F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth

Japan Grand Prix: Hamilton dominates free practice sessions

Although Vettel can still match Hamilton's tally of nine race wins this year by winning the season's final four rounds (he now has five victories), the Mercedes driver would still have one more second place to his name (three to two).

"The whole weekend has been incredibly strong", Hamilton said.

"This track is the best track in the world".

"He ran wide and he went off the track and I just went on the outside at the next corner, leaving him space on the inside", Raikkonen said.

That means Hamilton only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points at the next race in the United States to clinch a fifth world championship.

"It does not matter who makes the choice of the tyres, we made the choice all together", Vettel said, per Planet F1.

"When the conditions are like this, then obviously you either get it right or get it wrong, so I'm not blaming anybody", said Vettel, whose title hopes looked slim already before Saturday.

Shocker: Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari needed to take some risks in Japan to keep their championship chances alive, but gamble after gamble failed to pay off.

Spearing through the corner, he attempted to cut off Raikkonen as he exited the chicane, running the Finn off the track and opening the door for Vettel to move up to fourth place.

Verstappen though was unrepentant and called his penalty "stupid".

Vettel's miscue saw him drop to 19, the last auto running with Kevin Magnussen having retired in the early stages after contact while defending from Charles Leclerc's Sauber caused a puncture. This is part of racing, don't get me wrong.

Heading into the Japanese GP, it was no secret that Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel would need to push himself and the vehicle to the limit to close the gap on Hamilton.

Vettel managed one run on slicks between pitting to get rid of intermediates and the rain coming back, but ran off-track at Spoon.

Ricciardo was now the man on the move, having moved from 15th to 10th before the safety vehicle. He trails the Mercedes driver by 67 points with 100 still in play.

Daniel Ricciardo was 15th after failing to set a time in Q2, cruising into the pits at the end of his out-lap with what appeared to be an engine problem.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas completed an all-Mercedes front row.

Hamilton has won five times at COTA, including the last four.

Lance Stroll of Williams made it into Q2.

The fresh-tyre advantage allowed them to jump Gasly, before Perez caught and passed Grosjean after a virtual safety vehicle called to deal with Charles Leclerc's stricken Sauber.

The Mexican jumped Grosjean when the VSC ended, but the Haas driver complained his rival had broken the speed limit during the caution period, though no investigation was immediately forthcoming.

He's been constantly called out for making mistakes and giving away the championship. Many people believed that Vettel if not both Vettel and Raikkonen would be able to qualify higher on the grid than he did because of the fact that Ferrari have had an advantage over Red Bull Racing at power-heavy circuits.

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