Hamilton eyes fourth World Championship


Lewis Hamilton has the fourth Formula 1 world title of his career within his grasp, thanks to another Ferrari breakdown. Sebastian Vettel’s chances of making a fight of it with the British driver slipped away from him almost before the race began when the mechanics had to take off his engine cover and work on a faulty spark plug. It was the prelude to a retirement that would come on the fourth lap, a dramatic end to the German driver’s aspirations in Suzuka.

The 59-point lead Hamilton now has after the Japanese Grand Prix means he can now start working out the sums that will make him champion. They are quite simple: if he wins in Austin and Vettel comes in sixth or worse, or if he finishes second and Vettel is tenth, or fails to earn any points, then the British driver will lift his fourth world title.

The race did not begin well for Carlos Sainz on his farewell from Toro Rosso, either. The Madrileño lost control of his car on the early bends, ran wide and put an end to his almost three seasons driving for the team from Faenza. The other Spanish driver involved, Fernando Alonso, was very close to earning a point, as in the final laps he almost overtook Felipe Massa, who barely had any tyres left and who had been lapped by Hamilton and Verstappen, themselves battling unexpectedly for the win in the final laps.