Vettel's title hopes suffer huge blow in Japan

Vettel's title hopes suffer huge blow in Japan

Racing champion Lewis Hamilton smashed a track record Saturday in Suzuka, Japan, en route to seizing pole position at the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.

The Briton's current win will make him seal his fourth title easily at the US Grand Prix in Austin this month, as his lead has now increased to 59 points, contrary to last year, where the 32-year-old Stevenage born driver's title hopes were gutted by unfortunate engine failures and retirements.

Vettel was leading the championship after the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, and just three points behind following Hamilton's victory in Italy a week later, but has haemorrhaged points over Formula 1's three late-season races in Asia.

For a second race in succession, Ferrari were forced to remove the engine cover from one of their cars on the grid.

Back at the front, Hamilton was in control easing away from Verstappen's Red Bull, despite a Virtual Safety Car period on lap 8 when Marcus Ericsson put his Sauber in the barriers at Degner.

With four races to go and a lead of 59 points, It can be assumed that Lewis Hamilton will in all possibility win the 2017 Formula one season unless nearly everything goes wrong with Team Mercedes. Verstappen was in next time around, which triggered an immediate response from the race leader on lap 22.

"The track was fantastic and the team did an incredible job".

"I had a very good start but I made a mistake in the 11th turn, said Stroll".

"I'm still going to keep the pedal to the metal". I think we have got further than people thought.

"All I can really say is my guys do such a phenomenal job". The other Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo finished at third place competing the podium.

Verstappen overtook teammate Daniel Ricciardo at the start and quickly moved past the hobbled Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. "That was a pretty huge effort from everyone on the team", Alonso said after the race.

Contrastingly, just six weeks ago Vettel was clear at the top - now the German requires something special to happen if he is deny Hamilton, and the man himself can scarcely believe how things have turned in his favour with just four races remaining.

"I think I need to protect them (Ferrari). We have a lot of positives but today is not a day to look at positives".

"I tried everything on the last run, I knew I had to take a bit more risk", he continued. Kimi Raikkonen took his Ferrari to fifth place, to at least help salvage the 2017 Japanese GP for his team.

Force India scored a solid double points finish with sixth and seventh for Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, while Haas capitalised on the slow pace of Massa in the closing stages to snatch eighth and ninth.

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