Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix. He is now in a position to secure the world championship at the United States Grand Prix up next. Hamilton qualified in first and went from pole to victory without much issue. He is joined on the podium by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.
Verstappen came very close to overtaking Hamilton in the final three laps. He had more pace than Hamilton, but back markers limited both drivers. Hamilton managed to hang onto the win.
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari is seeing his hopes of winning the Drivers Championship evaporate after multiple car failures in recent races. He had a good start to the race, but after a lap or so his car began to slow and he lost several places. He eventually had to retire the car, being the second car out.
His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, lost several places after being forced wide in the first couple laps. He eventually made his way back up the field, though. Red Bull pit Verstappen early, and Mercedes pit Hamilton in response. Hamilton came out in front of Verstappen.
Valtteri Bottas was in first place at that point, but he had still yet to pit. He did eventually pit, and came out in fourth, behind Ricciardo.
This was the last race for Jolyon Palmer as a member of the Renault team, and perhaps his last F1 race ever. Palmer is losing his seat to Carlos Sainz Jr., who is moving to Renault mid-season as part of a larger engine deal between multiple teams. Sainz will be with Renault next season, while Palmer’s future is uncertain.
Pierre Gasly took over for Daniil Kvyat three races ago for the Toro Rosso seat next to Sainz, but now Kvyat will rejoin the team to take Sainz’s place. It’s a mid-season shuffle that isn’t too common these days.
Sainz’s final race for Toro Rosso was short-lived, as he crashed out in the opening laps, forcing an early safety car. He officially was the first driver out before Vettel. Marcus Ericsson of Sauber crashed out on Lap 9, ending his race and prompting another safety car, this one of the virtual variety.
On Lap 37, Sergio Perez came over the team radio and asked to be let by his teammate, Esteban Ocon. Perez was in eighth, and Ocon was in seventh at the time. Perez stayed behind his teammate, however.
On Lap 42, Nico Hulkenberg of Renault had to retire his car as the DRS malfunctioned and remained open. On Lap 47, Lance Stroll of Williams suffered a puncture and narrowly avoided a huge crash. Still, he had to retire from the race, the fifth driver to do so.
Below is the full finishing order for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
F1 Japanese Grand Prix Finishing Order
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India|
|Sergio Pérez||Force India|
|Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso|
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso|