Lewis Hamilton has revealed Formula 1 championship rival Sebastian Vettel told him "I need you fighting with me next year" just moments after clinching his fifth world title in Mexico on Sunday.

Hamilton wrapped up his fourth drivers' crown in the last five years with a fourth-place finish in the Mexican Grand Prix, moving into an unassailable lead over Vettel with two races to spare this year.

Driver Ratings - Mexican GP

Hamilton and Vettel have fought for the championship each of the past two years, and have won a combined total of eight of the last nine championships, standing out as the two leading drivers of their generation.

Moments after Hamilton got out of his car after finishing the race and clinching the title, he shared a moment and a few words with Vettel, with the Briton revealing what was said after the race.

"He came over and, the one thing he said was: ‘Just don’t let off, I need you fighting with me next year’ – which I respect, naturally," Hamilton said.

"I think for me, I just said, thank you so much for being such a strong competitor this year. But it happens so fast so I don’t remember everything we said, but ultimately it was a true showing of great sportsmanship and respect between us, as I think has been there all year long.

"I think that’s great to have in multiple world champions, two competitors who’ve gone head-to-head. It’s been a hard year. He’s fought so well this year and I know he drove fantastically well today and I know he’d going to go from strength to strength.

"I’ve got to stay on my toes and make sure I keep trying to come back with a good blow in the future."

Vettel was also shown after the race going into Mercedes' motorhome to congratulate all of the team members.