Hamilton romps to Japan win to close on world title
- Author: Stacy Allen Oct 08, 2018,
Oct 08, 2018, 2:10
Vettel trails Hamilton by 50 points with only four races to go after Sunday's Japanese round.
Just how has Hamilton been so good.
Hamilton's victory in Japan means he has an nearly insurmountable lead in the championship, if he didn't already. Hamilton however has simply gone from strength to strength and once again in Japan demonstrated why the championship is now in his hands.
Vettel protested his innocence and took aim at the Dutchman, first over the radio, and then following the race, but the stewards tellingly took no action.
Verstappen continued without losing much time but Vettel spun to the back of the field and was now consigned to a long afternoon fighting back.
"When the conditions are like this, then obviously you either get it right or get it wrong, so I'm not blaming anybody", said Vettel, whose title hopes looked slim already before Saturday.
Verstappen was subsequently given a five-second penalty for not returning to the track safely.
Valtteri Bottas held off Verstappen to take second nearly 13 seconds behind Hamilton in a breathless 53-lap race at the fast-flowing Japanese circuit.
He was penalised five seconds and could well have finished second without it, having crossed the line 1.3 seconds behind Bottas.
Vettel's second half of the championship has shaken up his title aspirations.
"I'm not the one who makes the rules otherwise a lot of penalties would have been avoided in F1, but I think it is a similar scenario to what I had in China with him", Verstappen said. I wasn't desperate to get past. I think the whole weekend's been very strong from the team, it's a great 1-2 from Mercedes, it a true showing of the great strength in depth we have as a team.
"He could have been a bit more careful".
Raikkonen was also in a dark mood after an incident on the opening lap when Verstappen drove over the grass at the chicane before bumping into his Ferrari.
As in Monza, in the eyes on many, Sebastian Vettel did not need to make the move today which has nearly certainly ended his title hopes. Vettel was able to claw his way through to finish in sixth place as his main title rival took the top step of the podium.
"And he chose to go around the outside, he could have waited for me to understeer wide".
Told by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that the Ferrari mechanics might be looking for him in the pit lane, Verstappen shrugged: "That's not my problem, they were too aggressive". "It's not been going in our favour, which of course we need to understand why, if others did something better, then we need to know why".