Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his fifth consecutive victory of the season by beating Nico Rosberg to the chequered flag at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Mercedes driver is now 24 points ahead of his title rival with only two races left in this exciting season.
Having taken a brilliant pole position, Rosberg narrowly led the United States Grand Prix through the first round of pitstops, as Hamilton nursed a set of soft Pirelli tyres that he flat-spotted during qualifying.
Rosberg seemed less comfortable than Hamilton when they switched to the medium compound tyre though, and his Mercedes team-mate pounced to take the lead by using DRS and diving down the inside under braking for Turn 12 on lap 24 of 56.
From that point on, Rosberg was powerless to prevent Hamilton clinching his tenth grand prix victory of the season – the 32nd of his career, making him the most successful British driver in the history of Formula 1.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo overcame a poor start to beat the Williams duo and complete the podium.
The Australian’s slow getaway from fifth on the grid cost him four places initially, but he climbed back up to sixth before the end of the opening lap, when the safety car was deployed after Sergio Perez’s Force India bounced off Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and into Adrian Sutil’s Sauber.
Ricciardo dived past Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari to take fifth at the restart, before jumping both Williams at successive pitstops to climb to third.
The Williams drivers finished fourth and fifth, Felipe Massa coming home ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas after jumping him at the start.
Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel gambled on a pitlane start and a low-downforce set-up, after exceeding the five-engines-per-season limit for this event.
The reigning world champion found it difficult to make progress initially, but climbed as high as sixth before being passed by Alonso’s Ferrari (on a much fresher and softer set of tyres) in the closing stages.
Vettel then plummeted to P14 after making a late pitstop for fresh rubber, but recovered back to seventh as the cars ahead battled to the end on much older rubber.
The McLaren of Kevin Magnussen succumbed on the final lap and thus finished eighth, while Lotus scored its first points since the Monaco Grand Prix as Pastor Maldonado finished tenth.
The Lotus driver passed Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso for ninth on the final lap, but was bumped back by his second five-second penalty of the race, in this case for pitlane speeding.
Vergne was classified ninth, but is under investigation for hitting Romain Grosjean’s Lotus while lunging down the inside at Turn 1 with six laps to go.
Both Vergne and Maldonado received earlier five-second penalties for speeding behind the safety car.
Grosjean finished P11 on the track, ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button, which fell away badly in the closing laps.
Kimi Raikkonen ran close behind his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso early on, but lost ground with a late first pitstop and never recovered.
The 2007 world champion finished a disappointing P13, ahead of the Sauber of Estaban Gutierrez and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, last of the classified finishers.
So advantage Hamilton with only Brazil and Abu Dhabi remaining to seal the championship. Lewis could actually win the title by finishing second to Nico Rosberg in those two races, but the racer will always go for the ultimate prize.
United States Grand Prix, 56 laps:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h40m04.785s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 4.314s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 25.560s
4 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 26.924s
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 30.992s
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.231s
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.734s
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.682s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m43.863s
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m47.870s
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1 Lap
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1 Lap
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes
Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari
1 Lewis Hamilton 316
2 Nico Rosberg 292
3 Daniel Ricciardo 214
4 Valtteri Bottas 155
5 Sebastian Vettel 149
6 Fernando Alonso 149
7 Jenson Button 94
8 Felipe Massa 83
9 Nico Hulkenberg 76
10 Kevin Magnussen 53
11 Sergio Perez 47
12 Kimi Raikkonen 47
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 23
14 Romain Grosjean 8
15 Daniil Kvyat 8
16 Jules Bianchi 2
17 Pastor Maldonado 1
18 Adrian Sutil 0
19 Marcus Ericsson 0
20 Esteban Gutierrez 0
21 Max Chilton 0
22 Kamui Kobayashi 0
1 Mercedes 608
2 Red Bull-Renault 363
3 Williams-Mercedes 238
4 Ferrari 196
5 McLaren-Mercedes 147
6 Force India-Mercedes 123
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 31
8 Lotus-Renault 9
9 Marussia-Ferrari 2
10 Sauber-Ferrari 0
11 Caterham-Renault 0
Next race: Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos. November 7-9.