Hamilton wins Japanese GP to move s step closer to F1 title

Ricciardo to start from 3rd at Japan F1 GP

Hamilton is expected to clinch the title at the next Grand Prix scheduled for Austin, Texas, United States, if he wins and Vettel finishes lower than fourth.

Vettel had lined up alongside Hamilton on the front row at a sunny Suzuka, hoping the hotter conditions could handicap the Briton after he proved unbeatable in qualifying.

"It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues", Vettel said.

"I'm still going to keep the pedal to the metal".

"In terms of pace, hopefully we should be closer to our competitors".

"Maybe it's the development of the team".

In Q2, Hamilton raced ahead of the rest of the pack, setting 1:27.819s. "They're just so meticulous and that's really why we're having the reliability and results we're having".

Kimi Raikkonen, who will also drop five places on the grid for an unscheduled gearbox change after a crash in Saturday morning's final practice session, set the sixth fastest time. "I'm really proud of that".

It is the first time Ricciardo has reached the podium in Japan, with his previous best finish a fourth in 2014. The Spaniard picked up a 35-place penalty when the team's mechanics fitted his car with a fresh power unit on Friday night.

"The track was fantastic today and the team did an unbelievable job", Hamilton said.

"The strategy was good for me today".

"A big thank you to the guys".

On Suzuka Circuit, Sebastian Vettel suffered his second retirement in three races, due to engine dysfunction in his Ferrari machine.

Bottas added: "I've definitely learned a lot again from this weekend". When the racing resumed, it became apparent his issue was something a lot more serious. It only helped further that Hamilton was impeded by Fernando Alonso on Lap 51, which helped Verstappen to close in on Ham to within 0.8 seconds. While the VSc Period last from Lap 48-50, when the Canadian spun, he almost collected Ricciardo along with him, who was approaching the same corner carrying unprecedented speed.

This was the three-time world champion's eighth win of the season, his 61st career victory and his fourth from the last five races. The win had ultimately proved relatively straightforward but its consequences for the title protagonists far-reaching. "The car balance was getting better and better".

"I was excited to have a good race with Sebastian here, but he's been incredibly unfortunate".

"It all started with the initial launch where we lost out".

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