Lewis Hamilton cruises to win at Japanese GP, closes in on title

Lewis Hamilton cruises to win at Japanese GP, closes in on title”

Lewis Hamilton admits he has been surprised by the way Ferrari's title challenge has faded after moving close to a fifth drivers' championship with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel - Mercedes's only rival for the drivers' championship now - must have fancied his chances as he worked his way through the field, but contact with a certain young Red Bull-driving Dutchman sent him flying right to the back of the pack and with it effectively ended his last hopes of the title.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas secured the Mercedes one-two with second place while Verstappen finished third. The Australian demonstrated to his replacement at Red Bull exactly how one moves smoothly round the field. I saw a gap and went for it on the inside, he obviously tried to defend and I couldn't go anywhere, so we touched.

Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix after qualifying the fastest.

Despite the mistakes and a heavy points loss in both championships, Vettel said that seeing the team work was "inspirational" and claims the team doesn't have much to lose now with four races to go.

Hamilton will now head to Texas searching for a fifth straight victory in the United States, and his sixth in seven years. Races like this are a bit of a hand-over and we know it is hard from where we are in the point standings, but we don't have much to lose.

When asked if the mistake was a result of the mounting pressure that comes from dropping so far behind in the title race, Vettel said: "No, no".

It was another serene Sunday for Hamilton, who capped a dominant weekend in which he topped all three Suzuka practice sessions and captured pole by leading every lap.

Verstappen was already carrying a five-second penalty for earlier running wide and forcing Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen off the track and would have dropped behind Vettel anyway at the pitstops.

"I think we expected that there was more rain coming and obviously it didn't". Esteban Ocon finished ninth behind Romain Grosjean of Haas and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. beat Pierre Gasly of Torro Rosso to take 10th.

"I'm not the one who makes the rules otherwise a lot of penalties would have been avoided in F1, but I think it is a similar scenario to what I had in China with him", Verstappen said. "But I don't think there was an bad big gap". The Ferrari was mostly alongside entering the corner, only for the two to collide.

Raikkonen also felt Verstappen was fully to blame for their tangle, which happened when the Red Bull ran off the road at the chicane on the opening lap while third then banged wheels with the Ferrari as it rejoined.

"I was able to look after my tyres the way I wanted and just managed the pace".

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene said the podium had been within the team's grasp.

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