Lewis Hamilton says his stranglehold on the Formula 1 world drivers’ championship has come as a dream as he claimed victory in the Japanese Grand Prix coupled with Sebastian Vettel’s retirement for Ferrari.

The Mercedes driver produced an impressive win at Suzuka after defending against Vettel on the run to the first turn, before the Ferrari driver was forced out with a spark plug issue, which enabled Hamilton to see off Max Verstappen to see the chequered flag.

Hamilton can now claim the 2017 F1 world championship with victory in the next race in America if Vettel finishes fifth or lower – something the British driver says was a dream considering he hadn’t led the drivers’ standings all season until last month’s Italian Grand Prix.

“I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap,” Hamilton said. “The Ferraris have put on such a great challenge all year long.

“What I can say is that it is down to my team, they've done a phenomenal job, reliability has really been on point, they're just so meticulous and really that's why we have the reliability we have and the results that we're having.

“The team did a fantastic job, Max drove an incredible race and honestly it wasn't an easy one for us at all. Today the Red Bulls just seemed to be rapid in the race trim. Obviously we're quick in the qualifying trim but still I was able to just hold him behind but it definitely got very close a couple of times. Definitely at the end with the virtual safety car. When we restarted, tyres were cold, he had a little ride up so it was very, very close.

“So a big thank you to the guys I owe it to everyone here and everyone all the way back at the factory and also the support we get really does help lift us up.”


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