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Images from the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

LH44: Ready to Unleash The Beast at COTA

Oct 072018

Lewis Hamilton now stands on the verge of winning a fifth Formula One world championship title - and can potentially do it at another of his favourite race tracks. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team celebrated another 1-2 finish in the Japanese Grand Prix, as Lewis took the chequered flag ahead of his Silver Arrows teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Lewis's 71st victory in Formula One and Sebastian Vettel's sixth-place finish means the British racing driver can now wrap up the title in two weeks' time at the US GP in Austin, Texas. Incredibly, Lewis has won five of the six Formula One races that have ever been held at the Circuit of the Americas. That said, he is reluctant to get too ahead of himself about quailing Juan Manuel Fangio's five titles, while Michael Schumacher's total of seven would also be a realistic goal.

"Honestly, I'll take it one step at a time. Each week you have a positive weekend and you go to another grand prix and you're not sure how you're going to fare and how you're going to perform, because there are still gaps in between, but I think we have gone from strength to strength this year as a team, so I really hope that we can win it in Austin. Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can't wait to unleash the beast there.”

Lewis's joy was contrasted by the misery of his nearest rival, Vettel, who spun off the track and dropped to 19th place after clashing with Max Verstappen. The German battled back to finish sixth but means he must finish within an eight-point gap of Lewis in Austin to at least force the championship to rollover to Mexico City.


Meanwhile, Valtteri consolidated his second-place start with a place on the second step of the podium as the Finn made it back-to-back 1-2 finishes for the Silver Arrows. Valtteri, who was disappointed not to win last out in Russia, was delighted with the team's result as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Team moved closer to retaining the constructors' championship title.


Valtteri added: "This is a perfect result for the team and a great reward for an amazing performance from the entire team this weekend. I'm happy that we could bring it home like this after qualifying on the front row.


"This was my first podium here in Suzuka which was great; I get a lot of support from the local fans, I can really feel it and it means a lot to me. My race was pretty straightforward, we actually had a bit of margin to save the engine. It probably looked much closer on TV than it actually was.”