Lewis Hamilton has said that sheer determination and will power played a major role in securing the first F1 victory at Austin's impressive Circuit of the Americas.

The Briton started from the front row of the grid in Texas but, with the track surface favouring those with odd-numbered slots, he lost a place to Mark Webber into turn one. Although he subsequently re-passed the Australian in the space of three laps, Hamilton then faced the prospect of chasing down poleman Sebastian Vettel, but stuck to his task and eventually grabbed the lead with 14 laps to run.

"When Seb was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy," he revealed later, "Along the back straight, I went to the to the [left], but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the [other] side, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close but what made the difference today between Seb and me was that I wanted it more!"

Hamilton's victory, his fourth of the year, went a long way to making up for the missed opportunities in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, when his McLaren let him down while leading. This time, he clearly had the pace to compete in the race, but was made to wait as he battled his way to the front.

"To overtake both Red Bulls in the race was the coolest thing for me," he grinned, "To be able to beat Red Bull and Sebastian is definitely a tough challenge, but we managed to do it today.

"[The Red Bull] was pretty strong everywhere. [In] the first sector, [it] is very difficult to follow through [turns] four, five, six, seven, [because it's] such high speed through there. The place where he really extended his gap was the exit of [turn] nine. That was really where he made over a second gap, so I was struggling to really remain close.

"We weren't so bad in the first stint, but it was very difficult to follow and to get past. In trying to do, so I locked up [as] my tyres went off. We pitted maybe two laps before Sebastian, so then he came out quite far ahead, but traffic really worked out quite well for once. I knew that lap would be the lap that I would have a chance..."

Having won the last grand prix to have been staged in the USA, at Indianapolis in 2007, Hamilton was delighted to have picked up from where he left off.

"What a great feeling to win the first grand prix back here in the States," he enthused, "I won the last one here as well, so I'm massively proud to come back and win it again - and in front of such a great crowd. It feels very special indeed.

"There are a couple of grands prix that are somehow out on their own: there's Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list - it's already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three.

"The fans have been amazing this weekend - the warm welcome we've had has been fantastic and I think this is probably one of the best, if not the best, grand prix we've had all year."

Having committed to Mercedes next season, Hamilton is determined to leave McLaren with a brace of victories and will be hoping to add Brazil to his list of conquests before bidding a final farewell to the Woking squad.

"It's a brilliant feeling to be finishing the season on a high," he admitted, "Hopefully, we'll go to Brazil next week with the same level of performance, as I'd love to win my final two races for [the team]."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was full of praise for his driver

"Today was a brilliant day for Lewis Hamilton, a brilliant day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and a brilliant day for F1," he claimed.

"The battle [for the lead] was long and intense, two great drivers at the top of their form, their cars never more than a few metres apart and often almost nose to tail, but, when Lewis made his move, he made it beautifully. From that moment onwards, try as Seb might to mount a counter-attack, Lewis was in supreme command - right on the limit yet, in total control, the man of the match at his brilliant best."

Even Vettel was forced to admit that he had been beaten by the better combination on the day.

"It was a very good race and we did everything we could, but unfortunately we ran into traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis," the German concluded, "He used his chance well, I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed down the straight. I respect the positions; Lewis beat us fair and square."