Sebastian Vettel's hopes of the Drivers' Championship this season are all but over as the Ferrari driver retired for the second time in three grand prix with engine trouble.
Despite being hotly pursued by Max Verstappen - who claimed victory in Malaysia last week - Lewis Hamilton took the win round Suzuka to extend his championship lead to 59 points.
The four-time world champion only held off Verstappen by 1.2 seconds and expressed his concern after the race that the 20-year-old 'looked so big' in his wing mirrors.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman's pursuit came in vein with Hamilton all but pacifying Vettel's early surge to the season and quest to become Ferrari's first world champion since 2007.
The German was involved in a controversial incident with Lance Stroll at Sepang last week when the Ferrari and Williams collided after the chequered flag.
It was a bizarre crash that even fresh footage seems unable to solve. Furthermore, Vettel was slammed for his decision to return to the pits perched on a Sauber travelling at 80kph.
And both drivers were forced to retire in Japan, Vettel with his aforementioned engine issues and Stroll for a freak episode that could have ended so much worse.
The Canadian driver was 45 laps deep into the race and stewing in the middle of the pack when his front tyres locked up going into a corner.
Almost completely losing his steering, Stroll missed the chicane and rumbled into the gravel trap which - thankfully - slowed down the Williams that had been travelling at high speed.
Nevertheless, Stroll remained helpless as his car traversed the entire off-circuit area and back onto the track where Verstappen's Red Bull proceeded to whizz past less than 10 foot to the side.
Take a look at the scary moment below:
In the end, it completely broke the Williams' front suspension and caused the safety car to be introduced for the second time.
On this occasion, Stroll's misfortune nearly did Vettel a favour with the VSC allowing Verstappen to bunch up to Hamilton - giving the Red Bull driver a chance to overtake in the twilight laps.
It wasn't to be the case, though, as Hamilton bagged maximum points and Stroll left with egg on his face for the second consecutive race weekend.
Do you think Sebastian Vettel will ever win the title with Ferrari? Have your say in the comments section below.
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