Nico Rosberg wins as Lewis Hamilton starts to fall back
Rosberg moves 33 points clear in the title race;
Hamilton suffers another nightmare start and is driven off track
as he tries to overtake Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap at Suzuka
Nico Rosberg has extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 33 points with victory in the Japanese GP.
Hamilton suffered a nightmare start, falling as low as eighth off the line, but launched a spirited comeback drive to minimise the damage by finishing third at Suzuka.
But Hamilton’s recovery drive was rebuffed through the final laps when he caught but was unable to pass Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
As he launched a desperate attempt to overtake the Red Bull on the penultimate lap, Hamilton was driven off track by the typically-defiant teenager.
Mercedes have lodged a protest against Verstappen’s driving but the case won’t be held until next week’s US GP when both drivers will be able to attend a hearing.
The damage, however, was done at the start when Hamilton lost more than five positions into the first corner of a race for the fourth time this year.
“I made a mistake,” Hamilton admitted. “Working my way up from there was tricky, but I did the best I could.
“Nico did a great job so congrats to him.”
Japanese GP Top 10 results
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:26:43.333
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, + 4.978
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, + 5.776
4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 20.269
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 28.370
6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 33.941
7. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 57.495
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 59.177
9. Felipe Massa, Williams, 97.763
10. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 98.323
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