- Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka
- The Brit took the lead on lap one and led all the way to the finish
- Hamilton extended his lead in drivers’ standings to 48 points
- Nico Rosberg finishes second and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third
- Hamilton matches Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 race victories in F1
The ease in which Lewis Hamilton muscled Nico Rosberg out of his path demonstrated his clear superiority over his team-mate. The first lap summed up the season.
Pole-sitter Rosberg was forced off the track and out of the title race via a slight nudge at turn two from Hamilton, who dominated this Japanese Grand Prix from start to finish. The Brit produced a drive Ayrton Senna would have been proud of at Suzuka and has now matched his idol’s tally of 41 race wins.
More importantly, he moves 48 points clear of his Mercedes counterpart in the standings with just five races remaining. It would take a monumental shift in fortune to deny Hamilton a second successive crown.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday
Hamilton celebrates from on top of his car after his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday
Suzuka, Japan Finished 27 September 2015 05:00 – 07:00 Lap 53 of 53 Position Driver Car Team Grid Position Time Points 1 Lewis Hamilton ⌚ 44 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 2 1:28:6.508 25 2 Nico Rosberg 6 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1 1:28:25.472 18 3 Sebastian Vettel 5 Scuderia Ferrari 4 1:28:27.358 15 4 Kimi Räikkönen 7 Scuderia Ferrari 6 1:28:40.276 12 5 Valtteri Bottas 77 Williams Martini Racing 3 1:28:43.254 10 6 Nico Hülkenberg 27 Sahara Force India F1 Team 13 1:29:2.067 8 7 Romain Grosjean 8 Lotus F1 Team 8 1:29:18.806 6 8 Pastor Maldonado 13 Lotus F1 Team 11 1:29:20.083 4 9 Max Verstappen 33 Scuderia Toro Rosso 17 1:29:41.823 2 10 Carlos Sainz Jr 55 Scuderia Toro Rosso 10 +1 Lap 1 11 Fernando Alonso 14 McLaren Honda 12 +1 Lap 0 12 Sergio Pérez 11 Sahara Force India F1 Team 9 +1 Lap 0 13 Daniil Kvyat 26 Infiniti Red Bull Racing 20 +1 Lap 0 14 Marcus Ericsson 9 Sauber F1 Team 15 +1 Lap 0 15 Daniel Ricciardo 3 Infiniti Red Bull Racing 7 +1 Lap 0 16 Jenson Button 22 McLaren Honda 14 +1 Lap 0 17 Felipe Massa 19 Williams Martini Racing 5 +2 Laps 0 18 Alexander Rossi 53 Manor Marussia F1 Team 19 +2 Laps 0 19 Will Stevens 28 Manor Marussia F1 Team 18 +3 Laps 0 20 Felipe Nasr 12 Sauber F1 Team 16 Retired, 49 Laps 0
This old-fashioned circuit is submerged a fun park; the ‘Rocky Coaster’ rises over a go-kart track while a large Ferris Wheel dwarfs both. But, much like the season, Sunday’s action was anything but a rollercoaster ride with Hamilton eventually clear of his rivals by 19 seconds.
Rosberg can take solace from the fact he managed to make his way up from fourth to second, but Mercedes’ clear dominance over the rest of the field should see him finish no lower. Sebastian Vettel battled hard in his Ferrari to finish third.
‘I can’t really describe it [matching Senna]; it doesn’t feel real at the moment,’ Hamilton said, as he proved the slump in Singapore was just a one-off.
‘It was definitely important for us to strike back here. It’s remarkable what the team has done, the car was beautiful to drive today.
The Brit punches with air with delight at getting back to winning ways following his Singapore retirement
Hamilton holds aloft his trophy on the podium with Nico Rosberg (left) and Sebastian Vettel (right)
Hamilton sprays champagne (left) and juggles his trophy (right) after victory at Suzuka on Sunday
The reigning world champion has a drink of champagne from his winner’s trophy at the Japanese Grand Prix
If the British public were struggling to wake up for the 6am start on these shores then the first lap was the ideal alarm.
Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa collided almost immediately and both had to amble round with punctures, while Sergio Perez found himself in the gravel soon after. Hamilton and Rosberg were side-by-side, and the German was lucky to avoid an accident after being pushed to the outside. It seemed we might be in for a repeat of a Mercedes rivalry.
But Rosberg slumped back behind Vettel and Valtteri Bottas and he was quickly facing a completely different day. Viewers may have dozed off again as Hamilton stormed into a comfortable lead.
Hamilton complained of vibrations and occasionally had to cool down his engine but reliability was in truth his only real nemesis.
Both Rosberg (front right) and Hamilton (front left) pointed their cars towards each other on the grid
Hamilton (left) took the inside line into turn one and with it the lead of the race from Rosberg (right)
Vettel came home in third in his Ferrari after struggling to match the pace of the two Mercedes’
Vettel had held a three-second lead over Rosberg halfway through this race but Ferrari were not sporting as much pace here. A slow pit-stop saw the Mercedes man eventually make his move and he wasn’t to be caught.
Cash-strapped Lotus, who couldn’t even access their hospitality suite this weekend and will visit High Court this week for a third time over unpaid bills, credibly finished with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado in seventh and eighth place.
McLaren meanwhile endured another disastrous afternoon, with Fernando Alonso finishing 11th and Jenson Button down in 12th.
Hamilton though is in a class of his own and should clinch his third title to join Senna, Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda in the pantheon of all-time greats, with races to spare. Surely no one can catch him now.
Valtteri Bottas started strong in his Williams but eventually finished fifth behind both Mercedes and Ferraris
Kimi Raikkonen came home in fourth at Suzuka, one place behind his Ferrari team-mate Vettel
Source: Daily Mail