An exciting finish at the end saw Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton get the better of Red Bull's Max Verstappen by a mere 1.2 seconds to come on top of Sunday's 2017 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium by finishing third.

Hamilton has all but taken an insurmountable lead in the championship, going up to 59 points as title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari suffered his second retirement in just three races owing to a spark plug failure.

As Hamilton made his way up from pole, his first ever in Suzuka, Vettel was struggling to cope on the grid and by the start of the second lap he was down to sixth. By the end of the fourth lap his team were calling him for him to put an end to the misery and called for a terminal pit stop.

It was now down to Red Bull to keep up and try to put the brakes on Hamilton, but the Briton was very much in the groove and had the race under control until late in the closing stages, when Verstappen put surged forward to cut a five-second lead down to barely one in the final laps.

Valtteri Bottas also put in a late run and almost stole a podium place from from Ricciardo, but the Mercedes driver failed to make headway and had to settle for a fourth-place finish ahead of Ferrari driver and fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen. Esteban Ocon ended the race in sixth spot ahead of his Force India teammate Sergio Perez to win a closely fought encounter, with the latter finishing seventh. Both the Haas drivers also took points, with Kevin Magnussen finishing eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean in ninth. Williams' Felipe Massa completed the top 10 with a late surge.

Carlos Sainz had a forgettable end to his final race with Toro Rosso, with the Spaniard having to retire from the reckoning on the opening lap. Marcus Ericsson also made a costly mistake, crashing his Sauber into the tyre wall and was out of the race in lap eight.

Nico Hulkenberg's frustrations continued as he was forced to retire his Renault in lap 41 following an incident in which his DRS stuck open while a front-right failure also forced Lance Stroll to retire in lap 47, only six laps from the finish.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton after winning the Japanese GP