By Steve Keating
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Red Bull's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel won the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday and became the first driver to take eight consecutive victories in a single Formula One season.
Starting from pole, the 26-year-old German was again in a class of his own, taking the chequered flag 6.2 seconds clear of Frenchman Romain Grosjean in a Lotus.
Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber finished third.
The champion, who clinched his fourth straight title in India last month, is now one step away from equaling compatriot Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of 13 wins in a season after collecting his 12th of the year.
Next weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix is the last race of the season.
"I'm speechless," Vettel told his team over the radio after his first victory at the Circuit of the Americas after missing out last year.
"We have to remember these days. There is no guarantee they will last forever," he added, his victory coming a day after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner celebrated his 40th birthday.
Britain's Lewis Hamilton, last year's winner for McLaren, finished fourth for Mercedes with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fifth and Nico Hulkenberg sixth in a Sauber.
Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas took his first points of the season with eighth place for struggling Williams behind McLaren's Mexican Sergio Perez.
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)