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F1: Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton the Winner

F1: Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton the Winner

The Mercedez driver once again finished first, this time at the Grand Prix of Japan.

And with title rival Sebastian Vettel retiring from the race after five laps, Hamilton extended his world championship lead over the German Ferrari star.

In the record-breaking Q3, Mercedes driver just unleashed a terrific lap (1:27.319s) and his teammate Valtteri Bottas came close with a timing of 1:27.651s.

If Hamilton wins in Austin, he will become world champion if Vettel finishes sixth or lower.

"There's still 100 points available, so I'm still going to keep the pedal to the metal".

"The team did an incredible job".

Lewis Hamilton is on a rampage. They are just so meticulous, so faultless with their procedures and processes when they go back to the factory.

"Once I got past Seb I could do my own thing". But in the end the Briton was helped by some back markers, who prevented Verstappen from launching an all-out assault. I'm very very grateful for that.

It is the first time Ricciardo has reached the podium in Japan, with his previous best finish a fourth in 2014.

"But the second half of the race was a lot harder".

He had a faulty spark plug on the grid which Ferrari had believed they had dealt with but Vettel had an issue and was struggling for power. This car is throwing us around inside but we are able to throw it around, too.

"The strategy was good for me today".

With the Mercedes man getting away from him, Verstappen darted into the pits before the leader to don the soft compound. Despite the pain of the retirement - the second consecutive race Ferrari has encountered engine issues - Vettel refused to point fingers. This move also resulted in him losing a place to Esteban Ocon, and having to pick his way back through to the leaders in this early stage opened a gap to the leaders that he never really recovered.

Team supremo Toto Wolff described Hamilton's race as "another perfect performance".

Vettel had won the season-opener in Australia in March and led the championship until Italy at the start of September.

The formation lap went smooth, and soon as the lights went out Hamilton managed to hold Vettel off, the two were followed by Ricciardo and Verstappen. We still have a chance this year, it depends what happens today, it is not as much in our control as we would like but overall the team is in a good way.

"And also it's not as warm as Malaysia so it just seems that we don't have that advantage like we had (there)".

Definitely, this is the first car I've really felt has been underneath me all weekend here.