His issues presented Hamilton with an incredible opportunity, and as he raced away at the front of the field, he appeared ready to take it, quickly putting some distance between himself and Verstappen. Once Vettel aside, the fight was between him and Verstappen. Bottas managed to pass Esteban Ocon of Force India, who held P3 during the early stages but was passed by Ricciardo soon after.
Ted Kravitz gave his thoughts on Sunday’s action packed Japanese Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of Verstappen & Ricciardo.
Another fantastic performance from Pierre Gasly in just his second Grand Prix drive – finishing 13th.
A grid penalty and a tangle with Nico Hulkenberg left him fighting from well down the order but he was able to salvage 10 points for Ferrari at Suzuka. He crossed the line 1.2secs ahead.
If the 32-year-old wins at the next round in the USA and Vettel finishes below fifth, the title will be his and he will become Britain’s most successful racing driver, with one more F1 championship than Sir Jackie Stewart.
Hamilton pointed to his team’s consistency on and off the track as the reason why he is in such an enviable position. Max drove an outstanding race.
“Once I got past Seb I could do my own thing”, he said. It was a completion of total success for Red Bull. “He caught right up and it was very, very close”. As I’ve said before, we know that the vehicle, the drivers and the team are all on the pace. They are just so meticulous and that is really why we have the reliability we have and why we have the results.
“A big thank you to the guys”. It came a day after the 32-year-old smashed the track record to seize pole at the 5.8-km track in dominant style. “We go flat out for the last four races and see what happens”, he said.
“Today the Red Bulls just seemed to be rapid in the race trim”. But obviously it was good for us as a team.
“I think we are improving race by race, we’ve got a lot further than people have thought so there’s also some positives”, he added. “So for sure we will look into everything if it could have been done better, but I understood the situation”.
“I’m reasonably happy”, said the Ferrari driver.
The Spaniard was deemed to have failed to adhere to blue flags correctly and move aside at the earliest opportunity, playing a late role in the battle that ended with Hamilton taking his eighth F1 win of the year. I then had a long sequence on the soft tyres, I have gained ground, but we were out of the race for the points. “I’m really proud of that”.
Kimi Raikonnen’s 1:33.175 on lap 50 was the second-fastest, with Daniel Ricciardo’s 1:33.694 on 52 third fastest as he pushed for second place.