Verstappen Mocks Vettel and Ferrari over Championship Claims

Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari SF71H

A fifth world title is now squarely in Lewis Hamilton's sights.

Later on, after an early safety auto restart, the Red Bull driver was challenged by Sebastian Vettel when the German lunged into the inside of his rival at Spoon, a move which resulted in a contact between the two drivers and sent the Ferrari spinning.

That means Hamilton only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points at the next race in the United States to clinch a fifth world championship.

It was a soporific race at the front, Hamilton so in control on his way to his sixth win in seven races that he at one point asked his team if they were still there, so little did they need to talk to him.

"He knew that I was there and he just drove into me and pushed me off the track".

That could be bad news for the fourth-placed French team, with their closest rivals Haas having Romain Grosjean qualify fifth.

The planning error cost Vettel dear, with spots of rain beginning to grease the track and leading him to make a mistake on his first flying lap.

A safety vehicle had been called as debris from a Kevin Magnussen - Charles Leclerc collision was cleared and Vettel attacked Verstappen upon the restart, diving up the inside of Spoon Curve.

Vettel, who had started eighth after a failed tyre gamble in qualifying, collided with Verstappen while trying to pass on the inside for third place at the fast left-handed sweep of Suzuka's Spoon corner.

Vettel dived for the inside, Verstappen half defended but left space.

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"When you get in the auto it's just the best, it's so much fun and I'm truly grateful to have the opportunity I have".

Finland's Valtteri Bottas secured the Mercedes one-two with second place while Verstappen finished third despite collecting a five-second penalty.

Perez, however, had his opportunity to pass when Leclerc triggered a virtual safety auto on lap 41.

OUT: Charles Leclerc (Sauber), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Carlos Sainz (Renault), Lance Stroll (Williams), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull).

Verstappen had already incurred a five-second penalty after nudging Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari off the track.

"Keep him [Bottas] under pressure, keep it clean".

Raikkonen also felt Verstappen was fully to blame for their tangle, which happened when the Red Bull ran off the road at the chicane on the opening lap while third then banged wheels with the Ferrari as it rejoined.

Driver of the day Tricky one, this. I think we have better speed than ninth but we'll start there and see how it goes.

He finished 11th in the race on that occasion, unable to better the 10th-place finishes he had at the Azerbaijan and German Grands Prix this year. Can he tie up the title in a country which he calls home for at least part of the year?

"The team have done an unbelievable job this weekend and the call that we made to go out for Q3 was probably the most hard call", Hamilton said.

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