Hamilton on brink of 5th title

Hamilton on brink of 5th title

Hamilton on brink of 5th title

Hamilton claimed his fourth straight win at Suzuka, where main title rival Sebastian Vettel struggled to a sixth-place finish in what was an error-strewn weekend for the Ferrari driver.

The Brit can win his fifth world title with a win at the United States Grand Prix next time out, if his Ferrari counterpart finishes third or lower.

Raikkonen also felt Verstappen was fully to blame for their tangle, which happened when the Red Bull ran off the road at the chicane on the opening lap while third then banged wheels with the Ferrari as it rejoined. Vettel realistically needed to win to keep alive his fading title hopes but, despite making up four places in a frantic start after starting on the fourth row, spun off on lap eight in a shower of sparks after a risky lunge on Verstappen.

That is the news from Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, after the Sochi-Suzuka double header in which Finn Bottas was clearly playing the "number 2" role in support of runaway championship leader Lewis Hamilton. "Of course, the last races did not go well for us and we made it too easy for Mercedes", he said. "And Austin is usually a good track for us so I can't wait to unleash this beast there", he added, pointing at his auto.

Hamilton has a 67 point lead over Vettel, with just 100 on offer from the final four races in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

"We knew we would have a tough battle this year, and you have seen all of the ups and downs, but competition-wise it has been one of the most I have enjoyed in my career".

Vettel said: "I was obviously pushing to get past but I wasn't desperate to get past".

Vettel, eighth on the grid after a tyrechoice blunder by his Ferrari team in yesterday's dry-wet qualifying session, was sixth by turn one, and soon up to fifth after a brilliant move on the Haas of Romain Grosjean. Force India's Esteban Ocan was ninth while Renault's Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10. "In that corner you can't overtake", shrugged the Dutchman, who had earlier received a five-second penalty for nudging Raikkonen off the track.

The safety vehicle was deployed early on after Kevin Magnussen's Haas suffered a puncture, scattering debris on the track as the Dane limped back to the pits on a rim and a flailing tyre carcass.

"I think we have a lot of potential". "You know with Max, he's never going to give an inch and it's cost Sebastian dear today", he said.

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