off a strong challenge from Ferrari, which even Hamilton admitted often had the stronger vehicle.
"I still wasn't convinced it was the cleanest lap, but I've got to relax a little".
He has now failed to finish in the points since the Singapore Grand Prix [four races], and with McLaren's form unlikely to improve, it's a streak which could extend into the final two rounds of his career.
"Just gutting for him because he had driven a great race on old tyres, holding off Sebastian [Vettel] before that tell-tale sign of smoke".
Hamilton could afford to back off because all he had to do to finish no worse than seventh to win the championship.
The Mexico City circuit sits 2,200 metres above sea level and the high altitude acts as an equaliser in engine performance.
Hamilton's victory parade will now begin in Brazil, a week on Sunday.
"All we could do was retire the vehicle".
"It's a terrible moment", said Vettel, a four-time champion who has finished second two years in a row and three times in his career.
"I don't know if it will ever kick in", said Hamilton. But sadly that couldn't transpire on Race day.
Red Bull were in a position to capture a one-two in Mexico with Ricciardo following behind Verstappen in the latter stage of the race, but a hydraulics failure saw the Australian driver retire from the race.
Speaking after the grand prix, the Englishman revealed his paternal grandfather Davidson, who emigrated from Grenada to London in 1955, had passed away.
But Hamilton and Mercedes knew a place in the top seven was all that was needed to take the title and, although he continued to complain of problems with the vehicle, that outcome never really looked in doubt.
Verstappen wasn't giving any ground.
Hamilton started a trend, with Ricciardo and Verstappen following suit on laps 12 and 13. "I was determined to win today".
Hamilton's primary goal was to avoid trouble. Last year, a bump from Vettel at the first turn punctured a tire which relegated him to ninth.
The team constructor's championship is still up for grabs between Mercedes and Ferrari.