Lewis Hamilton inched closer to securing his fifth Formula 1 drivers’ World title today after winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course.

His victory marked his 71st career triumph in Formula 1, his 50th with Mercedes, ninth of the 2018 season and fourth in Japan.

After starting from pole, Hamilton dictated the race and claimed first place in one hour 27 minutes 17.062 seconds.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas came in second to complete the second one-two in a row for Mercedes. Bottas was 12.919 seconds behind Hamilton, while Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing claimed the final podium step 14.295s back.

Daniel Ricciardo had a stellar drive, finishing an impressive fourth after starting from 15th.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were fifth and sixth, respectively, while rounding out the points winners were Sergio Perez of Force India, Romain Grosjean of Haas, Esteban Ocon of Force India and Carlos Sainz of Renault.

Following the race, Hamilton (331 points) extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 67 points from Vettel (264 points), who spun during the race, dropping all the way back to 19th but recovering just enough for his solid classification.

Mercedes (538 points) lead Ferrari (460 points) by 78 points in the Constructors’ Championship with 172 points remaining to be scored in the 2018 season

Hamilton commented after the race: “I was having so much fun driving this track. I was really able to just embrace the moment and enjoy every single lap, every single corner and the feel of the car.

“The pace was really great and this is definitely the best weekend I’ve had here and the best feeling I’ve had here balance-wise, it was really lovely. Everyone at the track and back home in the factories deserves a huge thank you for their continued efforts, they just continue to push and deliver, weekend after weekend.

“This result was really the best way to repay all their hard work. There’s still 100 points available, so we have to try and focus and never be complacent. The team has done such an amazing job the last few weekends, we need to bring the same focus and performance and keep pushing. The harmony in the team and the performance of every single individual in the team is the best it’s ever been. But we’ve always got areas that we can improve on, collectively and for me personally, so we will keep pushing and keep raising the bar.”

The Formula 1 season continues on October 21 with the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

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