Hamilton wins in Japan and moves closer to F1 title

Hamilton wins in Japan and moves closer to F1 title

Hamilton wins in Japan and moves closer to F1 title

Sebastian Vettel's bid for a fifth Formula 1 championship took a major hit on Sunday with a third-place finish at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.Vetter's Ferrari was more than a half.

Vettel finished ninth - later raised to eighth - further damaging his chances of catching Hamilton in the championship race.

Despite his early time penalty, Verstappen was able to maintain third ahead of Raikkonen thanks to Ferrari pitting the Finn first and releasing him into traffic.

There was a short safety-car intervention to clear up debris left by a collision between Kevin Magnussen's Haas and Charles Leclerc's Sauber and bodywork strewn around the lap by the Dane as he returned to the pits with a puncture.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was eliminated in Q1, having had his first run compromised by a red flag caused by Marcus Ericsson crashing in Turn 7. And with Sebastian Vettel starting back in ninth, Hamilton may play the percentages if he bogs down at the start and sees a flash of blue appear on his right-hand side. The size of the gap between the top two teams and the speed in which it has been opened up over the last three races is still hard to comprehend, but underlines just how quickly Ferrari's season has unravelled.

Perez, however, had his opportunity to pass when Leclerc triggered a virtual safety auto on lap 41.

The Dutchman served a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and not returning safely, forcing Raikkonen onto the grass after overrunning a chicane.

"Keep him [Bottas] under pressure, keep it clean".

Meanwhile, there were more qualifying woes for Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who climbed out of his vehicle and yelled an expletive into his helmet after suffering a mechanical breakdown.

Arrivabene would not rule out making changes to Ferrari's organisation as a reaction to the errors of late.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley claimed his best grid position in sixth, one place ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly.

Driver of the day Tricky one, this.

"Austin is generally a good track for us, and I can't wait to unleash this beast there".

At the front of the field Hamilton and Bottas were running their own race at arm's length from the rest of the pack. Judgement reservedWhat happen next? Can he tie up the title in a country which he calls home for at least part of the year?

Wolff expressed sympathy towards Ferrari's plight, commenting: "I can't really judge [others] because I am not in any other team, but what we try to establish is a safe environment, which is easier said than done".

In the first instance, Verstappen was given a 5-second time penalty and a single penalty point on his license as the stewards had ruled that he had "cut the chicane and rejoined track on the racing line in turn 17 and in the process collided with vehicle 7".

"While it was an anticlimax because I couldn't do the last lap it was my 80th pole".

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