Lewis Hamilton wins Japan Grand Prix

Formula One World Championship

Formula One World Championship

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 auto to be 50 seconds off at the finish. "You should ask Sebastian". This year has been more of the same, with Vettel unable to make his partnership with Ferrari tick despite the F1 heavyweights repeatedly putting their faith in him.

Indeed, the move smelt of desperation, and it marked Vettel's second mistake of the weekend, after he ran off track in qualifying, and his seventh of an error-prone campaign.

That puts Vettel 67 points behind Hamilton and means the Briton would win the title at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in two weeks' time if Mercedes finish one-two for the third successive race. The latter though did face pressure from Verstappen but did not succumb finishing a 1-2 for Mercedes, second time in a row.

"I can't wait to unleash this beast in Austin", he added, pointing at his auto. We have still the target this year to win the drivers' and the constructors' championship, that's not done.

Verstappen had been handed his penalty for earlier forcing Vettel's team mate Kimi Raikkonen off the track.

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.

"The touch with Sebastian...in that corner you can't overtake".

"Vettel ending his championship chances in a spectacular fashion", a third fan said. "That's probably the end of his championship". "Therefore I defend the decision - it's our decision as a team".

"For me it's risky at this type of speed", said Leclerc. What we have done this season already feels like one of the highs, but I don't want to stop here'.

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The second Force India of Esteban Ocon came in ninth with Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr 10th.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was in the wrong against Max Verstappen.

After the restart, Vettel was behind Verstappen and he saw an opportunity to pass into Spoon when the Red Bull slowed approaching the corner as the engine went into energy harvesting mode.

The 2018 Japanese Grand Prix is done, Lewis Hamilton emerged as victor for the sixth time in seven races and has a metaphorical hand on the trophy.

"When we were having the race like Monza - for me, I loved that race", he said.

"The gap was there, I had the inside. Bottas admitted he needs to get himself into a better position early in the season", the Mercedes boss told Sky Sports.

"I knew he had a penalty", insisted Vettel. "I am just grateful to have delivered". For me, the gap was there - otherwise I wouldn't do it.

"It's normal that it sometimes gets close but you need to always give the space and in that case I couldn't go anywhere and then we touched".

"He drove into the side of my vehicle".

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