Vettel Was Aware Of Verstappen’s Penalty Before Making Race-Defining Error

08 October, 2018, 18:30 | Author: Nicole Aguilar
  • Lewis Hamilton wins Japanese GP & closes on fifth world title

He faced a late charge from Max Verstappen at the end and clearly felt some pressure as he was forced into a few mistakes.

Alonso said he was baffled by his penalty and said it showed how inconsistent F1 penalties are, saying: "Even when the driver comes to apologise I think it's hard to understand the decision but you know, this is how bad Formula 1 is". "We had a lot of downforce on the vehicle so I knew we'd stay close enough".

Verstappen, who finished third, had been handed the penalty for forcing Vettel's team mate Kimi Raikkonen off the track earlier in the race and would have dropped behind Vettel anyway at the pitstops.

The Briton now has a 67-point lead over Vettel with four races remaining and can sew up the championship next week with victory in Austin should the German finish lower than second.

Despite Ferrari locking out the front row with what seemed a faster auto, Hamilton won after passing Vettel on the opening lap and then Kimi Raikkonen after chasing down the leading Finn.

The most simple way for Hamilton to win the title would be to replicate the results of the last two races, in Russian Federation and Japan, by leading home Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in a one-two finish. Lewis Hamilton got a bit emotional as he crossed the line and moved ever closer to the title.

"I have imagined and I have dreamt about winning the title all year long", Hamilton added.

Lewis Hamilton joins Simon Lazenby and Anthony Davidson, as they review his race weekend from Suzuka.

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Verstappen's run-in with Vettel was set up by a previous incident with the German's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The US Grand Prix is one of the best races of the year - a great track just outside a wonderful city.

The Spaniard, who infamously embarrassed McLaren's former engine supplier Honda at its home circuit three years ago by yelling "GP2 engine, GP2 engine" over the team radio, called the penalty "random" and said it proved "how bad Formula One is".

"The whole weekend has been incredibly strong for the team", Hamilton said.

The incident was investigated by the stewards, with no further action taken, but Verstappen felt it was clear Vettel had been at fault. I saw a gap and went for it on the inside, he obviously tried to defend and I couldn't go anywhere, so we touched.

Verstappen finished third, while Raikkonen fell to fifth and said damage from the collision made his vehicle "far from ideal" afterwards. The Ferrari was mostly alongside entering the corner, only for the two to collide.

Magnussen's Haas was read-ended by the Sauber of Leclerc after the Dane suddenly moved to the right on the main straight when the Monegasque was attempting to pass.

Esteban Ocon finished ninth behind Romain Grosjean of Haas and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. beat Pierre Gasly of Torro Rosso to take 10th.

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