Hamilton Wins in Suzuka to Equal Senna’s record

Lewis Hamilton took his eighth victory of the season in emphatic style to equal boyhood idol Ayrton Senna’s win total of 41, with the Briton never being headed after he had passed team-mate Nico Rosberg at the start. Rosberg finished the race in second place ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

When the lights went out, Hamilton made the better start of the two Mercedes drivers and he and Rosberg went through the first corner side by side. Then, when the pair powered towards turn two Hamilton held hard to the racing line and Rosberg was forced over the kerbs and off track. The loss of pace dropped him to fourth behind Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

Behind them there was more drama as Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had made a good start, attempted to thread his way between Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Williams’ Felipe Massa on the approach to Turn One. There was no room, however, and Ricciardo collided with Massa, puncturing his rear left tyre while Massa damaged his front right. Both would pit at the end of lap one for repairs.

Sergio Pérez was also in trouble. He went off at Turn One after tangling with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

As the field crossed the line for the first time, the order was Hamilton ahead of Vettel with Bottas third in front of Rosberg, Räikkönen and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Pastor Maldonado was seventh in the second Lotus ahead of Hulkenberg, while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was ninth and Sainz tenth.

At the front Hamilton was busy building a gap back to Vettel and by lap 10 he already had six seconds in hand over the Ferrari driver. Rosberg, meanwhile, was asking his engineers if he could turn up his engine in order to clear Bottas. He was given the green light but as the first pit stop window opened he could find no way past the Finn.

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