Lewis Hamilton upset Sebastian Vettel's hopes of clinching the drivers world championship in his 100th race on Sunday when he produced a dazzling drive for McLaren to win a thrilling United States Grand Prix.
For Vettel, finishing second from pole was a personal disappointment, but not enough to prevent his Red Bull team from winning the constructors title for the third successive season.
Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished third after starting seventh on the grid -- thanks to his team's pragmatic decision to break the gearbox seal on teammate Felipe Massa's car.
That podium finish ensured that the title battle will go down to the wire at next weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.
Vettel goes to Interlagos with a lead of 13 points. Vettel has 273 points and Alonso 260.
Hamilton, who started second on the grid, made the most of his superior outright speed to pass Vettel on lap 42 of the 56-laps race and claim the 21st victory of his career.
The 27-year-old Briton, who leaves McLaren for Mercedes next year, was intent on delivering another win for the team before his departure and did so with elan as he seized his fourth win this year.
Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks ago, came home sixth ahead of Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean.