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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton moved closer to retaining his Formula 1 world title with a win in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, taking full advantage of a crash from rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
The German crashed with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and would finish in sixth place, well behind the two Silver Arrows. Valtteri Bottas took second place ahead of Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo battled his way to fourth and Kimi Raikkonen held off Vettel for fifth place.
Here are the full results and the championship outlook after the Japanese Grand Prix:
Formula 1 @F1
RACE CLASSIFICATION (LAP 53/53) Another 1-2 for Mercedes, despite Verstappen pushing to the line 💪 #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/SsYs1yNWvY
Mercedes have dominated since the mid-season break and locked out the front row in qualifying for this race. The Silver Arrows made a clean start, with Hamilton immediately creating a gap, while in the background Vettel made up ground early.
Verstappen and Raikkonen had a tangle that resulted in a penalty for the Dutchman, but his incidents with Ferrari were only just getting started. Vettel tried to overtake the Red Bull man and made contact, spinning his car and taking damage.
The German was adamant it was Verstappen’s fault:
Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1
Sebastian Vettel has blamed Max Verstappen for their collision at the #JapaneseGP “He didn’t give enough room and then we touched.” https://t.co/T7HKqz2VIm #SkyF1 https://t.co/wB58n9tnvQ
The error only added to Hamilton’s significant momentum, and he now has a chance to win the world title in two weeks. The Brit needs to out-score Vettel by eight points or hope Vettel does not finish in second place in the United States, per Pete Gill of Sky Sports.
Four-time champion Hamilton was rarely troubled on Sunday, with some minor engine issues the only cause for concern. The 33-year-old has been in phenomenal form of late and a fifth title seems all but certain at this point, barring a major crash.
The other standout was Ricciardo, who had a disastrous qualifying session due to yet more engine issues. The Australian made the most of his race and told reporters he was happy with his outing afterwards:
Formula 1 @F1
After a miserable Saturday the smile returned to Danny Ric’s face after a stellar fightback from P15 to P4 on Sunday 👏 #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/DNE1AgJVyt
Verstappen also had fine pace and could have beaten Bottas to second place if not for the penalty.
In the background Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen were involved in an incident, with neither driver finishing the race:
Formula 1 @F1
“Magnussen is and always will be stupid” @Charles_Leclerc did not mince his words after clashing with K-Mag #JapaneseGP 🇯🇵 #F1 https://t.co/YOomZEQXnm
The next race will be at the Circuit of the Americas on October 21. After the American Grand Prix there will be three races left, in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.