Valtteri Bottas wins Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes clinch record constructors’ title

Ross Houston
October 24, 2019

Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Valtteri Bottas finally scored a victory after a long drought while his teammate Lewis Hamilton finished third at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.

"I think Mexico is generally our worst race of the year because of the way our vehicle is set up and it's going to be a tough one for us", said a downbeat Hamilton, who was quicker on fresher tyres than second-placed Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages at Suzuka but was unable to barge past.

Bottas jumped both Ferraris from third on the grid to win his third race this season and sixth of his F1 career.

"I miss him every day", said Wolff, who like Lauda hails from Austria.

Hamilton is 64 points ahead of the Finn, Sunday's victor, and firmly on course to secure his sixth title with only Michael Schumacher - on seven - ahead of the Briton in the all-time record books.

But with Leclerc dropping down the order after a first-lap crash with Max Verstappen, ensuring he could finish only sixth, Ferrari was unable to prevent Mercedes extending its championship lead to an insurmountable 179 points with four races remaining, securing the Silver Arrows a sensational sixth-straight title.

"The lights were on a long time, so it was my mistake".

"I'm so happy for the team - what a great result!" exclaimed Hamilton."Six consecutive double titles is an fantastic achievement that has taken a long time and a lot of hard work". "It was a really poor start", Vettel said. The Dutchman spun off and vented his anger over team radio after hearing there would be no investigation.

Stewards said the incident would be looked at again post-race.

Leclerc's front wing was damaged and he was forced to pit for a new nose at the start of lap four.

It came down to tyre strategies and Hamilton, at one stage, appeared unhappy with his team's tactics.

After second stops by Vettel and Bottas, Hamilton led from lap 37.

Bottas took on fresh soft tyres five laps later leaving Hamilton again in the lead.

Bottas was called in for a switch to new soft tyres, handing the lead to Hamilton, but Mercedes, realising it had accidentally handed the Finn the inferior strategy despite having led the race from the start, pit the Briton on lap 42.

"Firstly, it's congratulations to the team to win it six times in a row", Hamilton said.

Charles Leclerc recovered to seventh after taking damage in his first-lap crash with Verstappen and serving 15 seconds of penalties.

Mercedes is also guaranteed the drivers title, with Leclerc and Verstappen, the only two drivers still in contention for individual honours prior to this race, now too far behind on the points table to beat either Bottas or Hamilton to the crown.

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