Hamilton had needed only five points to be sure of the title while four times champion Vettel had to win to have any hope of denying the Briton. "I dreamed of it but I never thought I would be standing here as a five-time world champion".
"I've been with Mercedes since I was 13 so to complete this - Fangio had done it with Mercedes - it's an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment".
"Helpless, I think, is the best word", Ricciardo added in another interview. "But well deserved, congrats to Lewis and his team, they did a superb job all year". I really do aspire to be like him as a strong black man and as a father and as a human being, doing what he did in the hard times and with the little that he had, I think that's testament to where we are. "Hopefully I can challenge him for it soon".
Daniel Ricciardo went from pole position to yet another disaster as engine failure doomed his auto yet again.
"I always believed we could win this championship, but it was one of the toughest", Hamilton said.
Verstappen's day was the opposite to Ricciardo's, with the 21-year-old Dutchman angered by auto problems that prevented him from becoming Formula One's youngest ever pole sitter and suffering a sleepless night.
But he got left behind at the starting line and quickly dropped to third.
Hamilton said he'd like to go for a win to punctuate a season championship, but he doesn't give himself much of a chance to do that Sunday.
Hamilton dropped to fifth behind Raikkonen who also just had one stop, and complained again about tyre problems by saying via team radio "something is definitely not right when I have fresh tyres and still can't match their times".
The first to congratulate Hamilton was actor Will Smith, who said over the team radio: "That's how I taught you, that's how you do it, that's how you drive".
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault, who had Spaniard Carlos Sainz retire early on, with Charles Leclerc seventh for Sauber.
Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a rare afternoon of success, finishing eighth for McLaren, while Sauber's Marcus Ericsson was ninth and Pierre Gasly 10th for Toro Rosso.