Stretching his lead to 59 points, Lewis Hamilton moved one step closer to reclaiming the world championship title on Sunday.
The Mercedes driver won the Japanese Grand Prix whilst rival Sebastian Vettel retired early on with an engine problem.
Hamilton will clinch the title at the next race - the United States Grand Prix - if he wins and Vettel finishes lower than fourth.
It's been a remarkable turnaround for the British driver, who trailed the four-time Formula One World Champion by three points at the end of August.
Hamilton started in pole in Suzuka and led for the majority of the race before holding off a late attack from Max Verstappen to secure victory.
Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified second but had to take a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change - and could only manage a 4th placed finish.
Speaking after the race, the frustrated Finnish driver admitted that Hamilton "compromised" his race after missing out on a podium position once again.
"For sure then when Lewis pitted with the new tyre, he caught me, and when I let him by and went between him and Max, for sure I lost a bit of race time and that compromised my race a little bit," Bottas explained.
Bottas sought to avoid any potential fall-out with Hamilton and quickly moved to defend the team's decision.
"But obviously it was good for us as a team. In the end, I did get the opportunity thanks to stopping late and being on the fresher tyre, and the pace was good. The balance was quite a lot better in the second stint, I could actually attack, and I got quite close to Daniel in the end, but not quite enough."
"There was not a lot [of discussion with the team]. Maybe internally there was more."
Bottas, who closed the gap on 2nd placed Vettel in the Drivers' Championship, did appreciate why Mercedes made the call.
"They just told me when to do it really, and I kind of got the point, I understood completely the situation. Without the gearbox penalty we had, we would not have been in this situation.
"For sure it was not ideal for both of us, he lost time and I think I lost quite a few seconds at that point as well which would have helped me massively at the end of the race.
"We will look into everything if it could have been done better, but I understood the situation."
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