Lewis Hamilton took a big step towards his fourth world title with a win in the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix as title rival Sebastian Vettel retired. The German exited four laps into the race after slipping down the field from the start with an engine problem.
Mercedes driver Hamilton now leads the championship by 59 points with 100 available in the last four races of the season. He will clinch title at the next race in Austin, Texas if he takes victory and Vettel finishes lower than fifth position.
It continues a remarkable swing in the championship towards Hamilton and away from Vettel. Hamilton is on the cusp of a historic fourth world title making him the most successful British F1 driver ever. As a recap, Vettel was leading the championship after the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.
Vettel was just three points behind when Hamilton was victorious in Italy a week later but fell behind the points when F1 retuned to Asia. Hamilton went into the race expecting a close fight with Vettel but the Ferrari driver’s retirement left his closest rival as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The latter fought hard but could only finish second with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in third.