Rosberg wins Japanese Grand Prix to widen lead over Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull's Max Verstappen held off a furious challenge from world champion Hamilton in the final few laps to take second place, five seconds back, after his runner-up finish in Malaysia last weekend.

"The start went really well", Rosberg said.

Mercedes claimed Red Bull's Verstappen drove "erratically and in a risky manner" in contravention of rules in the move on the penultimate lap.

Following overnight rain, come the start of the race there were still damp patches on the circuit, with one of those being Hamilton's grid box, and the three-time champion showed some concern beforehand.

"We are nearly 1500 people, and they've been nearly faultless in these three years - it's just great to work with them", said Wolff.

"I just got some wheel-spin, I need to see what the engineers say".

Nico Rosberg has vowed to continue targeting race victories, saying focusing on the grand prix and not the points has worked well for him this season.

German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes reacts on the podium after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Japan, on Sunday.

But his move against Hamilton won the praise of his team principal, Christian Horner.

Rosberg said: "My thoughts are that my approach is going quite well at the moment, of just looking at the race at hand".

But his team boss Toto Wolff had no doubt that the Briton would regroup before the next race in Austin, Texas, where he sealed the title a year ago with three rounds to spare.

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel had to weave around Hamilton at the start as the Mercedes driver struggled to get going.

Mercedes has now won three straight constructors' championships, with no real challenger yet to rise up from the ranks.

Rosberg, 31, led from pole position to the chequered flag, finishing 4.9 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

But Verstappen doggedly hung on for second place, rebuffing Hamilton's attempt with a robust move that sent the Mercedes wide onto the run-off.

The Force India pair Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh and eighth, with the team eking out a 10-point gap over Williams whose drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished ninth and 10th on a one-stop strategy.

Hamilton, 31, hinted at sabotage from his own Mercedes team following his engine failure in Malaysia before taking aim at the press in Suzuka, but there was no-one to blame for what happened at the start of Sunday's race. It is not a conscious decision, but what I found to work best for me.

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