Rosberg extends lead with dominant Japan win

Sun Oct 9, 2016 7:16am EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg tightened his grip on the Formula One title race with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, the German's first win at Suzuka also helping Mercedes claim a third consecutive constructors' crown.

Rosberg, who started on pole, was never seriously threatened and crossed the line 4.9 seconds clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who fended off a late-charging Lewis Hamilton after the Briton recovered from a woeful start to finish third.

Rosberg extended his lead over Hamilton to 33 points in the overall standings following his ninth win of the season and with four rounds remaining, the 31-year-old can claim a maiden title without needing to win another race.

The win was also the 15th of 17 races for Mercedes this season and confirmed three years of dominance, during which time the German outfit has won 47 of 55 races.

"It's been an awesome weekend for sure, the whole weekend had gone great from the word go," Rosberg, who led every session at Suzuka, told reporters.

"Congrats to all my colleagues in the team, for clinching a third constructors' world title.

"Definitely, it's been an unbelievable effort all these years, so let's celebrate hard," added Rosberg, who becomes only the fifth driver in Formula One history to win nine races in a season.

Hamilton went into the race searching for a Suzuka hat-trick to revive his flagging championship prospects after being forced to retire from the lead at the last race in Malaysia but his chances of victory were dashed within a matter of seconds.   Continued...

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan- 9/10/16. Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates winning the race. REUTERS/Toru Hanai