Hamilton wins Japanese GP as Vettel faces another setback

    The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo grabbed the other two spots on the podium at the 2017 Japanese GP.

    Published On Oct 09, 2017 02:36:00 PM

    4,403 Views

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton closed in on the Formula 1 title with victory at the Japanese Grand Prix, beating Max Verstappen and dashing Sebastian Vettel's championship hopes as he took a blow with yet another retirement.

    Hamilton converted pole into an early lead while second-placed Vettel began to drop back immediately, minutes after his Ferrari team had taken the engine cover off the car on the grid to check a spark plug problem. Vettel's subsequent lack of pace after meant Verstappen, who passed Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo off the line, picked off Vettel at the hairpin on the opening lap, before the Ferrari dropped another three places at the start of the second lap.

    After a brief safety car period, caused by Carlos Sainz crashing his Toro Rosso at Turn 6, Vettel slumped to eighth before getting the call on the radio to pit and retire the car on lap 4. Hamilton then extended his lead to just over four seconds before Verstappen pitted to change his supersofts for soft tyres on lap 21, with Hamilton covering off the undercut on the following lap.

    Bottas began to hold up Mercedes team-mate Hamilton after Ricciardo made his stop, allowing Verstappen to close within a second of his rival, but the gap grew again when Bottas allowed Hamilton through at the Casio Triangle at the midway point and started to hold up Verstappen.

    It wasn't until lap 30 that Bottas pitted for supersofts by which time Verstappen had fallen 3.4s adrift. The Dutchman then managed to cut Hamilton's advantage to a little over two seconds, but couldn't keep up the pace until Hamilton found himself impeded by Fernando Alonso on lap 51.

    That allowed Verstappen to close to within a second at the start of the final lap, but more traffic allowed Hamilton to escape once more and seal the win by a slight margin. Ricciardo completed the podium in third after a succession of fastest laps late on but couldn't make further inroads after switching to supersoft tyres on lap 25.

    The sole surviving Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth, recovering after dropping to 15th on the opening lap when he was forced wide at Spoon by Nico Hulkenberg.

    The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished sixth and seventh. Ocon had run as high as third early on after passing Ricciardo on the opening lap, but was soon demoted to fifth on successive laps by Ricciardo and Bottas.

    An aggressive late move at Turn 1 on the Williams of Felipe Massa gave Kevin Magnussen eighth place, with his team-mate Romain Grosjean following through to grab ninth. Fernando Alonso finished 11th in the final home race for Honda as engine partner to McLaren, ahead of Jolyon Palmer's Renault and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

    Race result

    POS

    DRIVER

    TEAM

    CAR

    GAP

    1

    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

    Mercedes

    1h27m31.194s

    2

    Max Verstappen

    Red Bull Racing

    Red Bull/Renault

    1.211s

    3

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull Racing

    Red Bull/Renault

    9.679s

    4

    Valtteri Bottas

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

    Mercedes

    10.580s

    5

    Kimi Raikkonen

    Scuderia Ferrari

    Ferrari

    32.622s

    6

    Esteban Ocon

    Sahara Force India F1 Team

    Force India/Mercedes

    1m07.788s

    7

    Sergio Perez

    Sahara Force India F1 Team

    Force India/Mercedes

    1m11.424s

    8

    Kevin Magnussen

    Haas F1 Team

    Haas/Ferrari

    1m28.953s

    9

    Romain Grosjean

    Haas F1 Team

    Haas/Ferrari

    1m29.883s

    10

    Felipe Massa

    Williams Martini Racing

    Williams/Mercedes

    1 Lap

    11

    Fernando Alonso

    McLaren Honda

    McLaren/Honda

    1 Lap

    12

    Jolyon Palmer

    Renault Sport F1 Team

    Renault

    1 Lap

    13

    Pierre Gasly

    Scuderia Toro Rosso

    Toro Rosso/Renault

    1 Lap

    14

    Stoffel Vandoorne

    McLaren Honda

    McLaren/Honda

    1 Lap

    15

    Pascal Wehrlein

    Sauber F1 Team

    Sauber/Ferrari

    2 Laps

    -

    Lance Stroll

    Williams Martini Racing

    Williams/Mercedes

    Suspension

    -

    Nico Hulkenberg

    Renault Sport F1 Team

    Renault

    DRS

    -

    Marcus Ericsson

    Sauber F1 Team

    Sauber/Ferrari

    Spun off

    -

    Sebastian Vettel

    Scuderia Ferrari

    Ferrari

    Spark plug

    -

    Carlos Sainz

    Scuderia Toro Rosso

    Toro Rosso/Renault

    Spun off

     

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