Hamilton cuts Rosberg's lead with 50th win

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The defending champion kept alive his bid for a fourth world title on Sunday when he claimed his first victory in six races. Rosberg still holds a relatively comfortable lead heading to next week's race in Mexico City where he won a year ago. Rosberg is aware of the tough terrain.

Hamilton, 33 points behind the German with four rounds remaining, has won three of the past four races in Austin but had never before managed to seize top slot on the starting grid in Texas.

Rosberg shrugged off any suggestion he has lost any momentum.

The title battle continues in one week south of the boarder in Mexico, where Rosberg started a run of seven consecutive victories 12 months ago. "So it will be interesting tomorrow, for sure", Rosberg said.

It was an unfortunate stoppage for Verstappen who was in the fight with Ricciardo and Rosberg for second place before a pit stop error cost him time.

Hamilton, who won his third title at the circuit previous year after a Rosberg error gifted him the race win, shook hands with his team mate as they waited to go on the podium. He finally got the jump he needed with a burst off the line he'd been missing.

"Of course [the championship is all to play for]", said Hamilton.

Hamilton bolted into the 110-foot, elevated left turn that whiplashes the cars back downhill.

After Red Bull elected to split strategies for their drivers, Ricciardo will start the race on the faster but more brittle supersoft tyres. Ricciardo finished third for his second U.S. Grand Prix podium in three years.

"It was a good lap I did". He's going to give Red Bull an almighty headache next season when other team's come knocking for his services.

"But I was going for it flat out until the end [to try and catch Hamilton]".

Hamilton's title defence hit a roadblock in Sepang earlier this month when his auto suffered massive engine failure while he led the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified seventh, didn't even last two laps after he tagged Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari which bounced him into the path of Valtteri Bottas' Williams and had to limp back to the pits to retire. Will home-team Haas offer the crowd anything, at all, to cheer?

Red Bull's Dutch teenager Max Verstappen had a wild race that ended with a gear box problem on lap 32.

Reminded by his team to be cautious and finish, the young Dutchman responded: "I'm not here to finish fourth!"