Hamilton edges out Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg on first corner and goes on to win – putting him 48 points clear of Rosberg in points table.
SUZUKA, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 27, 2015) (FOM) – Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Sunday (September 27) to equal the late Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 Formula One victories and move 48 points clear of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg with five races remaining.
On a sunny afternoon at Suzuka, in marked contrast to the dark and tragic 2014 race that he also won, the double world champion seized the lead from pole-sitter Rosberg at the start and never looked back.
The win was the Briton’s eighth of the season, with Rosberg anchoring the eighth one-two finish for dominant Mercedes as the champions returned to form after a mysterious dip in Singapore last weekend.
Rosberg took the chequered flag 18.9 seconds behind Hamilton with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the winner in Singapore, finishing third in an exact repeat of last year’s top three at Suzuka.
Hamilton now has 277 points to Rosberg’s 229 with Vettel dropping back on 218 but refusing to give up his championship hopes until mathematically ruled out.
Mercedes, who have now won 11 of 14 races, moved a step closer to retaining their constructors’ title with 506 points to Ferrari’s 337.
“For me to come here to a race where I used to love watching Ayrton drive, to match his wins… I can’t really describe it. It doesn’t feel real at the moment,” said a delighted Hamilton after saluting the fans from the podium.
“I am so happy right now,” he said, before Vettel poured champagne over his rival’s head. “The team did a fantastic job this weekend, it’s great to be back up here as a team with a one-two.
“The car was beautiful to drive today.”
Rosberg had gone into the first two corners side by side with Hamilton but was forced wide to avoid a collision and dropped to fourth as Hamilton made his getaway.
“Lewis just got a better start, fair play and it was a good battle into turn two,” said the German. “He had the inside and just made it stick and that was the end of it there. Then it was great to fight to second place.
“Second was the best possible after that so I’m happy with the fightback.”
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth with fellow-Finn Valtteri Bottas fifth for Williams.
Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Force India, with the Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado seventh and eighth in a boost for the financially-troubled team.
Dutch hotshot Max Verstappen who turns 18 next week completed his last race as a 17-year-old in the points, taking ninth place for Toro Rosso ahead of Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz.
There was disappointment and dismay for McLaren at engine partner Honda’s home track, with Spaniard Fernando Alonso making his feelings painfully clear for the Japanese manufacturer on the way to 11th place.
“I am getting passed down the straight like a GP2 (car),” he exclaimed angrily after two cars went past, one on each side. “This is embarrassing, very embarrassing.”
The double world champion returned to the theme later as Verstappen passed without problem to drop him out of the points: “GP2 engine, GP2 engine,” he exclaimed.
Result from the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on Sunday
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:28:06.508
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +00:18.964
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 00:20.850
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:33.768
5. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 00:36.746
6. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 00:55.559
7. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Mercedes 01:12.298
8. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus – Mercedes 01:13.575
9. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – Renault 01:35.315
10. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap
11. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1 lap
12. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 1 lap
13. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull – Renault 1 lap
14. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari 1 lap
15. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1 lap
16. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1 lap
17. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 2 laps
18. Alexander Rossi (U.S.) Marussia – Ferrari 2 laps
19. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia – Ferrari 3 laps
20r. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – Ferrari 4 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)
Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton,1:36.145, lap 33.
Driver and Constructor Standings after the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on Sunday
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 277
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 229
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 218
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 119
5. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 111
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 97
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 73
8. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull 66
9. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 44
10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 39
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 38
12. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 32
13. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 17
14. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 16
15. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 12
16. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 11
17. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 9
18. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 6
19. Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia 0
20. Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia 0
21. Alexander Rossi (U.S.) Marussia 0
1. Mercedes 506
2. Ferrari 337
3. Williams-Mercedes 208
4. RedBull – Renault 139
5. Force India – Mercedes 77
6. Lotus – Mercedes 60
7. Toro Rosso – Renault 44
8. Sauber – Ferrari 26
9. McLaren 17
10. Marussia – Ferrari 0