Hamilton Dominates Japanese Grand Prix, While Vettel and Verstappen Clash

Lewis Hamilton had about as perfect of a weekend as one could have in Japan. The Mercedes driver was fastest in all three practice sessions, qualified on the pole and led flag to flag en route to his 71st career Formula One win and ninth of the season. It was also his 50th with Mercedes, second most ever with a single team in F1 history. Michael Schumacher had 72 wins with Ferrari.

Hamilton, was flawless all weekend in his No. 44 Mercedes and takes a 67 point lead into the North American swing in a couple of weeks.

He’s now won six of the last seven races on the season and four of the last six in Suzuka.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas started second and finished there for his first career Japanese Grand Prix podium and the 44th time Mercedes finished 1-2.

Behind them though, there was chaos.

Max Verstappen finished third in his No. 33 Red Bull Renault for his fifth straight top five effort on the season. But, the biggest storyline leaving Japan was his clash with Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel, started eighth in Sunday’s race and by Lap 8 was battling Verstappen for a spot inside of the top five. Vettel, passed both Toro Rosso cars and Romain Grosjean on the opening lap to move up to fourth early on. On the eighth lap, he was battling Verstappen for third place. Both made contact which sent Vettel’s No. 5 Ferrari spinning.

He’d fall from a battle for third all the way down to 19th.

Vettel, would rebound to finish sixth but his title hopes are all but dashed now.

Daniel Ricciardo came from 15th to finish fourth while Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top five.

Japanese Grand Prix Results

  1. 44 Hamilton
  2. 77 Bottas
  3. 33 Verstappen
  4.  3 Ricciardo
  5.  7 Raikkonen
  6.  5 Vettel
  7. 11 Perez
  8.  8 Grosjean
  9. 31 Ocon
  10. 55 Sainz Jr. -1
  11. 10 Gasly R -1
  12.  9 Ericsson -1
  13. 28 Hartley R -1
  14. 14 Alonso -1
  15.  2 Vandoorne -1
  16. 35 Sirotkin R -1
  17. 18 Stroll -1
  18. 16 Leclerc R OUT
  19. 27 Hulkenberg OUT
  20. 20 Magnussen OUT

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