Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix, and extended his championship lead to 59 points from Sebastian Vettel. The British Samurai, led the race from the pole till the end, without any problem and no pressure. Red Bull was the only team which tried to put some pressure on Hamilton, especially after the second Virtual Safety Car, but still the champion remained first and took the chequered flag at the Japanese Grand Prix.
An engine problem cost the race to Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari’s engineers were working on Vettel’s car just a few minutes before the formation lap, the team thought that they solved the issue but there prays didn’t work out and Vettel retired on the fourth lap. After lights out, the German lost the second position from Max Verstappen and soon dropped down to sixth, the safety car, which deployed due to Sainz’s retirement, allowed him to remain on track for a couple of laps, but at the re-start Ferrari informed Vettel to return to the pits and retire his car.
Vettel said on Sky “It’s normal you’re critical, especially if things go wrong, so it’s part of our job. I think I need to protect them. We’ve done an incredible job so far. Bitter the past two races with the reliability issues – but you know, it’s like that sometimes. 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 four races and see what happens.”
Daniel Ricciardo scored another podium this season and set a new personal-best with nine podiums in one season. The Australian had a quiet evening behind his team-mate compering to Max Verstappen who started fourth but moved up to second place and was trying to stay close to Hamilton during the Japanese Grand Prix. The Dutch, knew that Lewis will not defend his position in case of a battle between them, but Max didn’t have the pace to match and challenge Hamilton.
An interesting battle for the tenth position took place during the final laps of the race, Felipe Massa was the leader of this battle from the 10th position, challenged by Magnussen and Grosjean. The Brazilian was struggling and didn’t had the pace to stay ahead of the two drivers, both passed him and moved up to the eighth and ninth place respectively. Massa defended his position from Fernando Alonso, who started the race from the back of the gird. The VSC which deployed due to Stroll’s retirement, helped him to keep a distance from the Spaniard and score one point for Williams in Suzuka.
Jolyon Palmer raced for the last time for the Renault and finished 12th, whilst his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg was unlucky as he forced to retire due to an issue with the DRS.
Next stop is at the Circuit of the Americas, a circuit which suits better to Mercedes and they are expected to be more competitive. Sebastian Vettel was leading by seven points after the Belgian Grand Prix and he was only three points behind Hamilton in Italy, but the next three races were a disaster for him and Ferrari. A start-line crash in Singapore, followed by engine problems in Malaysia and Japan dropped him 59 points behind Lewis. The Brit three-time champion, is on his way for his fourth title which he can celebrate it in COTA.