Lewis Hamilton took a huge step towards a fourth Formula One championship on Sunday, winning the Japanese Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel's woes continued.
Hamilton enjoyed a dominant weekend at Suzuka and the Briton turned that into a 61st grand prix win, holding off Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
The Mercedes star had opened up a healthy lead amid struggles for Ferrari in Singapore and Malaysia, and he will take a 59-point advantage into the final four races of the season after converting his first Suzuka pole into victory.
Troubled by reliability issues in recent races, Vettel's bad luck continued as he was forced into retiring after just four laps due to mechanical problems.
The German appeared at risk of not starting as his car was worked on before the race, but the issues remained and he quickly fell from second before his retirement.
Verstappen produced a fine early move to get past the struggling Vettel and the Dutchman, coming off a win in Malaysia, held onto second as most drivers opted for one-stop strategies.
Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen's team-mate, completed the podium.
MORE WOES FOR VETTEL
Vettel's season continued its recent downward spiral. What was expected to be a thrilling finale to the campaign is all but over with four races left after Vettel's latest mechanical woes.
The German crashed in Singapore, where Hamilton was victorious, and then started last in Malaysia due to mechanical issues, although he salvaged a fourth-place finish.
But the four-time champion's latest problems in Japan appear to have ended his title dreams.
Verstappen backed up his Malaysia win with another fine drive.
The 20-year-old put huge pressure on Hamilton, battling tyre vibrations, in the closing stages. It marked a third podium finish this season for Verstappen and ninth top-10 result, having retired from the seven other races.
SAINZ FAILS TO COMPLETE LAP
Carlos Sainz Jr was unable to complete a lap on what was his final Toro Rosso start as the Spaniard crashed out.
Sainz signed with Renault for next season but will make the move immediately, with Jolyon Palmer leaving with four races left.
Palmer managed 12th spot on his final start for Renault.
IN THE POINTS
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.211seconds
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +9.679s
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +10.580s
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +32.622s
6. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +67.788s
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) +71.424s
8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +88.953s
9. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +89.883s
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) +1lap
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 306
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 247 (-59)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 234 (-72)
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) – 192 (-114)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) – 148 (-158)
6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 111 (-195)
1. Mercedes – 540
2. Ferrari – 395 (-145)
3. Red Bull – 303 (-237)
4. Force India – 147 (-393)
5. Williams – 66 (-474)
6. Toro Rosso – 52 (-488)
Hamilton can seal the title at the United States Grand Prix in Austin on October 22. A win and Vettel finishing outside the top five would wrap up the championship.
17. Oktober 2017
|Monaco without Ghezzal and Jovetic for Besiktas clash|
|Hafeez recalled for Sri Lanka T20 series|
|De Bruyne agent eyes Neymar, Mbappe-style wages for Manchester City star|
|Mertesacker not interested in Deeney’s ´cojones´ comment|
|Craig Shakespeare sacked by Leicester City|
|North set to miss Wales´ autumn series with knee injury|
|Messi is the best in the world, says Paulinho|
|Valverde ready for ´emotional´ game against old boys OIympiacos|
|Nadal to miss Swiss Indoors Basel due to knee injury|
|Manchester United expecting a tough game against Benfica, says Ashley Young|
|Froome eyes Paris-Roubaix for Tour preparation|
|Rafinha has ´no interest´ in Barca exit - Mazinho|
|Mourinho would be happy with draw against wounded Benfica|
|O´Neill wary of Eriksen threat after Republic of Ireland draw Denmark in World Cup play-offs|
|NBA Preview: Five key storylines entering the 2017-18 season|
|Warrington pull off Roberts coup|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton closing in, new faces and pink tyres|
|Simeone and Atletico wary of Qarabag threat|
|Robben set for landmark as Barca´s Valverde welcomes former side - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Conte´s harsh words will motivate us, insists Alonso|
|Mourinho: I´m not signing new contract and I´m not joining PSG|
|Bayern´s Martinez out for at least two matches|
|Furyk hints at Woods Ryder Cup vice-captaincy role|
|Besiktas ask fans not to attend Champions League clash with Monaco|
|Porte set for comeback from Tour de France crash|
|Fit-again Morata could face Roma, Conte reveals|
|Juventus must share the blame for defensive woes, says Chiellini|
|Taylor and Jarvis earn Zimbabwe recalls|
|Nice president supports Balotelli for Italy recall|
|Celtic´s Roberts modelled his game on Robben|
|World Cup play-offs: Italy to face Sweden, Republic of Ireland meet Denmark|
|Proteas rest Tahir and Rabada for T20s|
|Juventus are not in any kind of crisis, says Allegri|
|Cobbles, Alpe D´Huez and new climbs await 2018 Tour de France|
|Watford can beat Chelsea claims Cleverley|
|Sigurdsson admits to falling short at Everton|
|Lloris hails ´machine of success´ Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Gunathilaka ban halved to three matches by Sri Lanka|
|Stokes incident worse than my punch of Root, says Warner|
|Ox not ready for central role, Klopp says|
|Rodda to miss rest of 2017 due to shoulder surgery|
|My career´s gone - Redknapp flags likely retirement|
|Toulon expect Webb to honour contract|
|Spurs must be wary of Isco ´magic´, warns Pochettino|
|Malignaggi keen for McGregor fight|
|Riedle defends Bundesliga quality amid early Champions League struggles|
|Manchester City v Napoli: The numbers behind Europe´s most lethal attacks|
|LeBron: Irving´s return to Cleveland will be fine|
|He Said What?! The Best NFL quotes of week six|
|Jardim says French champions Monaco down on confidence|
|Mariota returns to lead Titans past Colts|
|Yankees rout Astros to reduce ALCS deficit|
|Hansen defends under-fire Sonny Bill Williams: He is playing well|
|Spurs star Kane an obvious target for Real Madrid – Redknapp|
|I´m done - Gatland quits British and Irish Lions|
|Bosz and Dortmund eyeing much-needed victory as Schmelzer returns|
|Tiger Woods cleared to resume golf activities with no restrictions|
|Szczesny: I didn´t improve at Arsenal due to tactical gulf|
|Spurs coach Popovich calls Trump a ´soulless coward´|
|Bowman signs one-year deal with Raiders|
|Girardi says Yankees star Judge isn´t getting calls ´because he´s so tall´|
|Baldwin feared he could lose hand after lion bite|
|Pochettino wants ´10 or 15 years´ at Tottenham|
|Shakespeare hails Mahrez response after ´kick up the backside´|
|Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to undergo surgery on broken collarbone|
16. Oktober 2017
|NBA Eastern Conference Preview: Can Celtics´ bold moves unseat Cavs?|
|NBA Western Conference Preview: Everyone´s looking up at the Warriors|
|NBA Preview: Five rookies to watch in 2017|
|Cornet breezes past home hope Makarova in Moscow|
|Leicester City 1 West Brom 1: Mahrez cancels out Chadli magic|