Hamilton wins as F1 returns to the USA while Vettel is able to extend his lead with just one race left to run – helping Red Bull wrap up the constructors' title in the process. Vettel qualifies on pole and leads from Hamilton until the 42nd lap, when the McLaren driver finally finds a way through as the pair deal with the lapped HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. Vettel keeps him honest to the finish but can't find a way back into the lead.
Alonso struggles to ninth on the grid with a lack of grip, which then becomes eighth thanks to a gearbox penalty for Raikkonen. With that meaning a start on the dirty side of the grid, Ferrari break the seal on Felipe Massa's gearbox to hand him a penalty that promotes Alonso to seventh and a good start sees him jump to fourth by turn one. Webber's retirement with alternator issues then see the Spaniard move into third, which is where he finishes to head to Brazil 13 points behind Vettel in the standings.
The most dramatic of season finales sees Button win for McLaren but Vettel crowned champion after he finishes sixth. The German qualifies fourth but loses places off the line and is then hit at turn four by Bruno Senna, damaging his car and dropping him to the back of the field. In challenging wet conditions, Vettel works his way forwards and picks up the points required to become the youngest triple champion F1 has ever seen.
Alonso qualifies eighth but gets ahead of Vettel at the start and suddenly finds himself in with a real chance of the title after his rival's first lap accident. Keeping out of trouble, Alonso is able to get up to second place behind Button but it isn't enough, as Vettel's performance ensures that the Spaniard falls just three points shy of becoming a triple champion himself.