Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton defeats Nico Rosberg in shortened race

Lewis Hamilton extended his narrow Formula 1 world championship lead by beating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory in a Japanese Grand Prix shortened by an accident for Jules Bianchi

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton defeats Nico Rosberg in shortened race

Having lost out to Rosberg in an all-silver battle for pole in the dry on Saturday, Hamilton turned the tables in the wet Suzuka weather of Sunday with a brilliant round-the-outside passing move on his bitter F1 title rival.

Rosberg led for the first 28 laps of a race that began behind the safety car, thanks to appalling conditions.

When the race got going properly after nine laps behind the safety car - interrupted by a red flag following the first two because of rain - the German held a small advantage over his British team-mate as the two Mercedes streaked clear in the spray.

Rosberg looked comfortable on extreme wet weather tyres, but complained of oversteer after switching to intermediate rubber when circuit conditions improved.

He held Hamilton off until lap 29 when, having suffered a twitch accelerating onto the start-finish straight at the end of the previous lap, he lost enough momentum to allow Hamilton to attack.

Rosberg went defensive, but Hamilton (assisted by extra speed from the Drag Reduction System) swept around the outside of his team-mate to take the lead through Turn 1.

Once released from following Rosberg's gearbox, Hamilton pulled away to take his third consecutive grand prix victory in a race that was red-flagged for a second time under the safety car, after Jules Bianchi's Marussia went off at Turn 7 where marshals were craning away Adrian Sutil's Sauber following an earlier crash.

Bianchi was taken to the circuit medical centre. His Marussia reportedly struck the crane at the crash site.

Red Bull deliberately compromised its dry qualifying pace by setting the RB10 up for the wet, and its drivers used this to good effect to finish third and fourth.

Ferrari-bound reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel completed the podium, despite a trip through the gravel at the Esses, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo overcame Jenson Button's McLaren to finish fourth.

Button held third spot for most of the first half of the race, after being the first driver to pit for inters, but he lost time to a steering wheel change at his second stop, which dropped him behind Vettel, before Ricciardo further demoted the Brit with a firm pass on the inside of the hairpin on lap 43 - the lap before the result was taken.

Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa started third and fourth, but both struggled badly in wet conditions and trailed home sixth and seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg's Force India stopped at the end of the pitlane as the race was red-flagged for the final time, but he finished eighth on countback, while Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne charged from the back of the grid to claim two points for ninth.

Hulkenberg's Force India team-mate Sergio Perez rounded out the points scorers in 10th.

Ferrari took zero points from the race. Kimi Raikkonen finished 12th, while Fernando Alonso retired with a mechanical problem under the safety car before the race began properly.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado was handed a 20-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane, the Venezuelan finishing in 16th position.

RESULTS - 44 LAPS (RED FLAG):

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h51m43.021s -
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h51m52.201s 9.180s
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1h52m12.143s 29.122s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1h52m21.839s 38.818s
5 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1h52m50.571s 1m07.550s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1h53m36.794s 1m53.773s
7 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1h53m38.147s 1m55.126s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1h53m38.969s 1m55.948s
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1h53m50.659s 2m07.638s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1h51m22.646s 1 Lap
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1h51m48.409s 1 Lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1h51m49.838s 1 Lap
13 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1h52m14.678s 1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1h52m22.070s 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1h52m22.780s 1 Lap
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1h52m42.898s 1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault 1h52m50.427s 1 Lap
18 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1h53m36.282s 1 Lap
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1h53m59.121s 1 Lap
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1h48m14.109s Spun off
21 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1h46m17.524s Spun off
- Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6m19.243s Electrical

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 266
2 Nico Rosberg 256
3 Daniel Ricciardo 193
4 Sebastian Vettel 139
5 Fernando Alonso 133
6 Valtteri Bottas 130
7 Jenson Button 82
8 Nico Hulkenberg 76
9 Felipe Massa 71
10 Sergio Perez 46
11 Kimi Raikkonen 45
12 Kevin Magnussen 39
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 21
14 Romain Grosjean 8
15 Daniil Kvyat 8
16 Jules Bianchi 2
17 Adrian Sutil 0
18 Marcus Ericsson 0
19 Pastor Maldonado 0
20 Esteban Gutierrez 0
21 Max Chilton 0
22 Kamui Kobayashi 0

TEAMS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 522
2 Red Bull/Renault 332
3 Williams/Mercedes 201
4 Ferrari 178
5 Force India/Mercedes 122
6 McLaren/Mercedes 121
7 Toro Rosso/Renault 29
8 Lotus/Renault 8
9 Marussia/Ferrari 2
10 Sauber/Ferrari 0
11 Caterham/Renault 0


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