The Briton's current win will make him seal his fourth title easily at the US Grand Prix in Austin this month, as his lead has now increased to 59 points, contrary to last year, where the 32-year-old Stevenage born driver's title hopes were gutted by unfortunate engine failures and retirements.
Vettel lost a place to Max Verstappen at the hairpin before slipping all the way back to sixth on the main straight, with yet more positions being lost after a brief safety vehicle period.
Even after Vettel departed the scene, the Mercedes driver couldn't afford any let-up in Sunday's race as Max Verstappen twice closed to within a second of the race leader.
He clinched his last world title at the Circuit of the Americas in 2015 with victory over Nico Rosberg.
"In the world today, in Formula One it is a lot about reliability, it is about the team's whole performance, not just speed on the track", he added, saying that he was thankful to his team for the solid support. "I was excited to have a good race with Sebastian here but he's been incredibly unfortunate".
"I could see Lewis managing his tyres and, with traffic, it seemed hard for him to follow other cars compared to me", Verstappen said.
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A clearly disappointed Vettel said: "We've done an incredible job so far". I'm not really particularly taking insane risks in order to be in the position I'm in.
In fact, if Hamilton wins the next race in Austin and Vettel has another poor outing it will be job done and another title for Hamilton and Mercedes. Hamilton caught up to Bottas quickly and soon found himself running in his teammate's turbulent air at a crucial stage of the race, with a charging Max Verstappen closing in behind.
"I think I need to protect them (Ferrari)".
"It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues", Vettel said. Vettel said to Sky Sports F1 after his retirement. The race was restarted on lap 3/53.
"But for sure now you don't look at the positives because it's not the day to look at positives".
"I tried not to bother anyone".
Massa managed to take the final point for Williams keeping McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso at bay as the Spaniard's challenge was halted as they had to get out of the way when they were lapped by Hamilton and Verstappen right at the close.
Ferrari's scant consolation was fifth place for Kimi Raikkonen, who started 11th after a gearbox penalty, as Ocon and team-mate Sergio Perez took sixth and seventh ahead of Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.