With a final round-up from the paddock at Suzuka, Crash.net F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith brings you his paddock notebook.

- By clinching his ninth win of the Formula 1 season at Suzuka on Sunday, and his sixth in the last seven races, Lewis Hamilton can now clinch his fifth world title at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. If Hamilton wins and Sebastian Vettel finishes third or lower, he will be confirmed as only the third five-time champion in F1 history with three races to spare this year.

- Hamilton narrowly missed out on his sixth career ‘grand slam’ - pole, fastest lap, win, lead every lap - after Vettel pipped him to the fastest lap of the race in the closing stages. He is currently tied with Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari for five in his F1 career, three shy of record holder Jim Clark.

- The result on Sunday marked Hamilton’s 50th win for Mercedes, making him only the second driver in F1 history to reach a half-century of -victories with a single team. Michael Schumacher holds the outright record, having scored 72 wins for Ferrari.

- It was Hamilton’s 71st career victory, meaning he is now 20 shy of Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 wins.

- Valtteri Bottas managed to hold on for second place despite coming under pressure from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the closing stages of the race. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Bottas always had the position in hand, with the gap only being trimmed due to traffic both encountered.

- Mercedes has now recorded back-to-back one-two finishes for the first time since the the final two races of the 2016 season, when Lewis Hamilton led home Nico Rosberg in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

- This was the first race since the Spanish Grand Prix in May that neither Ferrari driver featured on the podium. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel took P5 and P6 respectively today, both having experienced run-ins with Max Verstappen.

- Sergio Perez managed to leapfrog Romain Grosjean for P7 through the final stint of the race to secure ‘top midfielder’ honours. Grosjean suffered a data failure after the small fire on his car - noticed by Pierre Gasly via team radio - burned through some wires, leaving the Haas driver running blind for much of the race. In P8, Grosjean managed to pick up four points to draw Haas another three points closer to Renault, who scored just one point through Carlos Sainz Jr.

- Perez led Force India to its fourth double score in the five races since its re-entry to the constructors’ championship, with teammate Esteban Ocon finishing ninth. Had the team not been forced to re-enter, it would had 102 points - 10 more than current fourth-place team Renault.

- Pierre Gasly was left frustrated after Toro Rosso was not allowed to change an engine setting on his car from qualifying despite initially receiving approval from the FIA to do so. Toro Rosso was told to change his car back to its qualifying spec on the grid, causing a late rush for the team. Gasly finished the race 11th as both he and teammate Brendon Hartley dropped down the order after qualifying in the top 10 following long opening stints on the Supersoft tyre, which caused them to be undercut by both Force India drivers.

- Fernando Alonso vented his fury about the stewards for receiving a five-second time penalty after his run-in with Lance Stroll on the opening lap, having cut across the gravel after being forced off the track and gaining an advantage in doing so. FIA race director Charlie Whiting said it was “pretty clear” what Alonso had done wrong.

- Alonso received one penalty point on his FIA Super License for the incident, taking him up to three for the 12-month period. Stroll received two penalty points for pushing Alonso off the track, leaving him on six for the last year, while Verstappen is now up to eight points, taking two here for his clash with Kimi Raikkonen. Any driver receiving 12 points in 12 months receives an automatic one-race ban.

- Alonso did however surpass Rubens Barrichello’s tally of laps raced in F1, moving up to second in the all-time list. Alonso has now completed 16,651 racing laps, putting him 174 shy of Michael Schumacher’s record. There are 253 racing laps left this season.

- Kevin Magnussen’s early retirement was the result of damage caused by his early puncture, sustained in his clash with Charles Leclerc at the start of Lap 2. Neither driver was deemed wholly or predominantly to blame as both made their move at pretty much exactly the same moment, according to Whiting.

- Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc had a brief coming-together on the Safety Car restart on Lap 8, with Ericsson touching the rear of his teammate’s car at the chicane. Leclerc retired after 37 laps, while Ericsson went on to finish the race 12th.

- There was only one race leader at Suzuka on Sunday: Lewis Hamilton headed the field for all 53 laps. There were four laps behind the Safety Car (4-7) and one under Virtual Safety Car (41).



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