Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead to 10 points with victory in a rain affected Japanese Grand Prix which was red flagged after a serious accident involving Jules Bianchi.
After a lengthy delay due to rain, the Mercedes duo dominated the race with Hamilton eventually taking the lead from his title rival team-mate Nico Rosberg on lap 29.
Once in the lead Hamilton never looked back as he took the win from Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
The race finished under the red flag due to a nasty accident incurred by the Marussia of Bianchi on lap 43. The Frenchman was transferred to hospital by ambulance in an unconscious state.
Heavy rain forced officials to start the race under the Safety Car having decided against moving the start time forward due to the impending arrival of Typhoon Phanfone.
However, racing behind the Safety Car lasted less than two laps with race director Charlie Whiting declaring the conditions too dangerous to circulate.
The race restarted under the Safety Car 15 minutes later but the encounter came to an abrupt halt for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso as he grounded to a stop just four corners into the restart.
A full 45 minutes since the original race start, the Safety Car came into the pits allowing the field to race unaided.
Rosberg led the way from Hamilton with the Mercedes duo quickly scampering into a healthy lead over the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
Further back McLaren’s Jenson Button gambled with an early stop for intermediate tyres which proved fruitful, as the Brit rejoined the race in a net third place.
Button’s progress prompted a flurry of activity in the pits with the entire field coming into change to intermediates.
Rosberg retained the lead after the first stop from Hamilton but the man on the move was Button.
The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo seemed at home in the slippery conditions as they quickly dispatched Bottas and Massa to move into fourth and fifth respectively.
Meanwhile at the front, Hamilton began to close in on leader Rosberg and on lap 29 he made the move with an impressive sweep around the outside of his team-mate on the entry to Turn 1.
Once in front the 2008 world champion quickly opened up a gap on Rosberg, who was struggling for grip.
Hamilton retained the lead after second round of stops from Rosberg while Vettel leapfrogged Button for third, after the McLaren star encountered a slow stop caused by a change of steering wheel.
The race took another twist with a further rain shower which seemed to benefit a hard charging Ricciardo, who latched onto the back of Button, before passing the Brit at the hairpin.
But the change of conditions caught Adrian Sutil out as he slammed into the barriers. The Marussia of Bianchi appeared to be involved in the incident which sparked the deployment of the medical car. The Frenchman’s car made contact with a recovery vehicle.
An ambulance quickly attended the scene to transport Bianchi to the medical centre, he was later transferred to hospital in an unconscious state.
As a result, the race was red flagged once again which saw Hamilton claim the win in subdued circumstances from Rosberg and Vettel.
Ricciardo came home in fourth ahead of Button and the Williams pair of Bottas and Massa.
Japanese Grand Prix Results
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||43 Laps|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||+29.122s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||+38.818s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+1:55.948s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||+2:07.638s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||1 Lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||1 Lap|
|16||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||1 Lap|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||1 Lap|
|18||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||1 Lap|
|19||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||1 Lap|
|20||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||Spun off|
|21||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||Spun off|