Lewis Hamilton has again extended his lead in the drivers championship with Vettel dropping massive points at the Japanese GP.
Lewis had a largely relaxed race at Suzuka, his only hint at a challenge being lap 1, turn 1, with Bottas showing his nose and Verstappen looking for an opening. Unfortunately, this was a bit of an anticlimax as the Brit lead from start to finish.
Meanwhile, title rival Vettel started in 8th, quickly making up places on the start, cutting through traffic with relative ease – until he got to Verstappen. He had a huge speed advantage approaching spoon corner and opted to try and dive down the inside, but ended up running into the dutchman, causing himself to spin. This meant he dropped right back down the field, meaning he would have to pass the bulk of it again.
Verstappen surprisingly carried out without much of an issue.He had already had apenalty for an incident with Raikkonen in the final chicane.
Teammate Daniel Ricciardo started 15th and was surging forward, clearing car after car. Once the pitstop came, some smart strategy from Red Bull put both of their drivers ahead of Raikkonen in the Ferrari, yet another mistake, it seems.
Max managed to stay close to Bottas throughout the race, despite some damage from the early incident, even being able to turn his engine up in the last few laps, but the Mercedes was too quick.
Outside of the front runners, an incident involving Magnussen and Leclerc resulted in a a safety car. Magnussen made a late move on the main straight to defend his position, leaving the Leclerc nowhere to go, running into him and giving him a puncture.
That wasn’t the only incident for a Sauber, Ericsson then very strangely ran into the back of his teammate under the safety car, eventually the youngster retired, with the Swede finishing 12th.
Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso were involved in a questionable incident, the Canadian accidentally ran the McLaren driver off the track, he then rejoined and both were given penalties. Stroll for pushing him off and Alonso for gaining an advantage.
“Even when the driver comes to apologise I think it’s difficult to understand the decision but you know, this is how bad Formula 1 is,”
When asked what he meant by ‘bad’, Alonso commented:
“In the decisions, in the randomness, in the pure consistency… You are braking on the outside at the last corner, and one guy didn’t see you and came here to apologise after you go on the gravel, and you get the penalty. It’s a shame.”
He has said he does not blame the Williams driver for the incident.
Full results are below: