Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix RECAP: Mercedes win team title, Bottas clinches race win | F1 | Sport


Valtteri Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix (Image: GETTY)

  • Valtteri Bottas takes lead on first corner after fast start
  • Max Verstappen retires after colliding with Charles Leclerc
  • Mercedes clinch Constructors’ Championship

Valtteri Bottas won his third Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season after leading from the front, as Mercedes secured the Constructors’ Championship.

The Mercedes star got off to a brilliant start, leapfrogging the two Ferraris from the off.

Bottas jumped past Charles Leclerc and pole-holder Sebastian Vettel into the lead, and was comfortable after that.

Charles Leclerc is awaiting punishment after colliding with Max Verstappen on the second corner of the first lap, and could be given a time penalty.

Lewis Hamilton finished third behind Vettel, despite pushing him close late in the race.

Alexander Albon came fourth, with Carlos Sainz fifth.


LAP 49: Dogfight between Hamilton and Vettel

We’re in the final few laps, and Valtteri Bottas is set to secure his third win of the season.

Hamilton is currently chasing Vettel, who is in second.

The Brit is less than a second behind the Ferrari star, and is closing the gap rapidly.

LAP 45: Hamilton leads.. briefly

Lewis Hamilton took the lead briefly whilst Valtteri Bottas was in the pits.

Despite the Brit wanting to stay out, Mercedes called him in for another pit stop, allowing his team-mate to regain the lead.

Sebastian Vettel is currently two seconds ahead of him.

LAP 35: Half-way point

We’ve passed the half-way point now, and Hamilton has passed Sebastian Vettel.

After arguing with his team over strategy, the Brit is currently 15 seconds behind race leader and team-mate Valtteri Bottas. 

Charles Leclerc has worked his way back up to sixth spot.

LAP 25: Hamilton unhappy with Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton isn’t happy to see Bottas and Vettel so far ahead of him.

Whilst he’s on a one-stop strategy, Vettel will pit twice.

However, he told the Mercedes pit wall he worries his race is over.

“How have I lost that much pace?” he asked. “I’m out of the race. You should have given me the hard tyres.”

LAP 15: Max Verstappen OUT 

Max Verstappen is OUT after his collision with Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver is still under investigation, but Verstappen’s race is over.

After the collision, he was unable to regain the form in the car, and he has subsequently been forced to retire.


Max Verstappen was forced to retire (Image: GETTY)

LAP 10: Ferrari under investigation

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen’s collision is now under investigation, and Sebastian Vettel is under investigation for a false start.

Just when Ferrari thought the start couldn’t have been worse.

Rather awkwardly, Leclerc in 17th passes Verstappen into 16th on turn one.

As it stands, if Vettel is given a penalty, Mercedes will score a 1-2 finish.

LAP 5: Verstappen rages at Leclerc

Max Verstappen is bemused as to why Leclerc hasn’t been punished.

Replays show the Red Bull kept the racing line, but the Ferrari star drove across and collided with his side.

Verstappen is now in 16th spot, and is complaining to the pit wall about his car’s condition.

LAP 1: Chaotic start for Ferrari!

Valtteri Bottas leapfrogs the two Scuderia and takes the lead ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Charles Leclerc collided with Max Verstappen, pushing the Dutchman off the track.

In the process, he damaged his front wing, sending bits of carbon all over the track.

For some reason, Leclerc failed to come into the pits, despite part of the front wing coming off.

Lewis Hamilton wasn’t happy, as Leclerc’s wing hit his car.

“How he’s not been given a warning flag, I don’t know,” the Brit told the pit wall.

“That s**t came off, I lost a wing mirror.”

06:10 UPDATE

The formation lap is underway at Suzuka after the national anthems and pre-race preparations.

Team officials and drivers stood on the start/finish line for a minute’s silence to pay respect to those affected by Typhoon Hagibis.


Charles Leclerc’s car was damaged in the incident (Image: GETTY)

05:50am UPDATE

We’re minutes away from the race beginning, and Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto has been discussing the race pace needed from the car.

“We are very happy, here in Suzuka it’s a difficult circuit,” he told Sky Sports. 

“After Friday we had some bad balance issues, but we used the downforce and I think the car is in a better place

“I think we try and do our best, and we know the race is the important one. The race will be difficult.

“The pace on Friday was not great, and we know we have to be quick today.”

05:45am UPDATE

The drivers have made their way out to the grid and are preparing to get going.

And Lewis Hamilton is cautious over Ferrari’s pace over the course of the race.

“Ferrari obviously turn up and go to another level which we can’t really compete with, power-wise,” he said to Sky Sports.

“I think Ferrari have the faster car… I think we’ve got a solid car and we’ll hopefully be able to give them a race and a run for their money. 

“But they’re very quick on the straights.”


Sebastian Vettel finished on pole at the Japanese Grand Prix (Image: GETTY)

05:30am UPDATE

Sebastian Vettel set a new track record at Suzuka after an incredible lap.

The Ferrari star clocked a 1.27.064 as the Scuderia locked out the front row.

Mercedes have the second row, with Valtteri Bottas third and Lewis Hamilton fourth.

Max Verstappen will start fifth and Alexander Albon sixth.

  • Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel starts on pole at the Japanese Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton attempts to place one hand on the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.

Due to Typhoon Hagibis, qualifying was delayed until the early hours of Sunday morning, just before the race start time.

Saturday’s track activity was completely cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions.

The weather caused havoc during qualifying, as both Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica both crashed out of the first qualifying session after colliding with the wall.

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