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Lewis Hamilton's career going downhill from here
Like Jacques Villeneuve who went for a money grab and destroyed his career, Lewis Hamilton's move to the Mercedes team is likely to be the death knell for his career.
A famous Texan, billionaire Ross Perot, once described the prospect of American jobs being lost overseas as a "giant sucking sound." How sad it will be if that colorful phrase is soon applied to the Formula One career of Lewis Hamilton that is vanishing down the same black hole that swallowed Michael Schumacher's comeback.

Winning in Texas on Sunday put the million-dollar grin back on Hamilton's face, to match the sparkle from his diamond ear studs. It wasn't mere fatherly pride speaking when Anthony Hamilton called this "probably one of Lewis' greatest races ever."

Hamilton's emphatic overtake of Sebastian Vettel for the race lead on Lap 42 of 56, missing the Red Bull's right rear tire by inches as he swept past, came during his next-to-last Grand Prix for McLaren.

"It was real dangerous, if I'm honest," Hamilton said. But utterly thrilling to watch.

All of which only served to accentuate the sobering thought that Hamilton and F1 could be very sorry next season, when he no longer has a throaty McLaren to give voice to his driving talent.

Crystal balls are notoriously unreliable in a sport so changeable and so reliant on the coming together of men and complex machinery. Still, it was impossible not to think that for a glimpse of Hamilton's future, all one needed to do was to look behind him, a long, long way behind him, on the new Circuit of the Americas, an instant contender as the most exciting track on the F1 calendar.

There, more than a lap back, was Schumacher, limping around to yet another nowhere finish in his Mercedes, the same team Hamilton has signed to drive for next year. The yawning gap between the two former world champions highlighted the risk Hamilton is taking in moving from a team of proven winners at McLaren to Mercedes, a team of yet largely unfulfilled ambition.

Schumacher called his race "a disaster," a description that could be applied to the bulk of his season. He went backward Sunday from fifth on the grid to finish 16th. Unlike nearly everyone else, he was forced to change tires twice because his car so lacked grip. Teammate Nico Rosberg finished 13th.

That makes five successive races in which neither Mercedes scored points. All the positive vibes generated by Schumacher's return to F1 in 2009 have been sucked dry by three seasons in Mercedes cars that failed to give him anything close to a fighting chance of winning an eighth world title. More at SI.com

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