Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton after winning the 2017 Formula 1 Japanese Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton now looks certain to win the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship after another impressive performance on Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix delivered the 3-time champion his 61st career win.
It was by no means a walk in the park, however, as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen put in a good fight, ending up just 1.211 seconds behind Hamilton. Fellow Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo filled the final podium spot after finishing 9.679 seconds behind the winner.
Sadly, we missed out on potentially a great battle between Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who has been the only real threat to Hamilton’s title chance this year. Vettel started the race in third but retired after just four laps due to power unit troubles, the cause later deemed to be a faulty spark plug. It was Vettel’s second retirement in three races.
In fourth place was Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, while fifth went to Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Räikkönen. Räikkönen did well to finish fifth considering he was forced to start at 10th on the grid due to a gearbox change penalty. He got as high as fourth but dropped back to fifth after a tire change.
2017 Formula 1 Japanese Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
There were a number of other dramas, with the virtual safety car out on two occasions. The first was on lap nine after Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson came into contact with a wall. The second was on lap 47 after Williams’ Lance Stroll suffered from broken front suspension.
And finally, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was given two penalty points on his Super License for failing to adhere to blue flag rules. While in a battle for 10th place with Williams’ Felipe Massa, Alonso didn’t allow race leader Hamilton to lap him at the earliest possible moment. Unfortunately, the battle between Alonso and Massa also ended up slowing Verstappen.
Due to Sunday’s events, Hamilton’s tally in the 2017 Drivers’ Championship extends to 306 points. Vettel is second with 247 points and Bottas is third with 234 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 540 points versus the 395 of Ferrari and 303 of Red Bull.
There are still four races left this season, though Vettel jumping back into the lead will require nothing short of a miracle. The next race on the calendar is the United States Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Hit the next page for the full results of the 2017 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.