Hamilton storms to Japan win to close on world title

Hamilton storms to Japan win to close on world title

Hamilton storms to Japan win to close on world title

Hamilton, 67 points clear of Vettel with just 100 left on the table, will secure his fifth title at the US Grand Prix if he wins and his rival is third or lower.

It was an impressive day for Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo who started 15th but finished fourth ahead of Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Vettel tried to sound optimistic, saying "there are a lot of races in which we can improve this season and next" but the hopes of the German four-time world champ are all but dashed for this year.

Hamilton led from pole to flag, crossing the line 12.9 seconds ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas in a second successive Mercedes one-two. It didn't matter though as the Red Bull driver still claimed the third podium spot, finishing 14.295 seconds behind Hamilton.

Hamilton will fancy his chances of doing just that given his record at the U.S. Grand Prix, where he has won every race but one since 2012. "It's a great 1-2 for Mercedes and shows you the strength and depth of our team".

"We've gone from strength to strength as a team", Hamilton said.

"I can't wait to unleash this beast in Austin", he added, pointing at his auto.

Vettel started eighth after a failed tyre gamble in qualifying, dropped to 19th after the incident before fighting back to sixth and 67 points behind victor and rival Lewis Hamilton. "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". A poorly calculated overtaking move, however, resulted in the German colliding with the Dutchman and spinning off track and falling to the 18th place as a outcome.

Vettel, who started ninth after a disastrous qualifying session, began strongly and made it to fourth before fighting it out with Verstappen for track position. He was then fourth after Verstappen ran off the road at the chicane, and in rejoining the track, bumped Raikkonen on to the grass.

Other incidents included one between Alfa Romeo Sauber driver Charles Leclerc and Haas' Kevin Magnussen early in the race, with Leclerc forced into the rear of Magnussen after the Haas driver moved across the track at the last minute to defend his line.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner put it even more bluntly when asked to assess Vettel's rush of blood. "We touched a little bit but I really think it's ridiculous those five seconds". "That's probably the end of his championship".

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