Lewis Hamilton has won the Japanese GP 2017 after leading from start to finish. This was his third win at Suzuka which came after his first pole on this circuit yesterday. Vettel retired from the race earlier on and as a result, the gap between him and Hamilton in the standings is now 59 points with four races to go.

Japanese GP 2017 Results

1 Hamilton – Mercedes
2 Verstappen – Red Bull
3 Ricciardo – Red Bull
4 Bottas – Mercedes
5 Raikkonen – Ferrari
6 Ocon – Force India
7 Perez – Force India
8 Magnussen – Haas
9 Grosjean – Haas
10 Massa – Williams

Hamilton started the race from pole alongside Ferrari’s Vettel on the front row, Bottas qualified second but had a five place grid penalty to serve which allowed Vettel to move up the grid to P2. The temperatures were warm, not as high as Malaysia but warm enough to cause tire degradation problems for teams like Mercedes.

At the Renault camp, this was the last race for Jolyon Palmer as he will be replaced by Carlos Sainz starting with the next Grand Prix in the US.

The formation lap went smooth, and soon as the lights went out Hamilton managed to hold Vettel off, the two were followed by Ricciardo and Verstappen. Sainz last lap for Toro Rosso started with him landing on the gravel trap.

Vettel began to slow down in what appeared to be a spark plug problem. Then Verstappen passed him for second while Ocon passed Ricciardo for fourth. The safety car was then deployed.

Sainz managed to get out of the gravel trap but the car was damaged enough to warrant for a retirement. The race was restarted on lap 3/53.

After restart, Vettel kept losing places, he was down to seventh after Perez passed him, he would then retire shortly after that restart. At the front, Hamilton managed to extend his gap over Verstappen by setting a new fastest time on 1m35.024s, remember he set a new lap record for Suzuka during qualifying yesterday with a 1min 27s.

There was yellow flags on lap 8 after Ericsson hit the wall after running straight on Degner 2 and into the barriers. Bottas who was on softs had now moved up to fifth behind Ricciardo, the top four were all on super softs. Meanwhile, the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen had now increased to 4s.

Ferrari appeared to be working on Vettel’s car at the garage, but even if the German was to rejoin, he would not score any points. Ricciardo managed to pass Ocon and take back P3 on lap 11, he was still far behind Verstappen though. And Bottas passed Ocon as well as he began his campaign for a possible third place which was currently held by Ricciardo.

Verstappen pitted from second place on lap 22 and switched into softs, and Hamilton did the same on the following lap taking softs as well. The Brit emerged in third place just ahead of the Red Bull. Ricciardo now led the race away from Bottas, both drivers were yet to stop.

Ricciardo pitted from the lead at the end of lap 25 and also switched into softs. He rejoined in P5 behind Raikkonen.

“I hope he’s not out for too much longer, this is compromising my pace,” said Hamilton in regard to Bottas who was in the lead and yet to stop. As a result, Verstappen had closed in on Hamilton, their gap was down to 0.9s. Moments later, Bottas allowed Hamilton to pass through, and now the Red Bull was stuck behind him.

Bottas pitted at the end of lap 30 and now switched into super softs, he rejoined in fourth behind Ricciardo.

By lap 37/53, Verstappen had trimmed down Hamilton’s lead to 2.3s, the Brit had complained about his rears a few laps earlier.

“My DRS is stuck open, my DRS is stuck open,” cried Hulkenberg on lap 41. He was forced to pit after that incident and ended up retiring.

The virtual safety car was deployed after Stroll ran wide at the esses and almost hit a Red Bull while rejoining. “Something is wrong with the car, I don’t know if I can make it back.” he said. Replay showed that something broke at the right front of the Williams which was now being recovered under the VSC.

Racing was back on and Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen had increased to 2.7s on lap 50/53. The gap between Ricciardo in third and Bottas in fourth was now 1.6s, and the Mercedes was on a quicker super soft tire.

Hamilton went ahead to win the Japanese Grand Prix 2017, with Verstappen taking second and Ricciardo making it a double podium for Red Bull.

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