Lewis Hamilton took his third successive victory of the 2014 Formula 1 season at the Japanese Grand Prix, beating teammate and F1 drivers' championship rival Nico Rosberg to extend his lead at the top of the standings to ten points with four races remaining in the 19-race season.
The race was brought to an early halt after Jules Bianchi's Marussia reportedly hit a recovery vehicle sideways. The recovery vehicle was brought on track to pick up the wrecked Sauber of Adrian Sutil who crashed at the exact same corner a lap or two earlier.
Bianchi was immediately transferred to the circuit’s medical centre before being sent to the hospital reserved for the Grand Prix weekend via ambulance. FIA has confirmed that he was unconscious when he was taken away from the circuit.
Hamilton, who overtook pole sitter Rosberg midway through the race, along with defending four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel decided not to spray champagne on the podium as a mark of respect. The win was Hamilton's 30th of his F1 career and eighth of the season.
Vettel, along with Daniel Ricciardo were the fastest car in treacherous conditions, overtaking the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa during the early part of the race to take third and fourth places.
2009 F1 champion Jenson Button followed the safety car into the pits on lap nine for a fresh set of intermediate tyres and found himself in third place once others have boxed in for the same tyre. However, a slow second stop dropped Button behind Vettel in fourth place. The Brit was then engaged in a close wheel-to-wheel battle with the other Red Bull of Ricciardo but eventually had to concede position to the faster car. He finished the race in fifth place.
Sixth and seventh places went to the aforementioned Williams pairing, who as expected, struggled in wet conditions.
Nico Hulkenberg stopped at the exit of the pitlane but since the results were counted back one lap before the red flag was deployed, he was classified in eighth place. Sergio Perez took the tenth spot to ensure a double points finish for Force India.
Jean Eric Vergne, who usually excels in wet conditions, took ninth to add two points to his tally.
FERRARI LEAVE POINTLESS
Ferrari’s point scoring streak came to an end at Suzuka with Raikkonen finishing 12th after a lengthy pitstop and Alonso retiring from the very third lap of the race.
Hamilton takes his ten point lead over Rosberg into next week's inaugural Russian Grand Prix at the Black Sea resort of Sochi as Mercedes edge ever closer to wrapping up their first ever F1 constructors' championship.
McLaren are now just one point behind Force India in the constructors standings.