Mercedes claims historic sixth F1 title at Japanese GP as Bottas wins
Mercedes has won its sixth straight Formula 1 constructors’ world championship crown at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying but a poor start cost polesitter Sebastian Vettel as Valtteri Bottas jumped into the lead from third, while Charles Leclerc dropped down the order after clashing with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Turn 1.
On a two-stop strategy, Bottas went on to seal his third victory of the season ahead of Vettel, with a third-place finish and fastest lap for Lewis Hamilton proving enough to ensure Mercedes outscored Ferrari by the points it needed to clinch the constructors’ title in Japan.
The result maintained Mercedes’ unbeaten run and dominance of F1’s V6 hybrid era so far, while matching Ferrari’s record of six straight constructors’ titles that the Italian squad achieved between 1999 and 2004.
Mercedes is now guaranteed to go one better than Ferrari and create yet more F1 history by claiming six successive world championship doubles, something which would mark an unprecedented feat in the sport.
Five-time world champion Hamilton remains in pole position to land the 2019 crown, holding a 66-point advantage over Bottas with just four rounds remaining in Mexico, the United States, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton could wrap up his sixth drivers’ world title at the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix at the end of the month at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez, the same venue he secured his most recent championships at in 2018 and 2017.
Such an achievement would move the Briton into a clear second place in the history books, just one title away from equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven world championships.
Having already surpassed Schumacher’s pole position tally in 2017, Hamilton is also closing in on the German’s wins record of 91. Hamilton, who currently has 82 grand prix victories to his name, is within nine of matching Schumacher.