But, just as in Mexico City past year, Hamilton, who needed to finish only seventh to be sure of the title, did enough to take the spoils, clinching his fourth championship in five quite remarkable seasons.
He has equalled Argentine legend, Juan Miguel Fangio's five titles but is two short of F1 great, Michael Schumacher. Before Hamilton, Stewart was Britain's most successful champion with three titles in total.
Team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton as a well-deserved champion.
"It is not easy today but well deserved for him and I want to congratulate Lewis". "This has actually been a really hard weekend", the 33-year-old said after becoming world champion on Sunday. He nearly clinched the championship in the USA, but was thwarted by Scuderia Ferrari and finished third. In addition, he said, "I've been with Mercedes since I was 13, to complete this, when Fangio has done it with Mercedes, is an incredible feeling".
"Let me just try and realise that I've won this one", commented Hamilton, when asked about Schumacher's seven.
Although he is proud to have continued adding to Britain's tally of world championships, Hamilton insists he is not expecting another visit to Buckingham Palace in the near future.
But in the end, as it has been for most of the season, Verstappen's vehicle avoided a meltdown and saw him through to his fifth Formula 1 victory.
"I can't be too hard on myself with what happened in Germany", he said.
"How am I going to be fitter, how can I be more focused, how can I manage my time better, how can I just be better all round, a better driver in the vehicle but also with my team - in the garage, with the engineers, back at the factory, trying to be a better in all areas".
When he is out of his race vehicle he spends time promoting his clothing line.
"When I'm on the podium I look back and see the Union Jack and I'm very proud to raise that flag". He is non-stop. I don't know where he gets the ability to race as he has been doing this season and at the same time be here, there and everywhere in an environment a million miles away from motor racing. We are very talented and gifted team, we have the most support behind us, we have huge potential - of which some still needs to be unleashed.
The decision to switch to Mercedes ensured he was in the right place at the right time, an informed choice made by many multiple champions.