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Hamilton wins rain-affected race in Japan

Lewis Hamilton won a truncated Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, with the race stopped after a crash involving Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.

Staff Reporter
5 October 2014, 10:58am
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Bianchi's condition is currently unknown, although the medical car and an ambulance attended the scene of his crash, at the exit of Dunlop curve.

Sunday's race at Suzuka began behind the Safety Car amid heavy rain, but it was red flagged after just two laps, with drivers returning to the pits.

After a 20-minute delay, the Safety Car led the field back out on track, with drivers soon claiming that conditions were suitable for racing.

The race ultimately went green after 10 laps, without Ferrari's Fernando Alonso after his car ground to a halt, with the Mercedes duo romping into the distance, with Rosberg fending off the advances of Hamilton.

Jenson Button made an early stop for Intermediates, seeing him rise to third as the rest of the drivers pitted, but a long way behind Rosberg and Hamilton, the latter missing a chance to take the lead with a mistake at Spoon.

Red Bull drivers Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were rapid in the wet conditions, disposing of Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in quick sucession, before setting about Button's podium-sitting McLaren.

At the front, Rosberg began to struggle with tyre degradation, which saw Hamilton eat into his lead. And shortly after DRS had been enabled, Hamilton swooped around the outside of his title rival at the first corner.

Hamilton bolted away from Rosberg, while Vettel jumped Button after the Briton suffered a slow stop, brought on by a force steering wheel change, which also hindered rookie team-mate Kevin Magnussen's race.

Vettel held on to third despite a trip through the gravel trap, while behind him, Ricciardo set about passing Button; after a failed move at the hairpin, he tried again the next time around and made a move stick.

With the rainfall intensifying as the race passed the 40-lap mark, highlighted by Button's return to Wet tyres, Sauber driver Adrian Sutil lost control of his car at Dunlop curve and slammed into the trackside barriers.

The Safety Car made another appearance, with Vettel taking the opportunity to put on fresh Intermediates.

An incident involving Bianchi in the same area as Sutil's crash saw the Medical Car and an ambulance sent to the scene. As the medical team attended to the Frenchman, the race was red flagged and the result declared.

Hamilton took the victory ahead of Rosberg, while Vettel claimed the final podium place on countback.

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