Mon, Oct 8, 12:08pm by Staff Writer
Lewis Hamilton won his fourth consecutive Grand Prix race in Japan on the weekend to build a title winning lead atop the Drivers Championship standings.
The Mercedes driver has built a 67-point lead on his nearest rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton is now a $1.005 favourite to win his second straight Drivers Championship, with Vettel priced at $51.
Since the mid-season break it has been Hamilton who has had the better of the battle between the two drivers, winning six of his past seven races.
With only 100 point remaining this season, the title race looks all but over.
The 33-year-old Englishman requires just eight points across those four races to become world champion and could secure them at the United States Grand Prix in Texas, with Hamilton winning that race last season and is unbeaten since 2013 at the circuit.
It was another day to forget for Vettel, who struggled and finishing sixth after colliding with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
During a wet qualifying period, Vettel was forced to settle for eighth on the grid after driver and team errors proved costly for the Ferrari driver.
An impressive opening lap saw him move to fourth on the grid, before an eighth lap crash with Verstappen put a dent in his title aspirations.
It was Vettel that may believe to be at fault for the crash, as he tried to move on Verstappen as he decelerated.
Vettel then barged into the side of Verstappen’s Red Bull before spinning round in a flurry of sparks.
It was a desperate move for the German, whose campaign has unravelled in recent weeks.
It was after the 10th race of the season that he held an eight-point advantage over Hamilton.
Since then, he has lost 75 points to his rival in just seven races.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas finished nearly 13 seconds in arrears to finish second, with Verstappen taking out third spot.
Bottas has moved up to third in the Drivers Championship standings with 207 points, after trailing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for much of the season.
Raikkonen has had three lean races by his standards, which is reflective of the poor run Ferrari is on at the moment.
After being a steady presence on the podium for much of the season, he has finished fifth, fourth and fifth in his past three races.
Verstappen had one of his better performances of the season to finish third and has a solitary race win this season in Austria.
Daniel Ricciardo made tremendous ground in Japan after starting from 15th on the grid.
The Australian pushed his way to fourth spot, his best race result since a fourth placed finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Constructors Championship is all but won for Mercedes as they hold a 78-point win atop the standings.
They are $1.005 to win the title, with Ferrari $34 outsiders.
The race was close between the two manufacturers for much of the season, but just as the Drivers Championship has gone the way of Mercedes in the past four races, so too has the Constructors Championship.
The next Grand Prix takes place in a fortnight’s time in the United States.
Lewis Hamilton is a $1.53 favourite to win his fifth race in a row this season his sixth United States Grand Prix on the trot.
Sebastian Vettel is $4 to win the race with Valtteri Bottas an $8 chance.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo is a $21 outsider, with his Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen priced at $17.
Lewis Hamilton $1.005
Sebastian Vettel $51
United States Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton $1.53
Sebastian Vettel $4
Valtteri Bottas $8
Kimi Raikkonen $13
Max Verstappen $17
Daniel Ricciardo $21
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