F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth

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That puts Vettel 67 points behind Hamilton and means the Briton would win the title at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in two weeks' time if Mercedes finish one-two for the third successive race.

Hamilton's championship lead has been significantly bolstered at the last three races after Mercedes started to outperform Ferrari from the Singapore Grand Prix onwards.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates the 71st victory of his career.

"We've gone from strength to strength as a team this year".

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, now commandingly leading the championship after Suzuka, isn't sure why Ferrari has dropped off.

He is now only 20 victories off Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

Having quickly progressed from eighth on the grid following his poor qualifying, Vettel was attacking Verstappen for third at Spoon corner on the first lap after an early safety vehicle at Suzuka when they tangled and the Ferrari spun.

Verstappen finished third, while Raikkonen fell to fifth and said damage from the collision made his vehicle "far from ideal" afterwards.

Vettel tumbled down the order to 19th and while both were investigated by race stewards for the collision, no action was taken. The gap was there, but as soon as he saw me, he defended, but I had the inside. "Sorry for the result", said Vettel.

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene said the podium had been within Ferrari's grasp.

Hamilton now has 331 points to Vettel's 264, while Mercedes lead Ferrari in the constructors' standings with 538 points to 460 for the Italians.

Verstappen was given a five second penalty for an incident with Raikkonen where he clashed with the Ferrari as he rejoined after running off at the chicane.

He was penalized five seconds and could well have finished second without it, having crossed the line 1.3 seconds behind Bottas. "We started off where we left off in Sochi and the drivers just feel good with the vehicle and I think that, as a driver, if you have that confidence and you are able to pushing it had within the limits and you feel it, then it's enjoyable to drive, and this is what we have achieved, I think".

The Force India's of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon were in seventh and ninth with Romain Grosjean's Haas in eighth and the Renault of Carlos Sanz in tenth.

Honda-powered Toro Rosso were unable to convert their impressive qualifying in the manufacturer's home race into points.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc showed he's got the machismo to match his driving skills when he gave Haas rival Kevin Magnussen a proper hosing after they collided as Leclerc was poised to overtake.

For one reason or another, this partnership just isn't working out and fans are beginning to get fed up with the mismanagement and strategical errors coupled with silly mistakes by one of the sport's most recognizable faces, which leaves just one thought in mind - maybe this pairing was destined to fail from the very beginning?

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