Lewis Hamilton says he feels he can leave McLaren
with his head held high on the back of his victory in the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton stormed to the top step of the podium in Texas after fighting his way ahead of title hopeful Sebastian Vettel
– giving him his fourth victory of the campaign in his penultimate race with McLaren.
The Briton admitted it was the ideal way to rebound from some of the recent issues he has faced on track and an indication of what he can do as he prepares to head to Mercedes for his fresh challenge.
"It's what I've been working for, and we would have had a lot more if we hadn't have had some of the problems we have had,” he told the Press Association
. "But this win makes all those disappear. It allows us to move forward and smile, enjoy and appreciate how hard everyone has worked.
"It would be nice to be battling for the championship, but that's not the way it is, so I just have to be grateful for where I am and what we have achieved here.
"I believe I stamped my mark and showed I have the status and drive the others do, even though I'm not competing for the championship. I've been driving my best all year, and I've been getting stronger and stronger throughout, and for me this is my strongest race of the year.
"I loved it, to be able to push that much and not make mistakes, and to hunt him (Vettel) down and see him mistakes whilst applying the pressure was a great feeling."
Hamilton added that, even if results don't go his way this weekend in Brazil, he was pleased to have been able to take one final victory from his time with the team that has guided him through his career so far.
"This is the ultimate high,” he said. "I'm not going into the last race saying we can get higher than this because this is what I've been talking about, getting that last win.
"Naturally, I hope we can compete and we've a chance of winning in Brazil, but in Austin the right circumstances and the right things happened at the right times to enable me to do that.
"Regardless of what happens I'm ending on a high because I won this race and the guys were able to wear their rocket red shirts."