Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes suffered a second blow in a week as he finished third in the Japanese Grand Prix, won by team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The Briton made a poor start and initially dropped to eighth in Suzuka, which comes after an engine failure cost him in Malaysia last weekend. Hamilton is now 33 points behind the German with only 100 still available in the remaining four races.
The result means Mercedes have won the constructors’ championship again. Rosberg’s ninth victory of the season means he can now afford to finish second behind Hamilton in all the remaining races and still win the championship.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were fourth and fifth for Ferrari despite Vettel looking strong earlier in the race, with Daniel Ricciardo sixth ahead of the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top ten.
Meanwhile, Mercedes have withdrawn a protest lodged against Max Verstappen for his defence of second place from Lewis Hamilton in the Japanese Grand Prix. Mercedes claimed Red Bull’s Verstappen drove “erratically and in a dangerous manner” in contravention of rules in the move on the penultimate lap.
A spokesman for Mercedes said the decision had been made “once it became clear it would be dragged out to Austin, in the interests of establishing a final result this evening”.