Lewis Hamilton’s 71st career victory and his 50th for Mercedes, and sees him extend his title lead over Vettel to 67 points, with the German claiming just eight for P6 after a tough race that saw him spin early on following contact with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas came in second to complete the second 1-2 for the team in a row – his first podium at the Japanese Grand Prix and 30th podium finish in Formula One.
Fifth and sixth places for Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel respectively for Scuderia Ferrari in Japan. It was probably the most we could do after the problems in qualifying, both cars being damaged as a result of collisions in the race, which meant Sebastian had to fight his way back up the field.
Sergio Perez put in a strong drive to finish in the prized P7 spot behind the paired up Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari cars, stealing the place from Haas’s Romain Grosjean.
Pierre Gasly held a points position for much of the race, but ended the race 11th, two spots ahead of Brendon Hartley, Carlos Sainz having nipped past with two laps to go for the final points position.
Lewis Hamilton (331 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 67 points from Sebastian Vettel (264 points) with Valtteri (207 points) in P3 and with 100 points left to be scored in the season
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (538 points) lead Ferrari (460 points) by 78 points in the Constructors’ Championship with 172 points remaining to be scored in the 2018 season
I was having so much fun driving this track. I was really able to just embrace the moment and enjoy every single lap, every single corner and the feel of the car. Suzuka is such a unique circuit, you go down a hill into Turn 1, then up-hill, you go underneath the track – it’s one of my favourite circuits. The pace was really great and this is definitely the best weekend I’ve had here and the best feeling I’ve had here balance-wise, it was really lovely. Everyone at the track and back home in the factories deserves a huge thank you for their continued efforts, they just continue to push and deliver, weekend after weekend. This result was really the best way to repay all their hard work. There’s still 100 points available, so we have to try and focus and never be complacent. The team has done such an amazing job the last few weekends, we need to bring the same focus and performance and keep pushing. The harmony in the team and the performance of every single individual in the team is the best it’s ever been. But we’ve always got areas that we can improve on, collectively and for me personally, so we will keep pushing and keep raising the bar.