The fight for the 2017 F1 drivers' championship looks to be all but over after a failing spark plug forced Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to retire early in the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka International Racing Course, while Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton beat Red Bull-Renault's Max Verstappen for the win and open a 59-point lead over Vettel.
Even though Hamilton and Mercedes had shown impressive pace in qualifying there was always a chance for Vettel and Ferrari after lining up on the front row of the grid, the sixth time this year that the two championship rivals have started from front row.
Also, Vettel would need a little luck going his way after crashing out of the Singapore Grand Prix and then salvaging a fourth place finish at Sepang following a turbo failure. However, Ferrari seem doomed for more bad luck as the German's car developed a spark plug issue.
The car got off the line and seemed to make a great start but then slowly dropped back down the grid as Verstappen assumed the task of trying to stop Hamilton from heading to his fourth win in the last five races.
With Vettel retiring and Verstappen only being able to get close to Hamilton when the Mercedes was affected by the dirty air while following a car ahead, the Briton went on to win his eighth race of the year.
Verstappen was followed home by teamamte Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead of the Force India-Mercedes pair of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez who were followed by Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean of Haas-Ferrari.
Williams-Mercedes' Felipe Massa was the final points scoring finisher.
The championship resumes at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on the October 20-22 weekend.