Lewis Hamilton took a giant step towards a fourth Formula 1 World Championship as he clinched a commanding win in the Japanese Grand Prix while title rival Sebastian Vettel failed to finish.
The Ferrari driver retired on lap four at Suzuka with a faulty spark plug in another bitter blow for the German, who has suffered a disastrous run of form since the end of the European season.
Hamilton, who trailed Vettel by seven points after the Belgian Grand Prix in August, now enjoys a 59 point lead at the top of the drivers' standings, with 100 available in the final four races of the year.
After a season which looked set to go to the wire under the floodlights in Abu Dhabi next month, it means Hamilton could become the first British driver to win four F1 world titles in Austin, Texas in two weeks' time.
"I could only have dreamed of having this kind of gap (in the standings)," said Hamilton.
"The Ferraris have put on such a great challenge all year long. I have to put it down to my team, they've done a phenomenal job, reliability has really been on point.
"They're just so meticulous and that's really why we have the reliability we have and the results we're having, so a big thank you to the guys."
The Mercedes driver was chased to the chequered flag by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen but the Dutchman was unable to find a way passed.
Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium, followed by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.
Result: Japanese GP top 10
- 1. Hamilton
- 2. Verstappen
- 3. Ricciardo
- 4. Bottas
- 5. Raikkonen
- 6. Ocon
- 7. Perez
- 8. Magnussen
- 9. Grosjean
- 10. Massa