It was the culmination of a season in which he has been in the form of his career, driving virtually flawlessly in taking nine wins and nine pole positions.
Red Bull had suffered a hydraulics failure with Verstappen's vehicle in practice - and speaking to Sky Sports after the race, team boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo's race was ended by what was likely another hydraulics problem.
Hamilton's success - the third time he has taken the title without finishing on the race podium - elevated him to a supreme club alongside Fangio with only seven-time champion Michael Schumacher ahead of him. "I was doing my own pace, matching his lap times when I needed to then, of course, Sebastian was coming through the field, passing Daniel, and also Lewis".
Verstappen started from second place and was immediately handed an opportunity when Ricciardo bogged down off the line, but Hamilton squeezed between the Red Bulls as he made a bid for the lead.
Hamilton's drive wasn't the Sunday leisure spin he'd hoped for as he complained of problems with the vehicle and tires much of the race. Vettel starts right behind him again Sunday and must win if he has any hope of extending the championship to the next race in Brazil.
Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top five, with Nico Hulkenberg, Charles Leclerc, Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericcson, and Pierre Gasly the other points finishers.
Max Verstappen's father Jos has taken a shot at his son's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, criticising the Australian for his actions during the Mexican Grand Prix.
Ricciardo, having blamed traffic for being overhauled by Vettel earlier on, strived to keep his former team-mate at bay on increasingly worn tyres.
Hamilton started third a year ago and a first turn bump from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel punctured a tire.
Montreal's Lance Stroll was 12th. It hasn't been a clean weekend for so long.
And he paid tribute to his Mercedes team, saying: "These guys in the garage have just been flawless every single weekend, with our pit stops, with our decision-making in the background, strategy and set-up".