Vettel Drove into Side of my Car: Verstappen

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Sebastian Vettel tore into Red Bull's Max Verstappen for a hair-raising collision in Japan on Sunday that all but killed off the German's fading Formula One title hopes.

Alonso said he was baffled by his penalty and said it showed how inconsistent F1 penalties are, saying: "Even when the driver comes to apologise I think it's hard to understand the decision but you know, this is how bad Formula 1 is".

He insisted after the race that stewards had been "stupid" to penalise him - and had nothing but disdain for Vettel's rush of blood, sniffing: "He drove into the side of my auto, he could have been a bit more careful".

Errors on the track and pit wall have undermined Ferrari, in a year in which their auto has been more than a match for Mercedes', but Vettel has no thoughts of jumping ship. "We started off where we left off in Sochi and the drivers just feel good with the vehicle and I think that, as a driver, if you have that confidence and you are able to pushing it had within the limits and you feel it, then it's enjoyable to drive, and this is what we have achieved, I think. I even gave him space but he understeered into my vehicle", he said.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth for Red Bull after starting way back in 15th with Kimi Raikkonen fifth after Ferrari opted not to switch his position with Vettel for the sake of two extra points.

Hamilton's win means he only has to beat Vettel by eight points to win the championship.

Joining Hamilton on the podium was teammate Valtteri Bottas followed by Verstappen in third place. The top drivers remained largely the same for the rest of the race, with Hamilton extending his lead followed by Bottas.

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"I have imagined and I have dreamt about winning the title all year long", Hamilton added.

Vettel said he had tried to avoid contact, pointing to the overtaking moves he made on other drivers at the same corner during his recovery charge, but Verstappen left nowhere to go. Hamilton had been strong all weekend topping all three practice sessions before taking pole and in the race he exploited his advantage to maximum effect. The gap was there, I had the inside. The incident resulted in a puncture for Magnussen, who later retired with a damaged auto.

Vettel protested his innocence and took aim at the Dutchman, first over the radio, and then following the race, but the stewards tellingly took no action.

"We've gone from strength to strength as a team", Hamilton said. "But the gap was there - I had more speed, I would have made the corner".

Magnussen's Haas was read-ended by the Sauber of Leclerc after the Dane suddenly moved to the right on the main straight when the Monegasque was attempting to pass.

Force India's Sergio Perez was seventh ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

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