Lewis Hamilton could wrap up the FIA F1 Drivers’ Championship in the US Grand Prix.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas driver won the 30th Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka from the pole to earn his 71st career Formula One victory, his series-leading ninth this season and his fourth in a row.
Hamilton beat his Brackley team-mate and second-place starter Valtteri Bottas by 12.919 seconds to take his fourth victory at Suzuka and maintain Mercedes’ recent dominance at the track. No other team has won the Japanese Grand Prix since 2013. Hamilton also won in 2014, 2015 and 2017 while former team-mate Nico Rosberg won in 2016.
Hamilton’s win, combined with Sebastian Vettel’s sixth place finish, allowed the world champion to extend his lead in the championship standings to 67 points over the German, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver being his closest pursuer in this year’s title chase.
Team boss Toto Wolff said: “It’s important to stay concentrated, I don’t believe in having your hands on the trophy, because you either have it in your hands or you don’t. And we haven’t got either of them in our hands.
“So, the way we approach things is race by race and try to optimise the car for every weekend, and then really take it as an ambitious target to perform on all tracks, in all kinds of conditions.
“Take every single race weekend as a new championship, from Friday to Sunday, and this has worked so far. Anything can happen in motor racing, so let’s go to Austin, let’s have a strong race weekend and then hopefully seal the Championship.
“We’ve made a big step forward since Spa, Monza, Singapore and now here [Japan], three very different tracks and we took it as an ambition to perform at all three.”