Japanese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel Slams Max Verstappen For Fateful Suzuka Tangle

Q1 top 10

Q1 top 10 Credit

Lewis Hamilton chose to soak in the winning feeling at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday rather than allow himself to get carried away by thoughts of securing what looks like an inevitable fifth title.

Max Verstappen completed the podium as Vettel endured yet another miserable afternoon following his crash with the Red Bull driver in the early stages of Sunday's Suzuka race.

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. "Austin is generally a good track for us and I can't wait to unleash this beast there", said Hamilton after leading every lap at Suzuka for his 71st career win.

With two years left of Hamilton's contract, Hamilton could match the seven world titles of Michael Schumacher while still within his current contract at Mercedes.

Vettel, who had started eighth after a failed tyre gamble in qualifying, made contact with Verstappen's Red Bull and spun while trying to pass the young Dutch driver for third on the eighth lap.

With a consistent vehicle, Ricciardo is always risky - 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.

Race stewards took no action against either driver.

"If I don't go for that gap and the gap was there then might as well stay at home".

Mika Hakkinen went on to say that Vettel has lost faith in Ferrari altogether.

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Told by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that the Ferrari mechanics might be looking for him in the pit lane, Verstappen shrugged: "That's not my problem, they were too aggressive".

"You can turn this whatever way you want, and don't get me down as arrogant, but the gap was there", he said after the race.

Things got worse for a desperate Vettel when he skidded off the track on his only flying lap on slicks to blow any chance of putting pressure on Hamilton.

Verstappen was already carrying a five-second penalty for earlier running wide and forcing Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen off the track and would have dropped behind Vettel anyway at the pitstops.

"In that corner you can not overtake", he said.

"I hope you guys are not getting bored of this - because I'm definitely not".

Driver of the day: Daniel Ricciardo drove a brilliant race from 15th on the grid to fourth at the finish.

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. Out came the safety vehicle after debris littered the track following a coming together between Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc.

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