Lewis Hamilton has a fourth world championship title in his sights after winning the Japanese Grand Prix while rival Sebastian Vettel failure to score.
Ferrari discovered a spark plug fault on Vettel’s car shortly before the start of the race. Although he was able to take the start his car did not have full power and he retired shortly afterwards.
That left Hamilton to head off a challenge from Max Verstappen to take his eighth victory of the season. The threat from the Red Bull driver increased suddenly in the final laps after Hamilton reported a tyre vibration, but Verstappen lost time lapping Felipe Massa, which broke his charge.
Daniel Ricciardo joined the pair on the podium after holding of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. A late Virtual Safety Car period, caused when Lance Stroll’s Williams suffered a failure, delayed Bottas in his pursuit of the Red Bull.
The sole remaining Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen rose to fifth place, jumping ahead of Esteban Ocon through the pits to claim his final place. Sergio Perez in the other Force India was eager to take on his team mate but was ordered to hold position.
Behind them Massa lost his grip on eighth place when he was mugged by the Haas drivers. Kevin Magnussen put a daring pass on him at turn two which also allowed Romain Grosjean to follow him by.
Hamilton leaves Suzuka with a 59-point lead over Vettel which means he can clinch the championship at the next round in the USA. The only concern for him may come from his power unit, which he reported was vibrating on his in-lap.
2017 Japanese Grand Prix reaction
- Massa explains why he got between Hamilton and Verstappen
- Hamilton expects no engine problems despite vibration warning
- Verstappen doubts he could have passed Hamilton
- Alonso penalised for slow response to blue flags for Hamilton
- Vettel at risk of grid penalty after reprimand for missing anthem
- Vettel “very unfortunate” with unreliability – Hamilton
- Vettel admits car failures “hurt” as his title chances slip away