Lewis Hamilton took a huge step towards taking the Formula One world title in his rookie season by winning a fraught Japanese Grand Prix at a soaking Fuji Speedway.

The Briton kept his head when title rivals Fernando Alonso and Ferrari lost theirs to collect his third win of the year and open out a twelve-point lead over the Spaniard, who crashed out heavily after losing his McLaren in the treacherous conditions. Both McLarens had earlier survived contact with other cars. Hamilton having been side-swiped by Robert Kubica and Alonso tipped into a spin by Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel also played a major part in removing Hamilton's other potential rival, when he ran into the back of Red Bull stable-mate Mark Webber under the race's second safety car, removing both from the equation after Webber had shown he could run faster than the leader.

The chaos, which was avoided at the start when the field took the 'green flag' behind the pace car, allowed the two Ferraris, which opted for intermediates on the grid and had to make three stops apiece, to claim valuable points, with Kimi Raikkonen hauling himself back onto the podium, split from Hamilton by fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen.

Felipe Massa effectively waved goodbye to his title hopes with a drive-thru' penalty after spinning and re-passing cars under the first safety car, but claimed sixth place after a wheel-to-wheel battle with Kubica on the final lap.

David Coulthard salvaged something for the Red Bull camp in fourth, ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella, while Tonio Liuzzi made up for Vettel's exit by claiming the team's first point of the year.

Full report and result to follow....