It was a race to remember for Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix as he took a huge step towards winning the title.
Since the race at Monza, Hamilton has been in imperious form, leaving Sebastien Vettel trailing in second place in the standings. The Brit has had his fair share of luck on more than once occasion but he is now on course to secure a historic fourth world title which would then make him the most successful British F1 star of all time.
Vettel once again failed to finish a race, as he and Ferrari seem to have lost the title race in Asia. The German had an engine issue and was fast slipping down the field before dropping out after only four laps. Hamilton’s victory means he now heads to Austin, Texas with a 59 point lead. There are only 100 points available over the last four races and a Hamilton victory combined with Vettel finishing lower than fifth, would be enough to wrap the title up with three races remaining.
Asia seems to be the place where everything went dramatically wrong for Ferrari and Vettel. Prior to the three-race stint in Asia, Hamilton had won at Monza but only had a slender 3 point advantage heading to Singapore. Many had expected Vettel to quickly take top spot back but an aggressive defensive move, after starting on pole, with Hamilton back in 5th cost him dear. Max Verstappen had got off to a great start and Vettel shifted over to block his progress but he and Ferrari team mate, Kimi Raikkonen, collided with the Red Bull and exited the race.
Following the disaster in Singapore, Vettel suffered engine problems at both the Malaysian and Japanese grand prix. You could say that the Singapore defeat was just one of those things but it was a cruel blow to the German’s chances. He will have expected to get back on track but nobody would have predicted him to suffer further issues, especially at such a crucial stage of the season. Some criticism must surely be directed towards his team as the reliability issues which have become apparent aren’t down to Vettel but he will ultimately pay the price. Hamilton needed a miracle to get a foot hold in the title race at Singapore and now it’s Vettel who is left hoping for one.
Many people are saying Hamilton has got lucky and in a sense he has. He has made Vettel pay for his and his team’s errors though and it’s not been a walk in the park. The pressure has been on him since Singapore but he has gone into every race and done a job and now you simply can’t look past the Brit claiming his 4th world title. Vettel and Ferrari gifted him the opportunity and he’s taking it but you have to praise the desire Hamilton has showed throughout the whole season, especially after trailing for so long.