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  • Race called after 44 laps
  • Bianchi hits rescue vehicle after Sutil crash
  • Hamilton declared winner ahead of Rosberg and Vettel

Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix after a serious incident for Jules Bianchi caused the race to be red flagged.

Adrian Sutil had crashed at Turn 7 as rain intensified at Suzuka, and as a large movable crane recovered the Sauber, Bianchi went off at the same corner, hitting the rescue vehicle. With light fading, the race was red flagged and a result declared, with the ambulance and medical car on the scene. The FIA confirmed that Bianchi was unconscious when he was taken to hospital.

With the race not resuming and the result being taken after 44 laps, Hamilton took his third consecutive victory having passed team-mate Nico Rosberg brilliantly around the outside of Turn 1 on lap 29.

Sebastian Vettel was declared third ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button.

Heavy rain saw the race start behind the safety car before it was red flagged after two laps. With all the cars in the pit lane, the rain eased sufficiently to allow the race to restart behind the safety car, which eventually pulled in on lap nine.

Button immediately pit for intermediate tyres and running in clear air - away from any spray - saw him posting quick times. That led to a number of stops for intermediates, with Button moving up to third place behind Rosberg and Hamilton after all the pit stops.

Valtteri Bottas was running fourth ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa but the two Red Bulls behind were much quicker and Vettel passed Massa on the inside of the hairpin before going around the outside of Bottas at the same corner.

Ricciardo was quick to follow his team-mate through on both occasions, passing the two Williams cars around the outside of the Esses.

By now, Button was well clear in third place and running at a pace comparable to the two Mercedes, with Rosberg clearly holding Hamilton up. However, at the second round of pit stops Button had a slow stop and dropped behind Vettel.

Hamilton managed to get close out of the final corner and used DRS to pull alongside as Rosberg defended the inside line, but Hamilton held on around the outside to take a lead he never looked likely to relinquish.

Heavier rain then started to fall, and Kevin Magnussen - who had spun at Turn 2 during a tough afternoon - pit for full wets again and was immediately quicker than Button and the two Red Bulls. Ricciardo was able to pass Button at the hairpin for fourth place and Button then reacted to take on full wets, but the safety car was then deployed as a result of Bianchi's incident.

With a number of drivers opting to pit, the race was then red flagged having already passed the 40 lap mark which allows full points to be awarded. With Button in fifth, Bottas finished sixth ahead of Massa, Nico Hulkenberg - who stopped under the safety car but was eighth on lap 44 - Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez.

As a result, Hamilton extends his championship lead over Rosberg to 10 points ahead of next weekend's Russian Grand Prix.

 

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