Lewis Hamilton took victory in Japan to extend his lead in the Formula One World Championship above closest rival, Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was able to secure pole position on Saturday by setting the fastest qualifying lap ever, previously held by Felipe Massa back in 2006 when the Brazilian drove for Ferrari alongside Michael Schumacher.
Vettel and Hamilton both got off to good starts as there were plenty of first lap battles. Sainz was in the gravel but was able to carry on. Vettel was lunged by the ever-aggressive Max Verstappen into the hairpin and the Ferrari appeared to be struggling by the end of lap 1. Vettel dropped from P2 to P6 going onto lap 2 with some evident engine issues. Esteban Ocon was going well in P3 for Force India.
After the safety car period, it was clear that Sebastian Vettel still had some major issues as he was passed yet again on the straight with some ease by Sergio Perez. The Scuderia called for him to retire the car which ended the Germans afternoon and potentially his championship challenge. Marcus Ericsson crashed out on lap 8 to bring out the second safety car of the race. Verstappen pitted on lap 22 for a new set of Pirelli Super Soft tires. He was able to just get out in front of the remaining Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and hold position.
Nico Hulkenberg was next to retire from the race with a rather unusual issue, being that his DRS was stuck open. The German was understandably not happy with the situation. Stroll retired on lap 47 with a front right puncture which nearly made him collide with one of the Red Bulls. Hamilton was starting to struggle with vibration after the last virtual safety car and Max Verstappen was applying huge pressure to the Brit. Hamilton was able to hang on though, and take victory in Suzuka. He now extends his lead in the championship to 59 points. Verstappen took another strong points finish with Daniel Ricciardo taking P3 to complete the podium standings.