Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton wins rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton claimed victory in a rain-hit and shortened Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The British driver produced an excellent overtake on team-mate Nico Rosberg around halfway through the race and led until an incident with Jules Bianchi caused a second and race-ending red flag. 

Rain arrives

As predicted the early bands of Typhoon Phanfone arrived bringing persistent rain to Suzuka. Despite initial concerns the race may not even occur, a window of drier weather allowed for 38 laps of action.

Such were the conditions, the race began behind the safety car but was red flagged after only two laps as the spray meant visibility was close to zero.

Rosberg leads away

After a brief wait, the race resumed again behind the safety car as the rain eased, but for Fernando Alonso it was only a few corners as an electrical problem seemed to bring his Ferrari to a halt.

Finally on lap nine the race got underway at full speed as Jenson Button took the gamble to switch straight onto the intermediate tyres.

Nico Rosberg led away from Lewis Hamilton as the two Red Bull's of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo set about passing the Williams' in front.

In the wet conditions Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas had little response to the RB10's behind them as Vettel made two clean moves into the hairpin and Ricciardo, again going for the more spectacular, around the outside just before the Dunlop curve.

Button gamble pays off as Lewis closes in

Soon after the race begun at speed, the circuit began to dry out with the cars clearing much of the standing water, this meant pit-stops for intermediate tyres began and Button's early gamble paid off as he moved upto third behind the Mercedes who were pulling away out front.

From then it was about who could make the tyres last the longest and in the battle out front it was Lewis Hamilton as Rosberg suffered with oversteer in his Mercedes allowing the Briton to close in.

After several laps holding back, the championship leader made his move with a brave move using DRS into turn one to pull clear of Rosberg as the McLaren and two Red Bull's behind closed in.

Red Bull make their move

As the second round of pit-stops begun, an earlier stop for Vettel, allied to a slow service to Button, allowed the German through into third, after staying out longer, Ricciardo was also forced to change tyres as traffic was causing massive delays, however, he would recover to produce another good pass this time on the McLaren at the hairpin.

From there it appeared Ricciardo would close down his team-mate with fresher tyres before a major incident currently leaves the F1 world holding its breath.

Sutil, Bianchi crash

With the rain returning and getting heavier, some switched back to the full wet tyres, however, Adrian Sutil wasn't so lucky as he spun off at the Dunlop curve hitting the barrier.

He's OK but there is concern for a secondary incident involving Marussia's Jules Bianchi.

Out of sight from the cameras, it appears the Frenchman had the same accident as the Sauber driver, however, according to Sutil, hit the JCB that was clearing his stricken car away.

It is understood Bianchi was unconscious as the race was brought behind the safety car and eventually red flagged as an ambulance and other medical vehicles came to Bianchi's aid.

Hamilton declared winner

As the drivers returned to the pits and the rain continued, the decision was taken to declare the final result after 47 laps giving Lewis Hamilton the win with Nico Rosberg second and Sebastian Vettel third on count back despite being behind Ricciardo when the race was stopped.

Jenson Button claimed fourth ahead of the two Williams as Bottas beat Massa. Nico Hulkenberg may have stopped just before the red flag but was still declared eighth with Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

But for Hamilton, his third win in a race and eighth of the season and sees him increase his championship lead to 10 points over Rosberg in the championship heading to Sochi for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in seven days time.

For now, however, everyone is concentrating on the well being of Jules Bianchi and I will tweet official news on Twitter (@BenIssatt) and write a report here on GiveMeSport as well.

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Formula 1

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