Lewis Hamilton took a giant stride towards winning his fourth Formula 1 title by winning his eighth race of the season in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix as Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel retired early.

A spark plug issue on Vettel's car caused him to lose power on the first lap, with Ferrari eventually pitting the German and retiring him from the race, marking his second failure to score in the last three races.

Hamilton took full advantage of his rival's demise by sweeping to victory with a dominant display, only coming under pressure from Red Bull's Max Verstappen after the solitary round of pit stops.

Verstappen was able to rise up to second thanks to Vettel's issue and sat around five seconds back from Hamilton heading towards the pit window, with Red Bull blinking first in a bid to get the undercut and pitting its driver on Lap 21.

Mercedes reacted just one lap later and brought Hamilton in, whose lead had been reduced to less than two seconds, and the Briton found himself losing more time as he ran close behind teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was running a reverse strategy and had to stay out longer on the soft tyre.

Bottas moved aside before working well to hold Verstappen back, the Dutchman having been less than a second off the net lead at one stage, allowing Hamilton to scamper clear at the front.

Hamilton's lead stood at over five seconds after a Virtual Safety Car period in the closing stages, only to report an issue with a vibration on his tyre that saw Verstappen close right up in the final two laps as they picked through traffic.

Despite being on Hamilton's diffuser at one stage, Verstappen saw his charge be stunted by traffic, meaning he had to drop back and settle for second at the chequered flag.

Hamilton crossed the line with 53 laps in the books to record his eighth win of the season and take a huge step towards his fourth world title, running 59 points clear with 100 left to play for this season.

Verstappen took second ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who held off a late charge from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to give the team its second straight double-podium.

Kimi Raikkonen fought back from a grid penalty to finish fifth for Ferrari ahead of Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, while Haas racers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean took P8 and P9 respectively. Felipe Massa rounded out the points for Williams after fending off Fernando Alonso's late charge, denying Honda a home point to extend its drought that dates back to 2008.

Jolyon Palmer finished 12th on his final appearance for Renault after rolling the dice on a long first stint, while teammate Nico Hulkenberg retired after his DRS was stuck wide open and not fixable.

Pierre Gasly was Toro Rosso's sole finisher in P13 after Carlos Sainz Jr. crashed out on the opening lap of his final appearance for the team, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Pascal Wehrlein rounding out the classified drivers in 14th and 15th respectively.


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