F1: Hamilton dominates Japanese Grand Prix

    Lewis Hamilton took another significant stride towards his third Formula 1 world title with a comfortable Japanese Grand Prix.

    Published On Sep 28, 2015 08:21:00 AM

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    F1: Hamilton dominates Japanese Grand Prix

    Lewis Hamilton took another significant stride towards his third Formula 1 world title with a comfortable Japanese Grand Prix victory after a close first-lap moment with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    Following the anomaly of Mercedes' struggle for pace in Singapore, around Suzuka normal service was resumed as Hamilton led home Rosberg by 18.9 seconds, their eighth one-two of the year.

    The win was Hamilton's 41st, equalling the haul of hero Ayrton Senna, and from his 162nd start, one more than the late three-time champion.

    Hamilton is now 48 points clear of Rosberg with 125 available from the remaining five races, with Sebastian Vettel falling 59 points adrift after the Ferrari driver could only manage third.

    The key moment came in the opening seconds, as Rosberg and Hamilton ran side by side through the first corners.

    With the preferable inside line at Turn 2, Hamilton was able to edge Rosberg aside, leading to the latter running marginally off track, allowing Vettel and Williams's Valtteri Bottas to sweep by into second and third.

    Aside from one complaint shortly before his second pitstop after 31 laps about "vibrations so big" that left him "struggling", Hamilton was never troubled through to the chequered flag.

    Rosberg limited the damage to Hamilton by passing Bottas on lap 17 before the undercut worked on Vettel 13 laps later come the second round of stops.

    Behind Vettel was team-mate Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari made its own undercut work on Bottas who, from third on the grid at the start, had to settle for fifth.

    Team-mate Felipe Massa's race was ruined inside the opening few hundred metres as the passing Daniel Ricciardo's left-rear tyre collided with his own front right.

    Both men suffered punctures, with Massa also requiring a new front-wing due to damage sustained on the slow crawl back to the pits.

    The Brazilian finished 17th and two laps down, with only Manor duo Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens and late retiree Felipe Nasr behind him.

    Sergio Perez was also pitched off the road as the pack avoided the damaged Williams and Red Bull, but recovered to 12th after a pitstop for repairs.

    Ricciardo was 15th and a lap adrift, a week after finishing second in Singapore.

    Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat - whose car was completely rebuilt following his heavy crash in qualifying, requiring a new chassis, power unit and gearbox - endured a frustrating race and multiple issues as he could only manage 13th.

    From 13th on the grid, after serving a three-place penalty for causing a collision with Massa in Singapore, Nico Hulkenberg was a fine sixth in his Force India, gaining ground at the start and then jumping both Lotus drivers at the first stops.

    Despite Lotus's ongoing financial woes, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were seventh and eighth, with Toro Rosso pair Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr rounding out the points scorers.

    Verstappen had started 17th after serving his own three-place penalty for stopping in a potentially dangerous place in qualifying when his car suffered an electrical failure.

    Sainz had his own moment in the race, hitting a bollard on the entry to the pitlane, forcing his pit crew into an unexpected front-wing change. He then lost out in a late battle with Verstappen.

    As for McLaren, on Honda's home track, Fernando Alonso could have done no more to suggest he wants either a swift exit from his three-year contract or a dramatic rapid improvement.

    Early on Alonso bemoaned his lack of pace, saying "it's embarrassing, very embarrassing", before later labelling Honda's V6 engine as "GP2" standard, followed by an exasperated cry of frustration.

    Alonso eventually finished 11th, with Jenson Button 16th.

    RESULTS - 53 LAPS:

    PosDriverCarGap
    1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h28m06.508s
    2Nico RosbergMercedes18.964s
    3Sebastian VettelFerrari20.850s
    4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari33.768s
    5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes36.746s
    6Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes55.559s
    7Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes1m12.298s
    8Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes1m13.575s
    9Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault1m35.315s
    10Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1 Lap
    11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
    12Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
    13Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1 Lap
    14Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
    15Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1 Lap
    16Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
    17Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes2 Laps
    18Alexander RossiMarussia/Ferrari2 Laps
    19Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari3 Laps
    20Felipe NasrSauber/FerrariNot running

    DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

    PosDriverPoints
    1Lewis Hamilton277
    2Nico Rosberg229
    3Sebastian Vettel218
    4Kimi Raikkonen119
    5Valtteri Bottas111
    6Felipe Massa97
    7Daniel Ricciardo73
    8Daniil Kvyat66
    9Romain Grosjean44
    10Sergio Perez39
    11Nico Hulkenberg38
    12Max Verstappen32
    13Felipe Nasr17
    14Pastor Maldonado16
    15Carlos Sainz12
    16Fernando Alonso11
    17Marcus Ericsson9
    18Jenson Button6
    19Roberto Merhi0
    20Will Stevens0
    21Alexander Rossi0

    CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

    PosConstructorPoints
    1Mercedes506
    2Ferrari337
    3Williams/Mercedes208
    4Red Bull/Renault139
    5Force India/Mercedes77
    6Lotus/Mercedes60
    7Toro Rosso/Renault44
    8Sauber/Ferrari26
    9McLaren/Honda17
    10Marussia/Ferrari0


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