FORMULA 1

BOTAS WINS RACE MERCEDES WINS CONSTRUCTORS

Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix with team-mate LCH third behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, securing a Formula 1 record sixth straight World Championship double for Mercedes.

The result sealed the constructors’ title with four races to go and, while Hamilton is not quite world champion yet, only Bottas can catch him.

It breaks the record set by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, and confirms this Mercedes team as the greatest in F1 history.

LCH leads Bottas by 64 points and needs to be 78 clear of the Finn to win his sixth drivers’ title at the next race in Mexico.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “It has never been done before and that’s why it feels great.

“It’s F1, it’s motor racing. Is it historic? I don’t know. There are more important things out there but for us it feels great.”

Again, as so often this season, Ferrari’s race unravelled as a result of driver errors – from both in this case.

Vettel moved forward in his position box before the red lights had gone out at the start, forcing him to have to stop and then go again, and allowing Bottas to spring past him into the lead at the first corner.

Beside him, Leclerc also made a slow start, if not as poor as Vettel’s, and he had Red Bull’s Max Verstappen alongside him through the first two corners.

In Turn Two, Leclerc slid wide and into Verstappen, pitching the Red Bull into a spin that ultimately led to its retirement, and damaging the Ferrari’s front wing.

Leclerc tried to hang on but was forced to pit on lap three, and was only able to recover to sixth in a race that forced him to spend most of the afternoon picking his way past back markers.