Hamilton wins in Japan and moves closer to F1 title

Hamilton wins in Japan and moves closer to F1 title

Lewis Hamilton admits he has been surprised by the way Ferrari's title challenge has faded after moving close to a fifth drivers' championship with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Shock: From the very first session of Friday practice, it seemed unlikely Ferrari would challenge Mercedes for victory in Suzuka but nobody expected the fastest red vehicle to be 50 seconds off at the finish. The Australian demonstrated to his replacement at Red Bull exactly how one moves smoothly round the field.

"If I don't go for that gap and the gap was there then might as well stay at home".

Suzuka - Sebastian Vettel has refused to point fingers after Ferrari calamitously chose the wrong tyres in Japanese Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

"Of course we didn't spin off the track [like in China], but he drove into the side of my vehicle".

Despite the mistakes and a heavy points loss in both championships, Vettel said that seeing the team work was "inspirational" and claims the team doesn't have much to lose now with four races to go. "I even gave him space".

It was a soporific race at the front, Hamilton so in control on his way to his sixth win in seven races that he at one point asked his team if they were still there, so little did they need to talk to him.

"We seem to have the stamina this year".

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When the safety auto went back to the pits, Vettel attacked Verstappen for third but ended up carrying too much speed and made light contact with the Red Bull.

Verstappen was already set to serve a five-second penalty for his earlier altercation with Raikkonen, and Vettel pinned the blame for the accident at the Dutchman's door.

The incident was investigated by the stewards, with no further action taken, but Verstappen felt it was clear Vettel had been at fault.

Overtake of the race: Just a few laps before his botched overtake on Verstappen, Vettel pulled a remarkable move on Romain Grosjean on the straight down to Spoon with two wheels on the grass.

Vettel knew he had to make up ground quickly if he was to have any hope of stopping Hamilton's apparently unstoppable march to the title which for a long time looked as if it could be the Ferrari driver's.

"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong and then we obviously got to Monza and then after that they were still quite strong from Monza, Singapore and then at Singapore was when it really started to tail off". For me, the gap was there - otherwise I wouldn't do it. "But I don't think there was an very bad big gap".

Raikkonen was also in a dark mood after an incident on the opening lap when Verstappen drove over the grass at the chicane before bumping into his Ferrari.

"I just can't catch a break", said Ricciardo, who is leaving Red Bull for Renault at the end of the year.

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