Japanese Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton extends his lead after Vettel retirement
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 8, 2017 Updated: 12:41 PM
SUZUKA, Japan -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton continues to push himself ever closer to a fourth world title after taking his eighth win of the season at Sunday's Japanese Grand prix which saw Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel retire from the race.
"I had a bit of wheel spin. But from then on I had a good start and it was pretty much under control from there. I was trying to manage the pace and the tyres; it was a long way to go, it was the hottest the track had been all weekend, so that was really crucial," said Hamilton "It was very close for a couple laps, but I was able to keep it together."
Hamilton now sits 59-points ahead of Vettel in the championship after the Ferrari driver ran into an engine issue shortly after the start of the race. Ferrari had detected a spark plug issue with Vettel's car before the start of the race which the team thought they had resolved.
But as the race got underway, Vettel's car began to lose power as he began to lose positions. Around lap four the team called for Vettel to retire the car.
“I don’t know if this situation has much to do with reliability. But we didn’t finish the race, so there is a problem. I think it was a small issue causing a big one. We didn’t have power already at the start and we tried to reset everything getting the power back, but something didn’t work. Of course now the Championship is more difficult and not finishing the race doesn’t help. I also said to the guys to get back home and have some rest because it’s been a tough week with a lot of changes," said Vettel.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished second after being the first to take advantage of the Vettel's misfortune as he overtook the Ferrari driver on the inside of Turn 11.
Third went to Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo after battling with Force India's Esteban Ocon and holding off the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas who finished fourth.
Ferrari's troubles continued as Kimi Raikkonen struggled with pace and was only able to finish fifth. Esteban Ocon, who had a strong start, wasn't able to hold on to third and finished sixth along with his teammate Sergio Perez in seventh.
Haas F1 enjoyed a double points finish as both of their drivers scored points with Kevin Magnussen in eighth and Romain Grosjean in ninth after overtaking the Williams of Felipe Massa who finished tenth.
Massa's teammate Lance Stroll had a heart dropping moment when his car suffered a puncture and his car slid across the gravel and back on the track nearly missing the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. Eleventh went to Fernando Alonso and McLaren tried to give Honda a good result at their home race as the two part ways after this year.
Joylon Palmer finished 12th in his final race for Renault. Teammate Nico Hulkenberg was forced to retire after the DRS flap on the rear wing of his car refuse to close. F1 rookie Pierre Gasly was the sole Toro Rosso in 13th after teammate Carlos Sainz lost the rear of his car at the exit of Turn 6.
“We had a solid last race, we started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had tenth. It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it. I wish the team all the best in the future," said Palmer.
Stoffel Vandoorne finished 14th in the second McLaren. Pascal Wehrlein finished ahead of his teammate for the ninth time this season taking the number 15 spot after Marcus Ericsson missed the apex at Turn 9 and his car slid into the gravel making heavy contact with the wall.