Max Verstappen claimed his 13th win from 16 races this season at Suzuka as Red Bull retained the constructors’ championship, while Hamilton finished a distant fifth, some 50 seconds behind. 

Hamilton also finished a pit stop behind the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri who completed the podium.  

After being outperformed by McLaren once again, the seven-time world champion highlighted that Mercedes now face “critical” decisions in the coming months as they look to reduce their deficit to the front. 

"There are things that I've asked for that we've gone in part of the direction for next year,” Hamilton told Sky. 

"I think all the points that George and I give have been fully listened to. I have no idea where the car is going to be next year but we are a long, long way away. 

"The next six months have got to be the greatest six months of development we've ever had to close that gap. To be really banging on the door. 

"But the evidence is there at the McLarens and we can't turn a blind eye to that. We've got to look at what they've done and go in that direction. That is the direction but I truly believe my team can do it.

"We've always been great at putting downforce on the car, it's just that the way our car currently works, adding downforce just isn't working - it's just bouncing more. Hopefully with the change in philosophy we will be back to where this team deserve because this is a world championship team. 

“We still are an amazing team and I have absolute faith in everyone. But decisions that are made at this period of time are critical for our trajectory.”

Hamilton recovered from first-lap contact with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez which left him with minor damage, and overcame a tense battle with Mercedes teammate George Russell, on his way to P5.

"I'm exhausted, for one,” he said. “Fighting with absolutely everything I have to get as high up as possible and get ahead of Ferrari, which had an upgrade this week so they were particularly quick.

"They have been quicker the last three races.

"It was a hell of a fight. I scored the most points for the team, I'm really trying to hold on [to second] for the constructors' title because I really know how important it is for everyone back at the factories. 

"So giving it absolutely everything but it's tough on weekends like this where the car is such a handful. Basically the exact same as last year, so feeling-wise the car felt exactly the same as last year, bouncing and sliding. 

"So that's tough given how much work we have done to progress and we are not any closer to the front, at least here. But we did get ahead of one of the Ferraris which is great team work and great work from the guys in the pit stop and with strategy. A long way to go."