Lewis Hamilton took a subdued victory in the Japanese Grand Prix, extending his world championship lead after catching and passing Mercedes team-mate in tricky conditions.

The Briton started from second on the grid but, with the first nine laps run - in two parts - behind the safety car, was not able to make an immediate move for the lead. Indeed, Rosberg pulled out an early advantage before Hamilton was able to make inroads but, shortly before the DRS systems were enabled, the gap was already negligible.

When race control regarded the conditions to be suitable for DRS, Hamilton wasted little time in making his intentions known, taking a couple of looks at Rosberg into turn one before making his move stick.

"[The pass] was fairly straightforward," he remarked afterwards, "I had a lot more pace than Nico, but it's not a very easy circuit to follow [someone]. Fortunately, I was able to get quite close through the final corner and I think he had a small oversteer moment at the exit. Obviously, the DRS allowed me to get alongside, and I was fairly confident with the balance of the car, so I put it there and stuck it out. After that, the whole approach changed because I [had been] attacking, attacking and, after that, I was taking different lines and approaching it differently."

The Briton was fortunate to have been in position to make the pass, having run wide on an earlier attempt, fortunately without the same consequences that saw him in the tyre barrier in Saturday morning's practice session.

"I went into turn one with the DRS open," he conceded, "There is much less downforce when that wing is open and you have to remember to disengage it - or to close it again. I decided to brake while it was still open and the back end stepped out as we were very, very close [to Rosberg]. I kept hold of it and didn't lose too much time, fortunately..."

Despite reporting that his car had been 'fantastic' throughout the shortened 44-lap encounter, Hamilton clearly wasn't taking too much pleasure in his third back-to-back victory.

"Obviously, it's a great result for the team, but I think we're all very concerned about our colleague," he said, "I don't really know what to say but ... Obviously, it didn't finish the way we would have hoped, and my prayers are with him and his family..."



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