A blistering start from Valtteri Bottas from third on the grid helped the Finnish driver win the typhoon-hit Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes wrapped up a sixth-consecutive Formula One constructors championship on Sunday.
Bottas surged into the lead almost immediately, passing the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole, and Charles Leclerc to take the early lead at the Suzuka Circuit.
Seeking his third win of the season and first since Azerbaijan in April, Bottas managed a two-stop pit strategy to perfection to finish more than 10 seconds ahead of Vettel with Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton taking third place.
“Starting third is never easy here but there’s no point giving up,” Bottas said. “I had a really nice car and Sebastian had an issue, so it was good to get the lead. Really proud of the team, sixth title in a row is so impressive.”
With Bottas holding a comfortable lead over the closing laps, there was a fierce battle for second place between Vettel and Hamilton.
Hamilton made a desperate attempt to pass Vettel over the final two laps but was unable to pull ahead. But the podium finishes for Bottas and Hamilton ensured Mercedes won their sixth-consecutive constructors’ championship.