Lewis Hamilton took a huge step towards securing his fourth Formula 1 World Championship with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix, while title rival Sebastian Vettel retired with engine problems.
Mercedes racer Hamilton started the race at Suzuka from pole position, and immediately pulled clear of the pack. Vettel initially ran second in his Ferrari, but began to fall down the order with an engine problem that eventually forced him to retire.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took up the pursuit of Hamilton, and closed right in after a late-race virtual safety car, but the Brit held on for his 61st career victory.
Hamilton now leads Vettel by 59 points, and could secure the title at the next race, the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
“It’s kind of unbelievable, to think we are where we are,” said Hamilton. “I was excited to have a good race with Sebastian, but he’s been incredibly unfortunate. F1 is a lot about reliability, it’s about the team’s whole performance, and [Mercedes] has shown for many years that we have a very solid platform.”