Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth

Hamilton led from pole to flag, crossing the line 12.9 seconds ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in a second successive Mercedes one-two.

Vettel spun around and resumed at the back.

Vettel's move smelt of desperation, and it marked his seventh mistake of an increasingly-erratic campaign which has unravelled since the summer break.

Vettel could only recover to sixth, leaving him 67 points behind race victor Lewis Hamilton - who can now clinch the title at the next race in the United States. "It's a great 1-2 for Mercedes and shows you the strength and depth of our team".

"I can't wait to unleash this beast in Austin", he added, pointing at his vehicle.

"We seem to have the stamina this year".

Vettel was left wondering what might have been after a ruining an electric start with an ill-advised attempt to duck inside Verstappen at turn 13. "In that corner you can't overtake".

Alonso said he was baffled by his penalty and said it showed how inconsistent F1 penalties are, saying: "Even when the driver comes to apologise I think it's hard to understand the decision but you know, this is how bad Formula 1 is".

Red Bull boss Christian Horner put it even more bluntly when asked to assess Vettel's rush of blood.

"If it starts to rain five, six seven minutes earlier, we did a miracle because we're the only clever ones and if it's like that obviously we're the only ones looking stupid", he said. "That's probably the end of his championship". "As soon as he saw me obviously he defended but I had the inside". "I even gave him space".

Esteban Ocon completed a double points finish for Force India in ninth while Carlos Sainz took the final point for Renault.

After starting eighth on the grid after a torrid qualifying session, the German's race began to unravel after he collided with Red Bull driver Verstappen on lap four.

Lewis Hamilton has won the Japanese Grand Prix to stand on the brink of a 5th Formula One world title. "You either have the trophy in your hands or you don't - and we haven't got it in our hands".

"The gap was there, I had the inside".

Verstappen pushed the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen off the track in an eventful race.

"I knew he had a penalty", insisted Vettel. "I've been grateful to have also delivered when the team have delivered". "But I don't think there was an terrible big gap. I don't want to dwell too much about it because it's bad karma too, so let's just go to Austin and get it done". "We touched a little bit but I really think it's ridiculous those five seconds".

That allowed Vettel to get between them, with the stewards penalising Verstappen for failing to rejoin safely.

"He drove into the side of my auto".

The race resumed on lap eight, and moments later Vettel was last. I don't regret the move. I don't regret the move, obviously with that outcome you would do it differently because with hindsight it's always easy. "But the gap was there - I had more speed, I would have made the corner".

"Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can't wait to unleash this beast there".

Verstappen though was unrepentant and called his penalty "stupid".

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