British driver Lewis Hamilton has won the Japanese Grand Prix for Mercedes, easily beating teammate Nico Rosberg, who started on pole. Sebastian Vettel came in third place for Ferrari.
With Sunday’s win at the Suzuka circuit, Hamilton tightened his grip on a third Formula One world title, taking a 48-point lead over teammate Rosberg with five races left in the season.
In ideal conditions, Hamilton overtook Rosberg at the first corner (photo above), then maintained his lead for the rest of the race to come in 18.9 seconds ahead of the German driver and claim his eighth win of the season.
Vettel, starting from fourth, came in 1.8 seconds after his compatriot Rosberg to attain third place, after winning last week in Singapore. Vettel is also third in the drivers’ standings, 11 points behind Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland made fourth, well behind his teammate Vettel.
The race marked a milestone for Hamilton, who has now drawn level in the all-time winners’ list with his childhood hero Ayrton Senna at 41 career wins.
Last year’s race at the circuit was marred by the fatal crash of French driver Jules Bianchi, who died of his injuries in July this year.
tj/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)