“I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap.” (Hamilton)
Another win for Hamilton, another exit for Vettel – as went out with engine problems 4 laps into the race. It is Hamilton’s 8th win this season; he now leads the championship by 59 points, with 100 remaining.
Japan GP Race Results 2017
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
6. Esteban Ocon (Force India)
7. Sergio Perez (Force India)
8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
9. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
10. Felipe Massa (Williams)
More on the F1 teams of 2017
Hamilton is on Fire and looks like he will be on top again!
At the next race in the US on 22nd October a win for Hamilton and anything lower than 5th place for Vettel – Hamilton will be crowned this year’s champion.
A fourth World Championship would make Hamilton the most successful British driver of all time, a win ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart. Only 4 other drivers have achieved 4 or more titles: Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
In what had been a closely fought season between Hamilton and Vettel – luck appears to have swung in Hamilton’s favour since the summer break. An attempt to reverse this at this stage of the competition will need to be immediate and dramatic. Vettel has a lot to do.
The Asian leg of the competition proved punishing for Ferrari. After the Belgian Grand Prix Vettel was leading the championship and after Hamilton’s win in Italy he was only 3 points behind – since then – he crashed out on the first lap in Singapore and has suffered with engine problems in Malaysia and Japan. The problem today, according to Ferrari, was the incredibly rare occurrence of an issue with the spark plug.
Vettel has an awful first lap!
Vettel started in 2nd place, but was in 6th place after the 1st lap and it became increasing clear that he was struggling with power – until retiring on lap 4.
“Of course it hurts and we’re all disappointed, but now we need to get back, get some rest and then go flat out for the last 4 races and see what happens.” (Vettel)
Today, Hamilton had been expecting a battle with Vettel, but the wrangle was again with Verstappen. The Dutchman has made a vast improvement as the season heads towards its finale -the gap between him and Hamilton was rarely more than 3 seconds and he finished just behind him in 2nd.
Clearly enjoying his revival Verstappen said, “it was a great day again. I really love the track. We had great pace – just really hard to pass.”
Team mate Ricciardo’s fine season continued as he finished 3rd, his 9th podium and another battle won,
“After the start the race spread out and it wasn’t much fun for me…to have pressure at the end (from Bottas) was good.”
Raikkonen started in 11th following a gearbox penalty and eventually came 5th – bringing some points back to Ferrari.
Alonso had started at the back following an engine penalty and had done well in an underperforming car to work his way up the grid – sadly he wasn’t rewarded with any points as Massa held off his challenge for 10th.
Palmer looks to leave Renault after Japan
British driver Jolyon Palmer finished 12th in his final race for Renault – and possibly his last ever grand prix.
The next race, the US Grand Prix is expected to suit Mercedes, while Mexico is better for Ferrari.
But predictions, as we know, are tricky….