Lewis Hamilton is refusing to get carried away with thoughts of a fifth world title despite moving closer to sealing the 2018 Formula 1 world championship with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton led every single lap as he converted his 80th F1 career pole into his 71st race win at Suzuka, enabling him to strengthen his grasp in the title race as chief rival Sebastian Vettel finished a distant sixth.

The victory means Hamilton can wrap up the championship with victory at the upcoming United States Grand Prix should he claim a fifth consecutive win in Austin with Vettel third or lower.

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“Honestly, I’ll take it one step at a time,” Hamilton responded after being told about his advantage in the championship.

“Each week you have a positive weekend and you go to another grand prix and you’re not sure how you’re going to fare and how you’re going to perform.

“Because there are still gaps in between, but I think we have gone from strength to strength this year as a team.

“Austin is usually a good track for us, so I can’t wait to unleash this beast there.”

Hamilton commanded proceedings throughout in Japan as he recorded his sixth win in the last seven races in what has been a remarkably strong second half of the season.

The Briton has scored 168 out of a possible 175 points since July’s British Grand Prix to enjoy a 75-point swing over Vettel across the seven rounds, with the Ferrari driver managing 93 points in the same period.

“I loved it,” he said. “I was actually very, very happy. I think the whole weekend's been very strong from the team, it's a great 1-2 from Mercedes, it a true showing of the great strength in depth we have as a team.

“This track is the best track in the world. I don’t know why they don’t make tracks like this anymore but every second of the run it was just great fun. I was able to look after my tyres the way I wanted and just managed the pace.

“It’s really weird – obviously I have been racing a long, long time, but the happiness I have inside is as high as always. It’s a great feeling.”

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