Hamilton wins in Japan, Vettel sixth

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the second practice session of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

After Hamilton won the downhill gallop to the opening bend ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, the ninth win of his impressive year was never in doubt. The win puts his fifth world championship firmly in his grasp.

Sebastian Vettel admits he knew Max Verstappen had a penalty before making an ambitious move that saw the Scuderia Ferrari driver spun at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff oversaw another ideal weekend for his team, as Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of a fifth world title.Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second in.

It's the latest in a long list of missed opportunities for Vettel this season, who is now 50 points adrift of title rival Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings. Now it is a matter of just when Hamilton closes it out and equals Juan Manuel Fangio's five F1 titles. It will not necessarily be remembered as a classic but their flawless execution all weekend was an object lesson to Ferrari as to why their title hopes have been dashed. 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.

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Lewis Hamilton moved to the brink of a fifth world championship with a dominant lights-to-flag victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

But although Vettel's title hopes all but vanished at Suzuka, he stole the fastest lap from Hamilton on the penultimate tour denying him the slam that would have taken him only behind Jim Clark's eight on the all-time list. He now has six wins now from the last seven races. Their tyre choice mistake in qualifying that meant Vettel could only start from eighth was a huge blow and left Hamilton and Bottas free to dominate the race for Mercedes at the front.

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. Although Ferrari have had the quicker vehicle since Silverstone, Mercedes looked to have surpassed them in the development battle over the last three rounds.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from 15th to fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen was fifth on a desperately torrid afternoon for Ferrari.

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Running wide at the final chicane in the early laps, Verstappen was slapped with a five-second penalty for returning to the track in an unsafe manner.

Vettel challenged Verstappen for third down the inside of the Spoon left-hander after an early-race safety auto restart, but it ended in a collision and sent the Ferrari driver spinning.

Vettel tumbled down the order to 19th and while both were investigated by race stewards for the collision, no action was taken.

Vettel's second half of the championship has shaken up his title aspirations. It was the decisive moment of the race. I saw a gap and went for it on the inside, he obviously tried to defend and I couldn't go anywhere, so we touched.

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Mexican Sergio Perez took best of the rest honours for Force India in seventh while Romain Grosjean was eighth for Haas.

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