Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel blames Max Verstappen for costly collision

Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel blames Max Verstappen for costly collision

Hamilton was cock-a-hoop after leading a Mercedes one-two for his sixth win in seven races and fourth in a row. Reports suggested that perhaps there was a sense of frustration in Vettel's mind after learning that he wasn't being provided with the kind of vehicle that would be competitive enough to win a World Championship.

The Ferrari downfall coincides with the appointment of Sebastian Vettel in 2015 after the German won four straight Championships with Red Bull from 2010-13 in a supremely fast vehicle under the guidance of race engineer Adrian Newey. Vettel knew he had to win here but after qualifying badly the odds were already against him.

The 33-year-old Englishman needs only eight further points, and will wrap up his fifth title at the United States Grand Prix in a fortnight's time if he takes the chequered flag in Austin, and Vettel is third or lower.

But Wolff wants Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to go full throttle in the remaining races.

Errors on the track and pit wall have undermined Ferrari, in a year in which their auto has been more than a match for Mercedes', but Vettel has no thoughts of jumping ship.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Japanese Grand Prix on the podium at Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan.

The victory means Mercedes continue their run of being unbeaten at Suzuka since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates the 71st victory of his career.


Suzuka was expected to provide a good measure of just how Ferrari and Mercedes now match up to one another and on this evidence Mercedes have clearly regained the advantage.

Raikkonen was also in a dark mood after an incident on the opening lap when Verstappen drove over the grass at the chicane before bumping into his Ferrari.

A clever early-ish pit stop switched Verstappen's tyres and left him out on track fighting for position until the very end - despite his time penalty.

With a consistent vehicle, Ricciardo is always unsafe - he sees the overtaking opportunities so soon and reacts swiftly, and he fully deserved his fourth-place finish after yet another qualifying session marred by technical issues.

It seems odd that a team which was unbeatable more than a decade ago hasn't won a driver's Championship since 2007, despite being the most recognizable name in Formula One history. Vettel spun off and had to rejoin in 19 - last place.

Vettel protested his innocence and took aim at the Dutchman, first over the radio, and then following the race, but the stewards tellingly took no action. The Ferrari was mostly alongside entering the corner, only for the two to collide. It was the decisive moment of the race. It's not always right the other guy has to move. While Hamilton was in control out front the German driver had made it to 15by lap 14. Those are the races that I love, and I would welcome them more and more, but unfortunately it just isn't the case. Hamilton however has simply gone from strength to strength and once again in Japan demonstrated why the championship is now in his hands.

Esteban Ocon finished ninth behind Romain Grosjean of Haas and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. beat Pierre Gasly of Torro Rosso to take 10th.

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