Hamilton leads Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

SUZUKA (Japan). — Lewis Hamilton won a rain-shortened Japanese Grand Prix yesterday, claiming his third straight Formula One win and widening his lead over teammate Nico Rosberg in the race for the drivers’ championship.
With Hamilton leading Rosberg, a red flag came out on the 47th of 53 laps due to a crash involving Marussia driver Jules Bianchi. Race officials elected not to restart the race and Hamilton was declared the winner. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel finished third.

The race celebrations were subdued as Bianchi was taken to hospital by ambulance.
“The driver is not conscious and has been sent to the hospital by the ambulance because the helicopter cannot fly in these conditions. Further updates will follow but for the moment we cannot say anything. I will keep you updated as fast as I can,” FIA head of communications Matteo Bonciani told reporters.

No champagne was sprayed on the podium and there were no celebrations.
Germany’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who announced on Saturday he was leaving Red Bull at the end of the season, finished third.

The win was Hamilton’s eighth of the season and first at Suzuka, with his only other win in Japan coming at the Fuji circuit with McLaren in 2007.
The race was red-flagged with 46 of the scheduled 53 laps completed after an accident involving Sauber’s Adrian Sutil and Bianchi brought the safety car out for the third time. There was immediate concern in the aftermath of the accident over Bianchi’s well-being with the medical car and an ambulance being dispatched to the scene of the crash.

“Once I was able to get past Nico I was just able to enjoy the ride,” Hamilton said. “It was a great result for the team but obviously I am very concerned about Bianchi right now.”

Hamilton now leads Rosberg by 10 points with four races remaining.
The rain also disrupted the early stages of the race, with the first nine laps run behind the safety car. After things settled down and the race begun, Hamilton did everything possible to gain on his teammate, who started from pole.

Rosberg held the lead until the 29th lap where Hamilton got a better run onto the pit straight and blasted around the outside of Rosberg into Turn 1 to take the lead for good.

“I had a lot more pace than Nico,” Hamilton said. “It’s not an easy circuit to follow on. But I was able to get close and with DRS was able to get side-by-side and put it in there.”

The race started as scheduled but with the rain getting stronger, the drivers could only complete two cautious laps behind the safety car.
After a 10-minute delay, the race restarted behind the safety car, but Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari ground to a halt with a technical problem. The Spaniard returned to his garage and threw up his arms in frustration as his day was done.

RESULTS
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:51:43.021
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes +00:09.180
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 00:29.122
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault 00:38.818
5. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:07.550
6. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams – Mercedes 01:53.773
7. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams – Mercedes 01:55.126
8. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 01:55.948
9. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso – Renault 02:07.638
10. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 1 lap
11. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso – Renault 1 lap
12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1 lap
13. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber – Ferrari 1 lap
14. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1 lap
15. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Renault 1 lap
16. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus – Renault 1 lap
17. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham – Renault 1 lap
18. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia – Ferrari 1 lap
19. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham – Renault 1 lap
20r. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia – Ferrari 3 laps
21r. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber – Ferrari 4 laps
r. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 42 laps — AFP.

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