Lewis Hamilton says he could only have dreamed of opening up such a sizeable lead in the Formula One championship after capitalising on Sebastian Vettel's woe to win a pulsating Japanese Grand Prix.
The Briton converted pole into an eighth victory of a campaign that has dramatically swung in his favour in recent races to open up a 59-point advantage over Ferrari rival Vettel.
It was a desperately disappointing day for the German, who retired after just four laps with an engine problem, as Hamilton held off a great fight from Max Verstappen to take the chequered flag at Suzuka.
Victory means the Mercedes man can clinch a fourth world title with victory in the United States Grand Prix if he wins and Vettel places lower than fifth and it is a position Hamilton did not foresee.
"Honestly, I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap. The Ferraris have put on such a great challenge all year long but I have to put it down to my team," an elated Hamilton said.
"They've done a phenomenal job, reliability has been on point. They're just so meticulous and that's really why we're having the reliability and results we're having."
Verstappen was rarely more than three seconds adrift of Hamilton and, when the Briton complained of vibrating tyres in the closing laps, that gap was cut to just over a second.
"Max drove an outstanding race and honestly it wasn't an easy one for us at all," Hamilton added.
"The Red Bulls just seem to be rapid in the race trim. Obviously, we're quick in qualifying but it got very close at the end with the VSC [virtual safety car] and the restart. The tyres were cold and had a bit of traffic and he caught right up, so it was very close."
Verstappen beat Hamilton at the previous grand prix in Malaysia and reflected on another fine outing in the Red Bull.
"It was a great day again. Suzuka is really great to me, I loved the track last year. The pace today was really promising," he said.
"The first stint on the supersoft I was struggling a bit with the left-front but as soon as we switched to the soft tyre it was very competitive and I was always with Lewis, especially in the last few laps.
"We had great pace it's just really hard to pass. I gave it my all to try and close the gap but the car is really improving race by race so I'm really happy about that."
17. Dezember 2017
|Gattuso slams ´embarrassing´ Milan after Verona defeat|
|Celtic´s 69-match unbeaten run ends with Hearts thrashing|
|Fekir keen on Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Manchester City... and Arsenal|
|Julian Savea not ruling out rugby league switch|
|Mbappe pips Martial to Telefoot Trophy|
|Verona 3 AC Milan 0: Gattuso´s side slip to insipid defeat|
|Man City´s celebrations? You should hear Burnley, says Rooney|
|Froome´s Vuelta test bad for cycling, says Bardet|
|Vince backs Cook and Root to overcome slump|
|Rooney wants greedy Rashford, has high hopes for Martial|
|Man City aren´t one of the Premier League´s best ever - Rooney|
|Rose romps to Indonesian Masters title|
|The best answer is laughing - Ronaldo mocks Gremio boss Renato|
|Brisbane Roar 1 Melbourne Victory 2: Williams and Barbarouses boost pre-derby mood|
|LeBron James wants to break ´stereotype´ around ageing stars after passing Larry Bird|
|Hazlewood frustrated as Anderson issues rallying call|
|The Ashes Round-up: Weather holds up Australia|
|Perez keen for ´spectacular´ Ronaldo to never leave Madrid|
|Rain halts Australia charge for Ashes glory|
|Numbers tell the story as Cook´s Ashes woes continue|
|Golovkin, Alvarez scared to face me - Saunders|
|Cook, Root fall as Australia close in on win|
|Knicks top Thunder in Anthony´s return to New York|
|Saunders outclasses Lemieux to retain title|
|Chiefs too good for Chargers, Lions win|
|Australia push further ahead in Perth|
|Kroos: Madrid don´t need added motivation for Clasico|
|Howe discussed Liverpool criticism with Begovic|
|Pellegrino: I can´t control Van Dijk future|
|Perez suggests Madrid unlikely to make January moves|
|Packers activate Rodgers for Panthers clash|
|Gonzalez bids emotional farewell to Dodgers|
|Liverpool scouts to thank for Salah capture, says Klopp|
|Substitutes made the difference - Simeone|
16. Dezember 2017
|Sarri praises ´extraordinary´ Hamsik as Napoli go top of Serie A|
|Mutual trust at Man City is ´a dream´, says Guardiola|
|Thorley grabs four in Gloucester rout, Connacht trounce Brice|
|Stoger´s small changes getting Dortmund back on track|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Alaves 0: Substitute Torres breaks LaLiga duck to net winner|
|City defeat a ´good experience´ for Tottenham - Pochettino|
|Fury takes pop at ´carthorse´ Joshua|
|Zidane dreaming of sextuple after Club World Cup success|
|Running man De Bruyne makes it easier to manage City - Guardiola|
|Ronaldo and Zidane hoping for Ballon d´Or winner to retire at Madrid|
|Championship Review: Teenage debutant Maja snaps Sunderland´s home drought|
|In-form Neymar is good for all who love football – Emery|
|Napoli´s record goalscorers - how Marek Hamsik compares to Diego Maradona|
|Leinster rally to beat Chiefs, Bath gain revenge over Toulon|
|De Bruyne eyes titles over unbeaten season|
|Ninja Turtles invade pitch during PSG clash|
|Muller, Heynckes buoyed by Bayern Munich´s edgy victory|
|I´m confident, but what does that mean? - Wenger gives cryptic answer on Ozil future|
|Real Madrid win five trophies in a calendar year for first time|
|It´s nice to know - Hamsik plays down matching Maradona´s Napoli record|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Hoffenheim 1: Pulisic late show extends perfect Stoger start|
|Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Silva-less City continue to set the gold standard|
|Hughes fumes at Lanzini ´dive´|
|Torino 1 Napoli 3: Historic Hamsik strike sends Sarri´s side top|
|Dyche credits Burnley´s resolve in battling Brighton draw|
|Conte refuses to discuss Chelsea interest in ´really good player´ Van Dijk|
|Real Madrid 1 Gremio 0: Ronaldo free-kick secures Club World Cup glory|
|Silva refuses to question Watford´s attitude amid dismal run|
|Wenger hails Ozil´s decisive ´gem´|
|City´s record run unfairly overshadowing Chelsea form - Conte|
|Murray ´normally very reliable´ from the spot - Hughton|
|Stoke City 0 West Ham 3: Returning Arnautovic has the last laugh|
|Rennes 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Two goals, two assists for Neymar|
|Hamsik matches Maradona´s all-time Napoli scoring record|
|Apologetic Spalletti had forgotten losing feeling at Inter|
|We stick to the plan – Valverde not risking Dembele before January|