Lewis Hamilton took a huge step towards retaining his Formula One title by winning the Japanese Grand Prix as championship rival Sebastian Vettel could only recover to sixth.
Mercedes driver Hamilton extended his advantage at the top of the standings to 67 points with his fourth successive race win and sixth in seven, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas taking second ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Vettel started eighth on the grid and worked his way up to fourth before contact with Verstappen, who had already received a five-second penalty for obstructing Kimi Raikkonen, on lap eight sent him all the way down to 19th.
The gap between the German and Hamilton is now so big that the latter can potentially clinch the fifth title of his illustrious career at the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton claimed his 80th career pole position in Japan and never came under pressure at the front of the field on Sunday, the majority of the drama taking place behind him.
Vettel's hopes of challenging the Briton were wiped away when he looked to dive down the inside of Verstappen at Spoon but connected with the Red Bull and both cars went off track.
The Dutchman served a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and not returning safely, forcing Raikkonen onto the grass after overrunning a chicane.
Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a fine day, climbing from 15th place after engine trouble in qualifying to finish ahead of the Ferrari duo in fourth.
VETTEL'S CHANCES SPIN AWAY
Things changed very quickly for Vettel and Hamilton. A safety car was deployed after Sauber's Charles Leclerc came together with Kevin Magnussen, resulting in debris close to the track and a puncture that forced the Haas driver to retire.
The incident brought Vettel, who had climbed to fourth, much closer to Hamilton, but his attempt to pass Verstappen at turn 13 following the restart sent him spinning off track and brought his chances to an end.
"The touch with Sebastian - in that corner you can't overtake. I even gave him space but he understeered into my car," said Verstappen after the race.
HAMILTON GOES 50 UP
Mercedes' dominance since 2015 is undoubted and Hamilton enjoyed another milestone in Suzuka.
The victory was his 50th for the Silver Arrows – nine of which have come this season. It was also a second successive one-two after Bottas followed his team-mate home, as he did last time out in Russia.
ALONSO BREAKS A RECORD
Fernando Alonso completed his 16,632nd F1 lap during the race, meaning only Michael Schumacher has completed more than him.
Unfortunately, the McLaren driver, who finished 14th, has just four grands prix left in F1.
IN THE POINTS
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27.17.062
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +12.919s
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +14.295s
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +19.495s
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +50.998s
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +69.873s
7. Sergio Perez (Racing Point Force India) +79.379s
8. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +87.198s
9. Esteban Ocon (Racing Point Force India) +88.055s
10. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +1 lap
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 331
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 264 (-67)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 207 (-124)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 196 (-135)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 173 (-158)
1. Mercedes 538
2. Ferrari 460 (-78)
3. Red Bull 319 (-219)
4. Renault 92 (-446)
5. Haas 84 (-454)
After travelling from Europe to Asia for back-to-back races, the drivers have a weekend off before heading to a new continent for the United States Grand Prix.
16. Dezember 2018
|LeBron, Ball first Lakers team-mates with triple-doubles in same game since 1982|
|Premier League contenders Liverpool ready to win titles – Henderson|
|Hopkins´ two TDs help Texans close in on AFC South title with win over Jets|
|Courtois: Simeone criticises Real Madrid to boost popularity|
|Mourinho in the dark over transfers as Pogba rumours swirl again|
|Mourinho marvels at Salah going nuclear|
|The lucky ones - Mourinho assesses Liverpool´s title charge|
15. Dezember 2018
|Juventus boss Allegri turned his back on Ronaldo penalty|
|Dickerson hoping Barkley falls short of breaking his records|
|Bristol shock La Rochelle, Clermont win again|
|LeBron: Meeting Jordan for first time was godly|
|Ronaldo scores Juventus´ 5,000th Serie A goal|
|I was all over the place - Allen reaches Scottish Open final despite hangovers|
|Solari defends wasteful Asensio after slim Madrid win|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Ronaldo capitalises on Zaza woe|
|I do my work on the pitch – Icardi unconcerned by Inter contract discussions|
|Lyon defender Rafael set for three months out|
|Inter captain Icardi is the ´perfect´ striker – Spalletti|
|Fulham have to stick together, says Ranieri|
|Nuno hails ´very special´ Wolves achievement after third straight win|
|Stuttgart captain Gentner´s father dies at Hertha fixture|
|Valverde not desperate for new centre-back amid talk of Christensen loan|
|Toulouse and Saracens stay perfect in Champions Cup|
|Kovac lauds Bayern´s best performance of the season|
|Barcelona can get the best out of Coutinho and Dembele, claims Valverde|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Werder Bremen 1: Alcacer and Reus guarantee top spot for mid-season break|
|Bristol City 2 Norwich City 2: Canaries knocked off their perch despite late equaliser|
|Atletico´s fighting spirit lauded by Simeone, Godin|
|Hodgson relieved to see Palace end Zaha curse|
|Real Madrid 1 Rayo Vallecano 0: Benzema secures steady response to CSKA loss|
|Fulham 0 West Ham 2: Snodgrass, Antonio punish profligate hosts|
|Warnock brands refereeing situation ´a disgrace´ after Watford defeat|
|Inter 1 Udinese 0: Icardi penalty gets lethargic Nerazzurri back on track|
|Wagner retains belief in survival bid despite Newcastle defeat|
|Griezmann feeling the strain after busy 2018|
|Pochettino ´so pleased´ as tired Tottenham scrap to Burnley win|
|Man Utd hand Smalling new contract|
|ES Tunis 0 Al Ain 3: Convincing victory books River Plate semi|
|Championship Review: Bamford fires Leeds to summit, Middlesbrough defeated by QPR|
|Curry reacts to Kings´ trolling with moon landing video|
|Wentz ruled out of Rams clash|
|Pochettino reaches 100 Premier League wins for Tottenham faster than Wenger for Arsenal|
|Real Valladolid 2 Atletico Madrid 3: Griezmann the hero on landmark appearance|
|Silva rues Richarlison´s missed chances at City|
|Gibson has no worries over Proteas batsmen|
|Wolves 2 Bournemouth 0: Jimenez and Cavaleiro score against toothless Cherries|
|Crystal Palace 1 Leicester City 0: Captain Milivojevic earns vital victory|
|Watford 3 Cardiff City 2: Hornets hang on despite late fightback|
|Tottenham 1 Burnley 0: Eriksen snatches victory at the death|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Newcastle United 1: Rondon strike settles scrap|
|Sabres suspend forward Berglund for failing to report to the team|
|Saunders thanks Fury for getting him ´back on the right track´|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 4: Gnabry and Kimmich star in crushing win|
|I admire Sterling – Guardiola|
|City´s strength in depth makes it hard for me – Jesus|
|Jamieson holds slender lead in Malelane|
|Kashima Antlers 3 Guadalajara 2: Comeback win sets up Real Madrid semi-final|
|Hosszu claims fourth Hangzhou gold, Le Clos beaten by Santos|
|Manchester City 3 Everton 1: Jesus at the double as City go top|
|Parker defiant on low blow claims after ending 2018 ´with a bang´|
|Alisson: Liverpool must beat Manchester United|
|Mourinho´s brutal honesty praised by Karanka|
|Fielding inspired by Bellew after overcoming setbacks to face Canelo|
|Mourinho loves being a manager ´more than ever´|
|Khawaja unconcerned by poor start to India series|
|WATCH: Dellavedova dives into media table to rescue possession|
|Christmas form could transform Man United´s season - Rashford|
|Urgent changes needed at Manchester United – Ferdinand|
|Ishant confident as Kohli carries India into day three|
|Modric takes aim at Simeone for ´constantly undermining Real Madrid´|