A period of Mercedes dominance in 2015 and 2016 saw Vettel fall behind in the Championship race, failing to win a single Grand Prix in 2016 and raising serious questions over his ability to perform the way he could at Red Bull.
Vettel fought back to sixth, but for Hamilton, there were no such concerns as he marched towards his ninth win of the year, and crossed the line 12.9 seconds clear of Bottas.
Clearly, Ferrari doesn't think so, deciding to keep Vettel for next season and replacing the elder statesman in Kimi Raikkonen with the hugely inexperienced Charles Leclerc. He was up to sixth by the third corner, passing both Toro Rosso, then fifth when he passed Romain Grosjean's Haas into Spoon.
Be it the ludicrous strategy gaff witnessed on Saturday, the question mark over that second sensor or the numerous unnecessary incidents Vettel has been involved in, the German is now down on his rival by 67 points, and no matter how broadcasters might dress it up and what scenarios they might conjure up, it is over. Out came the safety auto after debris littered the track following a coming together between Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc.
Stewards reviewed the Verstappen contact and took no action. While this is no knock on a clearly talented driver, fans of the Italian team have to be frustrated with constant mistakes and even non-finishes of a driver who promised so much when he entered through the illustrious doors of Ferrari.
After a virtual safety auto, called after Leclerc pulled off with a mechanical failure, Bottas began to run into blistering problems with his tyres.
Raikkonen was also in a dark mood after an incident on the opening lap when Verstappen drove over the grass at the chicane before bumping into his Ferrari.
A clever early-ish pit stop switched Verstappen's tyres and left him out on track fighting for position until the very end - despite his time penalty.
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants: What you need to know
According to head coach Pat Shurmur , running back Saquon Barkley is "fine" after appearing to injure his knee in Sunday's game. Entering this season, it was expected to be a three team race between the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and the Panthers.
Daniel Ricciardo showed young pretender Pierre Gasly how it's done.
The collision came just a few laps after Verstappen collided with Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and was handed a five-second time penalty as a result.
Driver of the day Tricky one, this.
Asked who made the decision, he said: "Does it matter?"
For so much of this season, Ferrari have had the fastest vehicle.
From sublime Suzuka, to wonderful Austin.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates the 71st victory of his career.
Vettel's championship hopes hang on by a thread as the German driver made another crucial mistake that has affected the gap to championship leader Lewis Hamilton. His first was at Canada in 2007, one year after Michael Schumacher secured the last of his 68 poles Paper boy: Vettel's helmet design incorporates origami "Ah, see you went for the furry heart with photo pocket option, too".