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  1. Hamilton wins, as Vettel retires with engine problem
  2. Sainz, Ericsson, Hulkenberg & Stroll retired
  3. Hamilton takes 59-point lead in title race
  4. Get involved #bbcf1

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

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Edging closer

Getty Images

Well, it seems it won't be long before these two get reacquainted.

Lewis Hamilton heads to the next race with a 59 point lead over Sebastian Vettel.

It's going to take something special for Vettel to turn things around but if he does it, what a comeback that will.

Four races left. The United States Grand Prix up next in two weeks.

See you then.

For Andrew Benson's take on how the race unfolded, read his report here.

'I'll keep the pedal to metal'

Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton speaking to Sky Sports: "For the first half of the race I was under control and the second half was a lot harder. Verstappen looked so big in my mirrors but I am pretty grateful the car stuck together.

"I wouldn't say I have one hand on it (the drivers' championship). There are 100 points available so I will keep the pedal to the metal."

The blows keep coming...

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer

Vettel gets reprimand for "failing to attend the national anthem at the the required time" on grid.

Probably not his biggest concern at the moment.

'A killer blow for Seb'

BBC Radio 5 live

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, asked about Lewis Hamilton's lead in the title race: "Can he lose it? I doubt it very much.

"That is a killer blow for Sebastian today. It is difficult to imagine Lewis not winning this championship but anything can happen."

And here's how Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix in audio form.

Mercedes' Hamilton holds off a late Verstappen charge to win at Suzuka

Japanese Grand Prix summary


For the benefit of anyone just waking up and checking in to see what happened, here's a summary of the race.

  • Lewis Hamilton took a giant stride towards his fourth world title with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.
  • Title rival Sebastian Vettel retired four laps into the race after dropping down the field from the start with an engine problem.
  • Hamilton now leads the German by 59 points with 100 available in the remaining four races.
  • He will clinch the title at the next race - the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas - if he wins and Vettel finishes lower than fourth.

A few stats to sling your way.

The win was Lewis Hamilton's fourth in Japan, equalling Sebastian Vettel's record.

It was also his eighth win of the season and 61st of his career.

Allan McNish

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

A fourth title would take Lewis Hamilton into a different league again. He has just got so strong. The steamroller is continuing.

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Rod Peel: So Lewis ‘probably’ will win this championship making him the most successful British driver. When will he get a knighthood?

Sho Rahman: How @Ferrari and Vettel have thrown away this championship............


Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third: "This is my first podium here. It feels great. It is a circuit I have always enjoyed and with this year's cars it is lot of fun.

"After the start the race spread out and it wasn't much fun for me but then I had Valtteri (Bottas) coming at the end so to have pressure at the end was good."

'A great day'


Max Verstappen, who finished second: "It was a great day again. I really love the track. We had great pace - just really hard to pass. I tried my all.

"As soon as we switched to the soft tyre we were really competitive."

Mobot to Mobot

'Not an easy one'

More from Lewis Hamilton: "We have had such a great crowd this week you always look after us so well and the support was immense so I am grateful for that. The track was fantastic.

"The team did an incredible job. Max (Verstappen) had an outstanding race. It wasn't an easy one at all."

'A dream for Hamilton


Japanese GP winner Lewis Hamilton: "I could have only dreamed about having such a gap in the standings.

"I owe everything to the team. They are meticulous."

Blast from the past as former F1 driver Takuma Sato comes out onto the podium to conduct the interviews.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

It has been a brilliant performance from Lewis Hamilton from the end of the summer break. He has been in superb form. No one is going to beat him. His teammate can't get close to him

Sebastian Vettel and all of the Ferrari staff will be absolutely devastated about their run of reliability issues.

If I have got my maths right, Lewis Hamilton can win the world title at United States Grand Prix in two weeks' time if he wins and Sebastian Vettel finishes fifth or lower.

How things have changed in a little over a month.

Lewis Hamilton bounces out onto the podium. He's pretty much on easy street for the remainder of the season.

Getty Images

Big, big step towards a fourth world title for Lewis Hamilton.

He now leads Sebastian Vettel by 59 points with just four races to go.

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Josh Earl: Yes Lewis!!! A bit nervy at the end! 1 race win away from the Championship!!

Rachel T: YESSSSS LEWIS! Kept his head and brought it home!

Reece Young: Wonderful win for @LewisHamilton. It's not over until it's over but he's taken a huge leap towards title number 4

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

Lewis Hamilton responded over that last lap. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about it.

Tom Clarkson

BBC Radio 5 live commentator

Wasn't that thrilling! The straight-line speed advantage of the Mercedes was always going to help Lewis Hamilton at the end.

Jack Nicholls

Radio 5 live Formula 1 commentator

That was a bizarre end to the grand prix.

Japanese GP top 10

1) Hamilton

2) Verstappen

3) Ricciardo

4) Bottas

5) Raikkonen

6) Ocon

7) Perez

8) Magnussen

9) Grosjean

10) Massa

Chequered flag


With leaders off into the distance, Fernando Alonso attacks Felipe Massa.

This is for a points finish.

Meanwhile, it looks like Lewis Hamilton has done enough...


Lewis Hamilton approaches Fernando Alonso and the McLaren moves aside to let him through but Max Vestappen then gets momentarily caught behind the Spaniard.

Gap back up to a second...

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Shark: Ooohh... exciting!

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

Lewis Hamilton's pace into the corners has dropped away.

Just THREE TENTHS between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen now.

"Am I allowed to give it everything?" asks Verstappen.

Here. We. Go.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

Lewis Hamitlon definitely has a problem.

We could be in for a grandstand finish here.

Max Verstappen is within 1.5s of Lewis Hamilton, who reports vibrations...

A McLaren points finish is on!

Fernando Alonso is 11th with just Felipe Massa's struggling Williams ahead of him.

Force India's Perez asks permission to overtake team-mate Ocon

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

I am sure Lewis Hamilton will say he is not yet thinking of the championship but the pressure that has fallen away from him after the failure of Sebastian Vettel's car is amazing.

Lance Stroll's Williams is lifted off the track and the virtual safety car comes to an end with four laps to go.

Mark Gallagher

BBC Radio 5 live Formula 1 analyst

There was a collapse of some kind on the front right for Lance Stroll. A worrying moment for him.

It has been a disappointing race for the Williams team, even with Felipe Massa in 10th place and point scoring. Massa started eighth and looked set for a decent finish.

Looks like Lance Stroll picked up a puncture through the esses.

He is out of the car and that's his race over.

Yellow flag

Lance Stroll slides off the track, cutting a corner and almost ends up in the path of Daniel Ricciardo. A slightly scary moment for Ricciardo then.

"Something wrong with the car, " says Stroll.

Virtual Safety Car is deployed.